UC Berkeley News


Undergraduate admissions director named
Florida's Robinson will strive to boost enrollment of underrepresented students

| 08 December 2004

Walter Robinson
Walter A. Robinson, an associate director of admissions at the University of Florida at Gainesville, has been appointed director of undergraduate admissions at Berkeley. The East Bay native, 52, will begin work on Jan. 18, 2005. He succeeds Pamela Burnett, who left the director post this summer to become undergraduate admissions director at UC Davis.

“I feel honored,” Robinson said of his selection. “I am so looking forward to the challenge, to trying to make a difference. Our goal must be to identify the best students and to get them to apply, accept our admissions offer, and enroll.”

Robinson said he is eager to work with faculty, staff, students, and individuals within the broader community to make sure that Berkeley is attracting a larger share of exceptionally talented students of all races, including those who might otherwise be tempted to choose elite private colleges and universities.

“I would like to be a part of the movement to increase the number of underrepresented students at Berkeley,” said Robinson. “There is no silver bullet for this. It’s going to take a lot of varied strategies and efforts.”

Robinson’s appointment follows a nationwide search that began in September and attracted more than 65 applications. Genaro Padilla, vice chancellor of undergraduate affairs, noted that Robinson stood out among the applicants based on his experience at the University of Florida and the range of his admissions-related background, including student advising, recruitment, and directing student programs.

“He had a range of strengths in his portfolio that we found very attractive,” said Padilla. “We think he will bring an infusion of energy, experience, and creativity to Berkeley that we are happy to add to the remarkable people we already have in admissions.”

Robinson, who will manage a staff of more than 60 employees, will oversee Berkeley’s undergraduate admissions process, which is established by faculty and the UC regents. He will also oversee academic-preparation projects and other activities. Robinson will work closely on admissions matters with campus faculty, administrators, and officials in the UC Office of the President, the systemwide headquarters.

Robinson was born in Oakland and raised in Richmond and Berkeley. After graduating from Berkeley High School he earned his bachelor of science degree from Cailfornia State University, Fresno. From 1980 through 1994 he was a counselor in CSU Fresno’s Educational Opportunity Program, involved in academic preparation, student retention services, and student advising.

He later served at CSU Fresno as the associate director of affirmative action, developing and coordinating diversity-awareness training programs for faculty, staff, and students. He went on to become associate director there of the University Student Union, where he directed student activities programs, including a leadership development program.

In 1994, Robinson became the assistant director of admissions at the University of Florida at Gainesville, where he coordinated and supervised minority recruitment programs, reviewed admissions applications, and analyzed application and enrollment trends. Since 1996 he has been associate director of admissions at the state’s flagship campus, where he assists in the development and implementation of admissions policy, supervises admissions recruitment programs, and coordinates outreach efforts.

The University of Florida has 48,000 students, including about 30,000 undergraduates. As is the case at Berkeley, that university uses a holistic application review process in which student applications are considered based upon a broad range of factors, including grades, test scores, and coursework.