Anatomy of an Administrator: Melanie Wade on ‘stumbling’ into administration, advice for students


Justin Topa, Assistant News Editor

Melanie Wade, Wilkes University alumna, has spent the past nineteen years working within the administration of Wilkes University and currently serves as the vice president of enrollment services.

As vice president of enrollment services, Wade oversees the offices of undergraduate and graduate admissions. She is also in charge of directing the Student Services Center, which includes the divisions of financial aid, registrar and student account information. While Wade seems to always carry a heavy schedule, she said there is not necessarily a typical day of work in her current position.

“Practically everything about my schedule is nontraditional,” said the vice president who spends much of her time planning for future enrollment, reviewing research and collected data, attending daily meetings, including on the weekends and during evenings as necessary, and attending and participating in on-campus events and activities.

“What I do really seems to run the full spectrum,” Wade added. “The biggest part of my job, planning for the future semesters of enrollment at the university, keeps me in the data up to my elbows so that I can really understand what we need to be doing to influence our enrollments and to make sure we are giving the best possible services to our students who are here.”

Wade, who is from Exeter, Pa., has been part of the Wilkes University staff for the past nineteen years. She began her career at Wilkes as the assistant director of admissions and worked her way up to her current position, which was offered to her in 2009 by former Wilkes University President, Joseph Gilmour.

Wade received her bachelor’s degree from Wilkes where she majored in the dual concentrations of Communication Studies and English. She went on to Binghamton University to obtain a Master of Arts degree in English. Wade credits being a graduate of Wilkes as a major drive in her motivation to perform well at work.

“It’s more than just a line on a resume,” said the vice president. “I truly hope that a lot of the students here can find that similar dedication to Wilkes, or even another cause that they find while they’re a student. I feel very purposeful about the job that I do because I am passionate about helping Wilkes University stay alive and thrive.”

Wade’s intentions were to become a faculty member within an English department, but the vice president said she is happy with where she ended up.

“Like many things in your twenties, this was something I sort of stumbled into,” Wade said. “I was really just looking for something to do for employment while I prepared for graduate school, but then life happened. If you had asked me when I was 22-years-old, I wouldn’t have said I would be here 19 years later and a part of administration. It just worked out that way and, at a certain point, I began to realize that what I was doing really had transitioned into a career.”

Wade has some advice for current students based on her experiences.

“Take every little opportunity that you get to do something that sounds interesting to you, even if you do not immediately see what the results of that might be,” Wade advised. “You never know down the road how that may be something that influences you.”

While the administrator spends much of her time working directly on campus, she has travelled recently to the Mesa campus in Arizona, to conferences in Las Vegas, and spent time recruiting potential Wilkes University students in China. When time permits, Wade said she enjoys gardening and reading. The vice president and her husband also enjoy taking weekend trips into the cities of New York and Philadelphia once a month.