Coveney Retiring after 40 Years: WC Honors Vice-President of Admissions with Scholarship

By Rachel Loetzbeier
Elm Staff Writer

Kevin Coveney, vice president of admissions, will be retiring at the end of the semester on June 30.

“I’ve done what I’m doing for 40 years now. When I started, I didn’t think I’d still be doing this. Time flies. You know when it’s time to take a break and do something else,” Coveney said.

Before becoming Director of Admissions at Washington College in July 1983, Coveney was director of admissions at three other schools: St. Francis College in Maine (now the University of New England), Castleton State College in Vermont, and Southampton College of Long Island University, so he already had prior experience in admissions. Later in 1996, he was promoted to vice president of admissions, which according to him was basically just a title change.

When asked why he chose to work in admissions, Coveney said, “It was pretty random, actually. I replied to a job ad in The Boston Globe for an admission counselor; the requirements were good communication skills and a valid driver’s license. Once I started the job, I enjoyed the travel and the wide variety of people I met on a daily basis. I’ve stayed in admissions for 40 years because it’s interesting and challenging work, it allows for great creativity, and it involves me with all members of our college community.”

Coveney has lived in Chestertown since July 1983. He raves about how great it was raising kids here.
“There was a terrific cohort of children for my kids to grow up with; the schools were good and the town was enjoying much better economic times.”

When Coveney first started at WC, there were no computers and no Internet, but even after 29 years, the basic processes of trying to connect students with a future filled with experiences that a liberal arts college has to offer still remains the same. A typical day for Coveney encompasses lots of different things such as trying to communicate WC’s characteristics and programs to prospective students, visit high schools to show students what WC has to offer them, review student applications, make scholarship decisions, make phone calls to parents, as well as do a lot of marketing data management. He tries his best to pair up prospective students and their interests with faculty who have the ability to make these interests a reality. This is another way in which Coveney is able to express to students everything WC has to offer.

“Working in admissions has a clear sense of purpose. I get so much satisfaction in discovering students as well as helping the student and their family discover WC” Coveney said.

“Easily the best part about my job are all the people that are a part of my day: guidance counselors, coaches, parents, students, etc. The joys of working at a college would be working and interacting with the students that make up the school. They are fun to be around! To me the human story is most compelling.” Coveney expressed how much he loves seeing alumni and hearing their stories about how they met at WC and now they are married with children.

He goes on to say, “After I retire though, I will no longer be an active participant in the human story, but merely a bystander.”

When asked about his plans after retirement he answered, “I plan on enjoying my free time. Now I’ll get the chance to do the things I haven’t been able to do. I have grandchildren to babysit, porches to paint, places to go, and people to see! I’ll still continue to serve the college through special projects and maybe consulting.”

He would like to extend a big thank you to the faculty and staff because, “without the outstanding support of the faculty and staff, I couldn’t have done the things I’ve done at WC.”

In a recent press release, Washington College announced a new scholarship has been established to honor Kevin Coveney for his 30 years of leadership as head of admissions. Endowed by a Hodson Trust gift of $200,000, the merit-based Hodson Trust-Kevin Coveney Scholarship will be awarded for the first time to a student entering the College for the 2013-14 academic year.

“Kevin has worked tirelessly on behalf of Washington College, bringing to campus ever-stronger and increasingly diverse and accomplished classes,” College president Mitchell B. Reiss said in announcing the scholarship. “What a living legacy and what a lasting imprint on the college. It is a privilege to establish this scholarship in his name, and we are grateful to our friends at the Hodson Trust for making it possible.”

Coveney recruited over half of the living alumni of WC.

“I am deeply honored to have my name associated with this scholarship,” he said. “And I’m grateful for all the Hodson Trust has done to support the College’s goals and initiatives during my 29 years at Washington College. It has certainly been a great privilege to be associated with the late Finn Caspersen, Gerry Holm, and other members of the Trust. I have been blessed with extraordinary support from many other friends and colleagues over the years,” he adds. “And I am proud that I’ve been able to connect so many terrific young men and women with all the great opportunities that WC has to offer.”

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