Western hired Cezar Mesquita as its new Director of Admissions, with his job beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Originally from Brazil, Mesquita worked as an admissions director for over 10 years at the University of Idaho.
Mesquita chose to work in admissions because he wanted an active role in access and equity in higher education. The future director hopes to bring community members together to start discussing issues of affordability and inclusion on Western’s campus.
“We have a pivotal role,” Mesquita said. He also emphasized admission’s role in teaching students and families on campus what Western can offer them.
Clara Capron, assistant vice president of Enrollment and Student Services, has been acting director of admissions until a permanent position was found. She will be Mesquita’s supervisor.
“I right away felt a wonderful rapport with Clara,” Mesquita said. “We are going to continue on that tradition of bringing about that inclusive excellence that is so characteristic of the entire Western experience.”
In a press release issued in September, Capron discussed the upcoming change.
“We’re looking forward to Mesquita’s leadership as our next director of undergraduate admissions,” Capron said. “Mesquita’s expertise, unique skills and longstanding experience in the admissions profession will not only support but enhance the recruitment of qualified students to our university.”
Mesquita works with student advisory boards on matters of admission and enrollment, believing their input is necessary to deal with the opportunities and challenges facing Western.
“We are going to continue on that tradition of bringing about that inclusive excellence that is so characteristic of the entire Western experience.”
“There is a wonderful opportunity for us to listen to the students who are absolutely living the day-to-day experience in a college setting,” Mesquita said. “I hope to definitely continue that when I’m at Western.”
Western students have expressed the admissions department could do more to bring diversity to campus. Senior Alexandrea Moore thinks this isn’t about certain criteria on applications but expanding where they look for students while recruiting.
“They are getting a lot of Washington high school turnover because most people here are from Washington,” Moore said. “I’d like to see them branch out.”
Elena Rodriguez, junior, believes that although there is still work to do, the admissions department does a lot to spread awareness.
“I feel like there is a current effort to make sure a high percentage of the population are people are of color,” she said. “But I also feel like most of the people on campus are white. It’s important to practice what we preach and make sure that there is a more diverse campus.”
Mesquite has set goals to learn more about what Western is doing in areas of access and inclusions.
“There are so many opportunities available to us. The conversations around what is going on in higher education are about access and inclusion,” he said. “One of the biggest goals that I have is to learn as much as possible about what Western is doing in those areas and contribute to those conversations as we propel the university forward to bring about a new generation of Vikings.”
Mesquita will oversee undergraduate admissions at Western, 95 percent of the university’s population.