When Michael McCawley joined the UC Santa Cruz admissions office as a front line advisor in September 1981 enrollment was “about 6,500” and desktop computers were just coming in. (The “about 6,500" is used because back then no one knew for sure.)
McCawley, director of admissions for the past five years, just celebrated his 35th year at UC Santa Cruz, all in admissions. And he isn’t even the longest serving staffer in the office. David Kamimoto, associate director of admissions for transfer preparation programs, began a year earlier as an admissions counselor in the Los Angeles area.
That McCawley and Kamimoto have more than 71 years of service to students and families is testament to their dedication to higher education, said Michelle Whittingham, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management.
McCawley has been a special programs assistant, application processing coordinator, associate director, and acting director (twice) before becoming director in December 2011. Over the years, he has been in hundreds of California high schools, attended college fairs across the state, visited nearly all of the state’s 113 community colleges, and traveled to Canada, Mexico, and India on UC Santa Cruz business.
“Michael is one of the most well-known admissions counselors in the state of California,” Whittingham said. “He has a tireless dedication to the work we do, and has had an impact on many, many students and families.”
“Every fall opening is a celebration to me,” McCawley said. “Watching the campus grow in its ethnic and cultural diversity is particularly gratifying. As I look back, I'll always appreciate the incredible individuals that I've had the good fortune of working with over my career,” he said.
McCawley called the growth in California community college transfer students “an amazing occurrence.”
Kamimoto has worked with community college transfers for nearly 20 years in admissions and the Education Partnership Center where he became director of a transfer preparation program launched in 1999, after the passage three years earlier of Proposition 209 that prohibited considering race, gender, or ethnicity in public education. He moved back to admissions in 2012.
“Many of the same concerns still come up for students today,” Kamimoto said, noting educational financing, preparation for a career or graduate school, ability to get classes, and graduating in a timely manner. “One of the differences now, though, is that we now have many UCSC alumni who are parents of students who are considering us, and they have specific expectations, influenced by their own memories, of their children.”
Kamimoto also toasted his colleague. “It has been great to work with Michael over the course of our admissions careers,” he said. “I think we were both given opportunities, as well as support, from those around us, that have allowed us to be successful and contribute to the overall campus in our roles.”