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Roy Danielian is talking to someone in his office

Danielian enjoys role as Office of Admissions ‘closer’

By Blake Sebring

August 17, 2023

It’s pretty clear that the Office of Admissions has had a very busy summer with record participation in new student orientation, preliminary numbers suggesting an increase in enrollment, and a new standard of almost 1,600 students deciding to live in Student Housing.

Those results have required a significant personal investment from staff, student workers, and everyone involved—and the work continues year-round.

One of the examples is Roy Danielian, the assistant director of admissions, who arrived on campus in 2009. Danielian uses that experience as the recognized “closer” by his co-workers. With his personal, low-pressure style, he has a knack for making prospective students and their parents feel comfortable. It’s not that he guides them to what he wants, but he helps them make their decision.

“Having dedicated over 14 years to Purdue Fort Wayne, Roy stands out as one of PFW's most devoted advocates,” said Ryan Wooley, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management and director of undergraduate recruitment. “He takes immense pleasure in connecting with incoming Mastodons and their families, guiding them through the admissions journey. His enthusiasm and unwavering commitment are truly inspiring.”

A few things inform Danielian’s dedication, including that his two children received degrees on this campus, something he shares with the parents he meets. As he tells them, he knows the value of a PFW education, the stress from filling out eight financial aid forms, and he’s been through the fall semester separation anxiety, but he’s also experienced the pride of watching his children receive a quality education and go through graduation.

“PFW is of value, and it’s also a privilege,” Danielian said after spending the morning on the phone helping convince four students to enroll. “This place offers so much to a student with a Purdue degree, and I always talk about that—the ability to get a good job after you graduate and the lower debt because it’s affordable.”

Another thing Danielian emphasizes is the accommodations at Student Housing on the Waterfield Campus. “I kind of pump them up for it,” Danielian said. “I say, `You won’t find anything this nice anywhere.’ Whoever designed those buildings was way ahead of their time.”

He’s quick to remind the touring parents what dorms may have been like when they attended college. They usually laugh, especially when seeing the space of the Waterfield Campus suites PFW offers.

“I’ve never had one parent or student say they didn’t like the residence halls after they visited,” Danielian said. “I think the visit is the most important part of recruiting a student. Very few will come if they haven’t seen the place.”

The best way to recruit has little to do with him, but to have students present who already love the place, Danielian said. Those are the best salespersons.

Danielian is quick to credit others on the admissions staff, talking about their teamwork and camaraderie. It’s a busy job, and he prefers to work under the radar serving as a resource of advice and input for others as they grow into the positions.

“I’m in my element,” Danielian said. “I’ve had friends say I was really born to recruit college students—and I agree. Maybe it’s because I had such a good college experience myself.”

He studied at Corban University in Salem, Oregon, where he met his wife, Martha, and became the soccer coach. That was followed by stints in California, Texas, and Indiana, serving as a head coach for 18 of 20 years. He also earned his master’s degree and worked in student administration, supervising residence halls, serving as associate dean of students, and recruiting. Those jobs weren’t as hard as selling fireplaces in his uncle’s Fresno, California, store, where he started at age 15 and continued during summers until he was 28.

"They said, `Roy if you can sell fireplaces in one of the hottest places on earth, you can sell anything,’” Danielian said. “I learned customer service and how to treat people. I was really good at it.”

And he still is. One key, Danielian said, is he always thanks parents and students for visiting, understanding maybe they had to travel quite a bit, they are offering their time, and he should be welcoming. They are doing him the favor, not the other way around, he said.