January 18, 2002
University of Maine at Fort Kent alumni Melik Peter Khoury, who spent nearly all four years of his tenure as a student on campus in the late 90's assisting in the university's recruitment efforts, and returned to Fort Kent a year and a half ago as a staff member in the admissions department, has been tapped to head the office on an interim basis.
Khoury was hired by UMFK in the fall of 2000 as assistant director of admissions and promoted to associate director last July. Among his many accomplishments, the 28-year-old led a very successful admissions recruiting campaign that resulted in a 15 percent increase in the fall 2001 incoming class.
In that same census, the university also realized an overall 100 percent increase in the number of international students from outside the U.S. and Canada. The doubling brought from 12 to 24 the total number of students from outside North America attending UMFK, which has a student body of 900.
An international student himself, Khoury, a native of Gambia, Africa, first came to UMFK in 1995, as a freshman enrolled in the business management program. In his four-years on campus, he proved to be among the university's most active and most successful students.
In addition to his work in the admissions office, assisting with recruiting efforts, Khoury excelled both in the classroom and in his extra-curricular activities. A former UMFK soccer standout, he was a three-time All-American scholar athlete, leading the Bengal soccer team to four successful seasons. He was named to the Dean's list all eight semesters on campus, and graduated Summa Cum Laude in the spring of 2000.
After leaving UMFK, Khoury spent a year at the University of Maine, working toward his masters in business administration, a degree which he received in the spring of 2001. That fall, he was pleased to return to the Fort Kent campus to accept the position of assistant director in the admissions office.
"We are confident that someone who has such a thorough knowledge, through firsthand experience, of all the wonderful opportunities UMFK provides its students will be successful in such an integral role in our efforts to attract a new generation of students," said Donald Zillman, interim president.
For his part, Khoury is looking forward to providing the admissions office with energized leadership, and at working with a team that has been very successful in recent years.
"I am excited at the prospect of providing leadership to a great team that has grown this campus by more than 40 percent in five years. One of my main goals is to reinforce UMFK's role in the local region by increasing awareness about educational opportunities for the residents of the St. John Valley and Aroostook County. I want to blend that with a healthy mixture of diverse students from away," said Khoury. "UMFK has established itself as an outstanding choice for students seeking a high quality, affordable education."
The past success of the admissions department is not a laurel upon which the new interim director plans to rest. Rather, much like the university's current leader, interim president Zillman, Khoury plans to be very active during his tenure.
"UMFK has a wonderful story to tell, we just need to sell it to more students. I plan to work with the admissions team at altering some of our recruitment initiatives to better attract students and get the message out of just how unique an experience we offer. The reality is that once we get the prospective students to visit campus the likelihood is very good that they will enroll," said Khoury.
The university's enrollment statistics indicate that nearly 80 percent of all students who make the trip to visit UMFK actually register for classes. The interim director plans to explore new ways to get more students to make that initial visit.
In addition to his work in the admissions office, Khoury has served for the past two years as men's soccer coach and as a part-time faculty member in the business division at UMFK.