Chief encourager: Meet Admissions Director Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart

Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart

Interested in attending SUNY Broome? For many prospective students, the first stop is the Admissions office, where they learn about the many opportunities the college offers and start the application process. Others meet Admissions staff in the field, where smiling faces provide an eager introduction to the college’s academic programs, campus life and more.

Leading the team is Admissions Director Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart.

“We have a very small team, but they are incredibly enthusiastic. They are dedicated to the mission that education is a privilege, but one that is attainable,” she reflected.

A native of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, Stewart joined the SUNY Broome community two years ago, following the departure of previous director Jenae Norris. For much of that time, she served as assistant director of Admissions under Executive Enrollment Management Officer Jesse Wells.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Scranton, and a master’s degree in rhetoric and creative writing from Wilkes University. During her college days, she worked in development in higher education and was interested in continuing on that trajectory, she said. She then spent 3 ½ years at Marywood University as a senior counselor for undergraduate admissions.

As fate would have it, she fell in love with a man from Vestal and moved to the Southern Tier – just as the Admissions office was hiring. Soon after she joined the college, Academic Affairs organized its Enrollment Management team, joining Admissions, the Registrar’s Office, Marketing & Communications in a single sub-division working together on key goals.

Admissions also fosters relationships with other campus departments, and Stewart encouraged faculty members to contact the office if they would like particular programs and opportunities to be highlighted. The office has meetings every Wednesday morning, and faculty members are welcome to meet with the team.

The work of Admissions, after all, extends beyond the team in the Darwin R. Wales Center. Anyone who engages with the community can play a part as a SUNY Broome ambassador, Stewart said. The word seems to be getting out about the value of a SUNY Broome education. On a recent June day, Admissions accepted 820 more students than at the same period in the previous year.

So what’s the best part of the job? Stewart didn’t hesitate with an answer.

“The best part is that I get to be the person that presents people with an opportunity to enhance their lives,” she said. “That by far is the coolest thing.”

Commencement is a particularly meaningful time for Admissions, as it is for the entire campus community. Staff members see the seeds they planted sprout into fully realized dreams of a college degree – and bright futures ahead.

The work of Admissions, as it turns out, doesn’t stop with an acceptance letter. Students drop by to chat with staff, and fill them in on their accomplishments and opportunities.

“A lot of people who walk through that door don’t have a great support system. We get to be the surrogate cheerleaders,” Stewart said. “We can follow their whole time here. We get to be that encourager the whole time.”