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Two 1986 University graduates have taken their work westward to get more students on the "red and blue express." Regional office directors Timothy Ryan, who works in Texas, and Glenn Singleton, based in Los Angeles, aim to get more students from the West Coast at the University. And as part of their non-traditional approach, they even work to help students fly back to Philadelphia together on the "express" each fall. In 1980, the University founded the California admissions office, and followed suit eight years later in Texas. The offices are intended to spread word about the University and to make the admissions game more competitive by drawing highly qualified West Coast students. Ryan and Singleton say the offices, which concentrate efforts in nearly 10 western states, also help the University attract a more racially diverse student body because the states have significant minority populations. Before they moved west, both Singleton and Ryan spent several years honing their skills as University-based admissions officers who recruited through regional visits. Singleton just moved to the Los Angeles office, replacing Maria Morales-Kent who left to take a fellowship with the Coro Foundation. He said he plans to increase the office's communication with prospective students. Singleton said that he thinks his role is crucial in the admissions process because he attracts undecided students to the University who without his encouragement would have gone elsewhere. "What is gratifying is that a person, at 17, can chose this place because it's right for them," he said in September. Singleton also said that as a black man, he offers an important perspective to students in California where the minority population is growing rapidly. Singleton said he is planning several outreach programs to potential students and their families, including forming a committee of parents of current students to call and accepted students' congratulate parents. He said the parents will be able to address security and other concerns of the parents of prospective matriculants. Ryan said his strength is working as an educator who tells students who do not know about the University how they would benefit by coming here. He said this is much more important in the Southwest than in the traditional feeder states in the Northeast because these student know less about the University. "You have to work a lot harder to get the message out," Ryan said. The University is one of very few schools that has regional offices. Ryan said he is aware of a Swarthmore College office in California and a Cornell University office in Texas. He said the offices demonstrate an obligation to the regional diversity that the University preaches. "It is not just a passing fancy," Ryan said. "There is a committment to geographic diversity on our campus."

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