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AMU Admissions Director Fired

silva200Ave Maria University has another hole to fill in its senior ranks after the school fired its admissions director, Billee Silva, on Friday.

A brief announcement to staff Saturday by AMU Executive Vice-President Dennis Grace announced her departure, saying only that her tenure in the job had ended. Ms. Silva declined to make any comment to The Ave Herald, but those familiar with her situation said she was fired.

Ms. Silva was the first admissions director at Ave Maria who had a background in college admissions, joining AMU in the summer of 2013 after 19 years at Edison State College (now Florida Southwestern State College) in Fort Myers.

Former admissions officer Willis Whitesell, who worked at AMU for more than four years before abruptly resigning in November, said Ms. Silva's departure is a big loss for the university. "Billee Silva was always very professional, experienced and kind, and she and her staff were personally responsible for the record incoming class in Fall 2014," he said, adding that at that time, Mr. Grace was serving as CFO and not overseeing the admissions department, as he has for the last two years.

She is the second senior AMU official to go this year. In early January, AMU's vice-president for institutional advancement, Kevin Joyce, announced he had resigned and would be leaving by the end of February.

There are indications that the AMU board of trustees, which meets later this week, is impatient with levels of growth for both enrollment and fundraising. AMU's interim vice-president for academic affairs, Gabriel Martinez, told faculty in a recent email that the administration is proposing new majors, the "main purpose" of which is to "help the work of admissions."

"While enrollment grew 4% from last year to this, the Board wants new measures (including new majors) to accelerate the rate of growth," he said.

Dr. Martinez also said that financial pressures "have placed additional demands on our fundraising performance this year" and the school will "have to identify new donors."

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