With a mixture of deep gratitude and sadness, we write to share the news that Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Youlonda Copeland-Morgan — a national leader in her field who developed UCLA’s enrollment management division into one of the most exceptional recruitment and admissions units anywhere in higher education — will retire at the end of September after nearly 11 years at UCLA.
Throughout her impressive tenure, Youlonda has worked with passion, creativity, innovation, and tireless dedication to expand access to a UCLA education for high-achieving students of all backgrounds, fueled by a very personal commitment to equity and opportunity. She has truly reshaped the way that UCLA engages with and serves its students, making our institution an even greater engine of socioeconomic mobility. We are extraordinarily grateful to her for her vision and many years of dedicated leadership.
Youlonda joined UCLA in 2012 to build the division of enrollment management, which encompasses the offices of Undergraduate Admission, Financial Aid and Scholarships, Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement, and the Early Academic Outreach Program. Applying a holistic lens to student engagement and success, she both strengthened the ties between these offices as well as encouraged partners across UCLA to recognize that bringing in, retaining, and helping students reach graduation is a collective campus responsibility. A convener by nature, she established the first campus-wide strategic committee for enrollment and shepherded the creation of a cohesive enrollment strategy for the entire campus. She also brought together admissions directors and leaders from the college and specialty schools, encouraging knowledge-sharing and greater collaboration to achieve UCLA’s enrollment goals.
As vice provost, Youlonda has invested heavily in building trusted relationships in underserved communities with large numbers of first-generation students and those from underrepresented groups. Through the Office of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement, she and her team have worked with students, families, teachers, counselors, and community and faith-based leaders to help high-achieving young people in Los Angeles and throughout California prepare for admission to top colleges like UCLA. She has invested deeply in other outreach programs as well, working closely with UCLA graduates who tutor students from disadvantaged backgrounds, raising funds to bring the national Destination College Advising Corps program to our campus, and launching the innovative “Project Welcome” — a nationally recognized engagement effort that uses text messaging and email to connect with students in middle and high school.
Youlonda has also vastly improved UCLA’s relationships with school districts in the region and across the state. Here in Los Angeles, she created the UCLA/LAUSD Collaborative — a multi-year program with 28 district schools that focuses on college readiness for underserved students. It has become a national model for partnerships of its kind.
Under Youlonda’s leadership, UCLA has made incredible strides in its outreach, recruitment, admissions, and enrollment efforts. In her time at UCLA, our institution has become the most applied-to university in the country, and our fall 2021 and fall 2022 incoming classes were the most academically strong and diverse in UCLA’s history. These accomplishments are truly astounding.
Aside from her regular duties, Youlonda has also served UCLA in all manner of capacities, including helping establish the recruitment, admissions, counseling, and honors programs at UCLA’s Geffen Academy. She has done ample work on behalf of the UC system as well, steering university policy and programming related to undergraduate financial aid, enrollment of African American students, standardized testing, and more. Beyond UC, Youlonda has been an ambassador for our institution as a member of numerous professional education, financial aid, and research and policy organizations.
In her time at UCLA, Youlonda has led the charge in ensuring that our university continues to lift up students from all walks of life and help put them on a path to success in college and beyond. Her work has been vital to UCLA’s success in so many ways. She will always be a true Bruin, as evidenced by her deep embodiment of UCLA’s core values of access, equity, and excellence. While we will miss her greatly, we are thankful that she has put in place excellent teams to keep our university’s enrollment management operations moving forward. Her legacy will be felt for many years to come.
We will keep the community informed as interim leadership plans for the enrollment management division take shape. In the meantime, however, we want to offer a very heartfelt and personal thank you to Youlonda for demonstrating unparalleled leadership and inspiring commitment to this institution that means so much to all of us. We hope you will join us in wishing Youlonda the best on a very well-deserved retirement.
Gene D. Block
Michael S. Levine
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost