Roebling native named dean of admission at Princeton University

Karen Richardson. Photo by Alonso Nichols for Tufts University.

Karen Richardson, a Princeton University graduate and native of Roebling in Burlington County, has been named the new dean of admission at Princeton University. She will start in her new role on July 1.

Richardson is currently the dean of admissions and enrollment management at Tufts University in Massachusetts. She served in a number of admissions roles at Tufts over the past decade before becoming dean in 2016. In 2014, she became director of graduate admissions. In that role, she expanded graduate student recruitment. She joined Tufts in 2008 as director of diversity recruitment, helping reimagine a campus visit program and increasing outreach to community-based organizations and high schools. Her efforts helped increase the number of applications to Tufts from underrepresented students and first generation students.

From 2002 to 2004, she was an assistant dean for undergraduate admission at Princeton, focusing on diversity recruitment efforts.

Richardson was among the first generation in her family to attend college. She is a member of Princeton University’s Class of 1993. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in politics and earned her master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Her career in education also has focused on K-12 public school administration. From 2005 to 2008, she served as deputy superintendent of Boston Public Schools. She was previously a program director with the Boston Public Schools. In the late 1990s, she worked as a program director for Young Negotiators in Boston and with Jumpstart in Washington, D.C. She has served on the board of directors of the Common Application since the summer of 2018.

Richardson succeeds Janet Lavin Rapelye, who became president of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education in November of 2018 after 15 years at Princeton.

“Karen Richardson has a remarkable track record as a pioneer in the field of college admissions,” said Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber in a written statement. “Her professional experience at the helm of the Tufts admissions office, her heartfelt commitment to diversity and inclusion, and her deep knowledge of this university make her an ideal leader for our office of admission. We are fortunate that Karen is returning to Princeton, and I look forward to working with her to bring talented students of all backgrounds to this university.”

As a Princeton University student, Richardson was a resident adviser at Forbes College. She sang in the Gospel Ensemble, worked at the Princeton-Blairstown Center, was a Big Sister, and worked in the office of admission as a federal work-study student.

“I’m thrilled to be taking on this role at a place that has been so impactful on my life,” Richardson said of her new job. “Attending Princeton was a transformational experience, and the opportunities I was given here have opened so many doors in my career in education. I’m looking forward to giving back and to working with the admissions team to continue to attract stellar applicants and craft great classes for the university.”