BU Today

Campus Life

Kelly Walter traveled the world 95 days last year for her job as BU’s associate vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions. Her office, overlooking the Charles River, is filled with souvenirs from her travels to 6 continents (she swears she’ll get to Antarctica one day), nearly 60 countries, and 47 states.

“I think this job has given me a personal as well as a professional awareness of different cultures, nationalities, value systems, educational systems,” says Walter (SED’81). “I think it’s made me more open-minded, and less ethnocentric. That’s what happens when we are in our own siloed world in the United States. The reality is there are lots of other ways to look at the world, society, and what we value.”

Hanging on her wall are five large magnet boards with a special backstory. When Walter’s four nieces were little, she started collecting magnets so she could show them where she was traveling.

Today, the 379 magnets represent 30 years of travel for both business and pleasure. She has an Arc de Triomphe to remind her of Paris, a palm tree that helps her think of Hawaii. “You know the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! It’s a virtual interpretation of that,” she says.

When she looks at the boards, Walter can remember what she was doing in the city, the people she has met. The magnets also serve as an icebreaker when she meets with students. “When they’re in my office, they can be a little nervous,” she says. “They think, I’m going to meet with the dean of admissions, what do I say? And they look up there and see a magnet from Dubai or Sydney and say, ‘Oh I’ve been there,’ and it’s a great way to start a conversation and put them at ease.”

Walter has worked in admissions and enrollment for 37 years. After graduating with a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Vermont, she earned a master’s in counseling psychology at BU’s School of Education, and then started working as an entry level admissions counselor at BU. “I think I’ve done every job in this office,” she says. “I did leave BU for a couple of years. I always say I defected and went to Wellesley for three years. But BU drew me back and it’s been an amazing journey.”

In our series “Office Artifacts,” BU Today highlights interesting artifacts professors and staff display in their office. Have a suggestion about someone we should profile? Email amlaskow@bu.edu.

Amy Laskowski, Senior Writer at Boston University Marketing & Communications editorial department
Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

3 Comments on Office Artifacts: Kelly Walter

  • Mary Ellen O'Meara on 12.05.2017 at 11:16 am

    I had the pleasure of coinciding with Kelly in the Admissions Office as a work study student during my undergraduate years (CLA ’85). She was wonderful to work with, helped me develop many competencies which I still use today in my professional life. It is an honor to know an individual with her skills, experience and values, as a professional as well as a person. Congratulations Kelly!

  • Christopher Reaske on 12.08.2017 at 1:36 pm

    It was wonderful to see this article about Kelly and her travels and collections.. Anyone visiting her office is in for a real treat. She is clearly the right person to be the representative for BU to welcome potential students onto a very rich and diverse campus with broad and inclusive programs of study. The magnets got it right! Chris Reaske, former VP for Development and Alumni Relations, BU

  • Terry Wang on 05.22.2018 at 1:13 pm

    As a grade-eleven student who yearns for entering BU, I strongly appreciate the efforts dean Kelly made for understanding the diversification of different cultures. She went to my hometown, Shanghai, China, and gave us lots of edifications and suggestions. Honestly, dean Kelly is not as serious as I have imaged. She is actually very amicable. Thank you very much, dean Kelly, for giving international students like me an opportunity to know more about BU.

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