Dr. William Fitzsimmons will share his ‘pathway to social mobility’ with students on May 19

DALLAS – William R. Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Harvard College, will address more than 400 University of North Texas at Dallas graduates as the Spring 2017 commencement keynote speaker on Friday, May 19. UNTD’s commencement will be held at Inspiring Body of Christ Church (located at 7701 S. Westmoreland Rd. in Dallas) and begins at 5 p.m.

In its vision statement, UNT Dallas – the first and only public 4-year university located in Dallas – aspires to become a pathway to social mobility for area students. And just as UNTD students have often had to blaze unconventional trails in their own journey to higher education, Fitzsimmons’ pathway was unusual. His parents ran a gas station and a “mom and pop” store, living a modest life in the blue-collar Boston suburb of Weymouth. And while his parents had not gone to college themselves, they “made it clear in no uncertain terms” that higher education was a given for their children.

When Fitzsimmons became interested in attending Harvard, he asked two teachers to write letters of recommendation for his undergraduate admission – both teachers refused, because they didn’t believe Harvard was a fit for a student from a place like Weymouth. But Fitzsimmons, like many of UNT Dallas’ graduating students, was determined and gravitated toward Harvard because he enjoyed the diversity of its student body. Fitzsimmons gained acceptance to the prestigious Ivy League institution and attended Harvard College through a combination of scholarships, loans, and jobs while earning his bachelor’s degree, before going on to earn his master’s and doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Today, an outspoken advocate of financial aid, Fitzsimmons has served as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid for Harvard College since 1986. Previously, he was Executive Director of the Harvard College Fund from 1984-86 and Director of Admissions at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges from 1975-1984. He is a former Trustee of the College Board, and is a member of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling and the former Chair of the Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergraduate Admissions. Fitzsimmons is involved in various research projects, publications and professional activities on issues related to admissions and financial aid. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Fitzsimmons will have limited availability to speak with media on behalf of UNT Dallas during his May 19 visit. Media wishing to request an interview may contact Paul Corliss of UNT Dallas at 917-621-5744 or paul.corliss@untdallas.edu


Who:     More than 400 graduates, the largest graduating class to-date from UNT Dallas
What:   UNT Dallas Spring 2017 Commencement
Where: Inspiring Body of Christ Church, 7701 S. Westmoreland Rd., Dallas, Texas 75237
When: 5 p.m., Friday, May 19, 2017

For more information on UNTD’s Spring 2017 Commencement Ceremony, please visit http://www.untdallas.edu/registrar/graduation-0

The University of North Texas at Dallas (UNT Dallas) is the only regionally accredited, public university in the City of Dallas. With a mission to empower students, transform lives and strengthen communities, UNT Dallas has a diverse student population (41percent Hispanic, 35percent African-American, and 17 percent white) and announced record enrollment in Fall, 2016, exceeding 3,000 students. UNT Dallas is a member of the University of North Texas System.