Mabel Freeman, the woman who has spearheaded undergraduate admissions, freshman orientation and all First Year Experience programs, will be retiring at the end of this month.
As she sat in her office nestled in the corner of Enarson Hall with a distinct view overlooking the South Oval, Freeman reminisced about her years as an undergraduate on campus during the turbulent ‘60s, how that experience shaped her view of the world and how she hopes students, present and future, will take advantage of Ohio State’s resources.
“When I think of excellence into eminence, I think of Dr. Mabel Freeman,” said David Roy, associate director of Undergraduate Admissions and First Year Experience. “All of us in the admissions and First Year Experience office are proud of our success in not just getting students in the door, but keeping them here, and that is the hallmark of Dr. Freeman.”
For the past 11 years, Freeman has played a vital role in the admittance and subsequent lives of those tens of thousands of graduates whether they knew it or not, through her position in the admissions office.
“In a university setting, it isn’t just about getting into your career, it’s about learning about the world, and taking advantage of the speakers, programs, other students and faculty and realizing that you don’t get another four years in your life quite like the undergraduate experience.” Freeman said.
Freeman created the First Year Experience (FYE) program, which is responsible for freshman orientation, President’s Convocation, Buckeye Book Community, Distinguished Speaker Series and other programs that first-year Buckeyes participate in.
“FYE programs give incoming first years a sense of pride, welcome and reminds everyone involved why we love this university,” said Meredith Kozak, a fourth-year in French and 2010 orientation leader.
Freeman said she will be starting at Columbus State Community College as a part-time special adviser to President David Harrison this spring.
She began at OSU as an undergraduate in the ‘60s where she went on to earn three degrees in the education guidance and counseling field. She taught in the Columbus School district and worked as assistant director of OSU’s honors center before she landed the position as vice president of FYE in 2000. Freeman will have devoted 27 years of work to OSU.
When she first started at OSU in 1985, the school’s admissions system was open to everyone. Freeman said she helped elevate OSU to its current status as a highly-ranked school with competitive admissions.
“So many colleges and universities’ goal is to increase the number of students,” Freeman said. “At Ohio State, our goal each year is to increase the quality.”
Through her programs, Freeman said she hopes OSU will continue to propel students into challenges and learning experiences in hopes to guide their futures.