Lee Ann Backlund
Dean of Admission & Financial Aid
Having grown up in Sewanee, Lee Ann still finds herself caught up in the magic of the Mountain and the uniqueness of this place. Before returning to Sewanee in the summer of 2010, Lee Ann was not only an admission professional but also a fitness instructor in Decatur, Georgia. When she is not at work, you can find Lee Ann either spending time with friends and family while enjoying a great meal and good conversation or supporting the Sewanee Tigers. An early morning run on the trails, lunch at Julia's, and a springtime hike through Shake Rag Hollow with her dog Buddy make up Lee Ann’s perfect Sewanee day.
Associate Dean of Admission
Territories: Northern California, Colorado, Hawaii, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Southern East Tennessee (Chattanooga area), Washington, West Virginia
Lisa came to Sewanee for the first time in 2002 to participate in the Admission 101 program as a prospective parent; she returned to Sewanee in the summer of 2008 but this time as an employee. Lisa’s perfect Sewanee day includes lunch on the front porch of Fulford Hall followed by a leisurely stroll to Green’s View. When she is not hard at work, Lisa enjoys cooking, gardening, traveling as well as participating in P.E.O., a philanthropic women’s organization, and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus.
Assistant Director of Admission
Territories: Middle Tennessee (Nashville area), Connecticut (Fairfield County), New York
Sarah arrived on the Mountain during the summer of 2007 when her husband, Buck, C’89, accepted a job as Director of Publications in the Office of Marketing and Communications. It wasn’t long before she found herself right at home as a part of the Sewanee community, where she now supervises the Sewanee Union Theatre (Be sure to catch a show while on campus, Wednesday–Sunday, 7:30 p.m.), is a member of the P.T.O., and works at the Community Garden. Sarah enjoys all seasons on the Domain but especially enjoys spring, when you can find her enjoying the fresh spring air with her dog, June Carter, and two children, Kate and Isabel.
Associate Director of Admission
Territories: Alaska, Arizona, Southern California, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Middle Tennessee (Franklin, Coffee, Grundy, and Marion Counties), New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
Ryan first visited Sewanee in 1999 after being introduced to the school by a young Sewanee alumna, whom he later married. After many visits to campus over the past decade, Ryan and his wife, Erin, decided to move to Sewanee with their four young children in summer 2009. Prior to beginning his role in the Office of Admission, Ryan served as an environmental science teacher and college counselor at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis. When he is not at work, you can find the Cassell family enjoying the Sunday lunch at McClurg (the fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese are delicious) or star gazing at the Cross.
Jessica Hardy, C’06
Senior Assistant Director of Admission
Territories: Arkansas, Georgia (Atlanta area), Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, West Tennessee
On Jessica’s first visit to campus as a senior, she attended a class and upon arrival the professor welcomed her by name. The professor’s hospitality made her feel right and home and was extremely influential when it came time for her to make her final college decision. Jessica was involved in several organizations as a student: Arcadians (Student Admission Volunteers), the African American Alliance, and Phi Sigma Theta sorority (just to name a few). When she is not on the road, Jessica relishes the chances to explore campus on a beautiful fall day and enjoys grabbing a tasty meal with friends.
Territories: Alabama (Montgomery and Mobile areas), Mississippi, Northern East Tennessee (Knoxville area)
A lifelong Episcopalian, Bess first visited Sewanee as a child and has always felt a strong connection to the Domain and the people of the Sewanee community. When she finally moved to Sewanee in the summer of 2012 so that her husband, John, could begin his Master’s Degree in the School of Theology, she knew that she was home. In her previous life, Bess sold real estate in Montgomery, Alabama and feels that helping students find their college home is very similar to helping a family find their dream home—when it’s the right fit, you just feel it. When she’s not recruiting future Sewanee students, Bess enjoys experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, hiking the many trails on the Domain, and riding her bike to The Blue Chair for a smoothie with her two children, John Turner and Ellie.
Territories: Alabama (Birmingham and Huntsville areas), Georgia (excluding Metro Atlanta), Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin
Danielle grew up just over an hour away from Sewanee, in Huntsville, Alabama, and she recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in psychology. While returning to Nashville from a service trip her senior year, her group decided to venture up the Mountain and take a look at campus. Although she grew up surrounded by mountains, the beauty of the Domain really caught her attention and she felt drawn to return. When she's not at work, you'll find Danielle hiking, sitting on her front porch with a book, or perfecting her baking skills.
Forbes Mann, C’10
Assistant Director of Admission
Territories: Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C.
Forbes grew up in the Washington, D.C., area, but Sewanee has felt like home to him from the moment he arrived here as a new student. As a 2010 graduate of Sewanee’s College of Arts and Sciences, Forbes majored in English and minored in education. Outside of the classroom, he was active in Arcadians (the Admission Office’s student volunteer corps), Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and some of the programs offered by All Saints’ Chapel. Forbes loves sharing Sewanee stories with high school students; when he is not at work, he enjoys sitting on the front porch at Shenanigans trading those same Sewanee stories with friends.
Tim Neil, C’13
Territories: Connecticut (excluding Fairfield County), Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont
Tim did not visit the Mountain until March of his senior year in high school, and he was completely awed by Sewanee's Gothic architecture. He loved seeing all the engaging students, and he enjoyed the overall community feel. During his visit, Tim's overnight host drove him out to Green's View, one of Sewanee's many overlooks. It was during this visit he knew he found a new home. While a Sewanee student, Tim majored in history, and filled his time outside of class by serving as a student assistant to the Vice-Chancellor and as an Arcadian student admission volunteer. Tim was also involved in Greek life as a member of Phi Gamma Delta. When Tim is not at work, he enjoys hiking Sewanee's many trails, catching up with friends at the Blue Chair Tavern, and reading quietly on the front porch of Stirling's Coffee House with an Invisible Latte.
Maria Watters, C’93
Campus Visit Coordinator
A Sewanee alumna, Maria loves helping the next generation of Sewanee students learn about life here on the Mountain. Maria coordinates visit experiences for all of our guests.
Nancy York, C’11
Assistant Director of Admission
Territories: Oklahoma, Texas, Homeschool Students, Transfer Students
When Nancy received her first Sewanee admission brochure in the fall of 2006, she could almost feel the magic of the Mountain radiating off the page. It wasn’t until she arrived as a freshman, however, and met the wonderful faculty, staff, and students who call Sewanee home that she truly understood what a privilege it is to be a part of the Sewanee family. As a student, Sewanee’s rich historical past inspired her to major in history and taught her many lessons about the power of place and memory. Nancy fondly recalls the time she spent as a member of the cross country and track teams, the All Saints' Chapel Sacristans' Guild, the Sewanee Angel Team, and as Student Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor and Provost. When she’s not sharing her love for Sewanee with others, you can find Nancy and her Labrador Retriever, Izzy, at a local swimming hole or enjoying a meal with friends on the front porch at Shenanigans.