Getting to know...Brand Stille
Brand Stille, Wofford’s vice president for enrollment management, remembers exactly what it was like to visit the college as a prospective student. His sister was a Wofford senior when he was a senior in high school.
“I visited her at Wofford a number of times,” he recalls. “We grew up in Due West, S.C. (near Anderson), where Erskine College is located. I was looking for a college that was a lot like Erskine. I ended up attending Wofford and graduated, and I was gone for about one semester before I returned. I was offered a job in the admissions office as an admissions counselor, and I began working in March of 1987. I’ve been here in the admissions office ever since.”
To put that in perspective, Stille has been working at Wofford since the month BEFORE The Simpsons debuted on television as part of the Tracey Ullman show.
Things have certainly changed at Wofford since then.
“There are more students from a wider range of places,” says Stille. “The facilities are much better. The campus is much larger and more beautiful than ever. I remember when the highlight of the campus tour was Main Building before it was renovated. Now it’s difficult to get to all the highlights on an hour-long campus tour.
“The study abroad program is much larger now, too. That’s grown everywhere, but I think it is one area where Wofford has really excelled. It’s a real selling point for the college…the access that students have on programs abroad and the emphasis that we place on foreign languages.”
It all helps to make a very competitive job a little bit easier.
“College marketing and the college environment have gotten more competitive,” says Stille. “I loved my experience as a student, academically and otherwise, but I think Wofford is so much better today than when I was in school. I think the student body is stronger academically. I think it’s more diverse. Through all of the changes, Wofford has worked hard to preserve the things that were most important to me as a student here; the sense of community, the emphasis on academics and the relationships students can build with faculty, staff and each other.
“It’s a great choice for students who want a challenge in a friendly, supportive community. So that’s the approach we take. I feel very fortunate to be in a position that allows us to look for the best 400 students for Wofford as opposed to just getting the first 400 students we can find.”
Stille has a passion for his job, but it’s hardly his only passion. One visit to his office on the Wofford campus will show you the enthusiasm he has for Native American culture. He has an arrowhead collection, many of which are framed together in one very nice shadow box. There is also a nice photograph of a Native American tribesman taken by Edward Curtis.
“That’s always been a fascination of mine since I was a kid,” says Stille. “I don’t know why or how I became interested in Native Americans, but it’s something that has stayed with me.”
A family tradition that has also stayed with him is running, specifically the Cooper River Bridge 10K Run in Charleston, S.C. His best time in the race is 43:50, though he’s shooting for something under 43:00 this year.
“I’m training for it with my neighbor,” he says. “I have sisters in Charleston, and someone in my family has competed in the race for the last 15 years.”
When he isn’t working or running, Stille is probably at home with his family. He and his wife are big fans of the show Top Chef, and he says he loves watching the first couple of episodes of American Idol every year, before it gets too serious. “I can’t stand it after that,” he laughs.