Nanette Tarbouni to leave WU
Admissions director to move to John Burroughs School
After calling Washington University home for the past 25 years, Director of Undergraduate Admissions Nanette Tarbouni will begin a new chapter in her professional life starting this summer: high school.
Tarbouni has been named director of college counseling at John Burroughs School, effective July 1. Tarbouni will succeed Andy Abbott, who will become the next headmaster of Burroughs.
Associate Vice Chancellor John Berg, who worked with Tarbouni, learned of her decision on Jan. 1. Although he did not expect the move, he said he appreciates Tarbouni’s contribution to campus.
“I was surprised,” he said. “She’s such a great person. The name ‘Nanette’ has been synonymous with Washington University admissions for a long time. We’re very sad, and we’re happy for Nanette.”
Taurboni plans to use her experience at the University to lead a team of four other college counselors guiding juniors and seniors in their college preparation and search.
“I am looking forward to working with students as they prepare to go to college and to learn about the college application process from that side of the desk,” Tarbouni wrote in an e-mail to Student Life.
Julie Shimabukuro, a University graduate and the current director of international recruitment, will succeed Tarbouni as director of admissions. Shimabukuro is excited to fill Tarbouni’s position.
“I think it’s a great opportunity and a big role to fill,” she said. “I’m a Wash. U. alum so this is my school as well. I care about the future of the University. We have such a fantastic community of people.”
Berg is confident that Shimabukuro, who has 15 years of experience working in college admissions, will be able to continue Tarbouni’s success.
“She’ll be a great leader,” Berg said. “Like Nanette, she’s very well versed in the admissions field. She and Nanette have worked together for a long time. She is very well respected among her colleagues at Washington University, around the country and the world.”
At the University, Tarbouni has worked with many Burroughs students. She plans to bring those experiences to her new job and looks forward to continuing her relationship with the Burroughs community.
“John Burroughs is a community filled with wonderful faculty, staff and students,” she wrote. “I have been fortunate to be the Washington University admissions officer for Burroughs for the last 10 years or so. We have quite a few Wash. U. students who came from Burroughs, and I hope that will continue.”
Berg noted Tarbouni’s positivity as one of her assets in the field of admissions.
“Nanette has a wonderful way with people,” he said. “She sets students, their parents and their high school counselors at ease. She’s been a wonderful spokesperson and leader for Washington U. for a long time.”
Sophomore Kevin Cleland, a member of the Student Admissions Committee and Campus Interview Team who worked with Tarbouni as an admissions intern last summer, agreed that Tarbouni’s best asset was the positive atmosphere she created.
“It’s astounding how much she remembers about every student,” Cleland said. “She has a knack for pulling out of people really positive things. She was always ecstatic to be around students, always a happy person.”
Although Tarbouni is excited about the position at Burroughs, she will miss her time at the University.
“Twenty-five years at the same admissions office is quite rare,” she said. “The students, faculty and staff have made this an extraordinary place and one that will be tough to leave.”
Despite the loss of Tarbouni, Berg said that the admissions office would stay strong because of the students it attracts.
“The student recruitment effort relies on the work of our students and the way that they feel about Washington University,” he said. “That’s where the core recruitment effort for Washington University resides.”
Tarbouni attended Tulane University in New Orleans for her undergraduate degree. Following her graduation, she served as an academic counselor at Tulane and later as an academic advisor at University of Missouri-St. Louis. She joined the Washington University admissions team in 1983 and became its head in 1985.
Tarbouni said that though she looks forward to her new job, the transition will be strange.
“It’s hard to imagine that after June, I won’t be coming to work here, walking up the Brookings steps,” she said. “I think my car will just be on auto-pilot to still drive here.”
With additional reporting by Ben Sales