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Dr. Heidi Neal leads with passion and purpose to increase enrollment at MSU 

thumbnail-news-heidi-neal-w-student-540x430.webpThis summer, Morehead State University named Dr. Heidi Neal (Class of 2005) the assistant vice president of enrollment management for the Office of Enrollment Management.  

Neal graduated from MSU with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and IRAPP (Institute for Regional Analysis and Public Policy) in 2005 and earned a Master of Arts in Sociology from East Tennessee State University in 2007 and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development from the University of Louisville in 2020.  

Neal spent the past 17 years of her career in higher education, in academic affairs and student affairs. She's spent time at large four-year institutions, private nonprofit universities, community colleges and R1 research universities.   

Most recently, she spent nearly a decade at the University of Louisville (UofL), serving in various roles. She oversaw the J.B. Speed School of Engineering admissions, retention, advising, outreach and career services office with a focus on a student-focused vision, diversity & inclusion and office morale. This resulted in record admissions numbers, increased retention rates and the highest number of degrees awarded. Additionally, K-12 outreach was expanded, serving over 7,500 students annually. Under Neal's leadership, the office saw an increase in staff retention, a record number of donations and the implementation of a nationally recognized at-risk bridge program for STEM students.   

Neal received recognition on the local and national level for her work in higher education and community engagement, being named to the 20 Under 40 list in 2016 by Southern Indiana Business Source, earning the 2020 Education Senior Leader Award from Today's Woman Magazine and being named 2022 Volunteer of the Year from the Commission on the Status of Women at UofL.  

Neal said she is proud to take on this new leadership role for MSU as a proud Eagle alumna.  

"I loved my time here as a student at MSU. It was the best four years of my life, and it gave me the tools to be the person I am today," she said. "Being able to share that experience with future Eagles is by far the most exciting aspect of this position. There is nothing more exciting than giving back to your alma mater that gave you so much."  

Neal outlined three main goals she wants to focus on in her new leadership role:  

  • Sharing the one-of-a-kind experience every type of student will receive while at MSU.   
  • Highlighting MSU as the top choice for every student within our service region while working to diversify recruitment pipelines.   
  • Working to ensure MSU staff are valued, enjoy coming to work and are empowered to grow personally and professionally.   

"Higher education is facing a lot of uphill battles from justifying its worth to low high school graduation rates in the upcoming year," Neal said. "With that in mind, I'm excited to work hand-in-hand with our team at MSU and partners within the region and across the bluegrass to share the top-tier educational experiences that individuals, whether graduating high school or making a career change, can receive at Morehead State University. I'm excited to be a part of ensuring MSU is around for another 100 years."  

Dr. Heidi Neal can be reached at  

To learn more about MSU's Office of Enrollment Services, contact or 606-783-2000

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