Membership Spotlight - Kristi Sobbe Richter

The Mission of NAGAP is to support, advance and engage graduate enrollment professionals by promoting integrity, excellence and collaboration through education and professional development.


Robert Sommo, New York University


Monday, September 30, 2019 - 2:00pm

Kristi Sobbe Richter

Director of Recruitment and Admissions, St. Louis University School of Social Work

St. Louis, MO

Education:  BA in Studio Arts, Spring Hill College, MSW from Saint Louis University

As of October 2019 Kristi Sobbe Richter will celebrate a decade-long tenure as an active NAGAP member. Kristi initially joined because her predecessor had a membership, but kept renewing and participating because of the relationships and friendships she was able to establish. She has come to depend on these relationships immensely, especially with the ever-evolving industry standards and need to share best practices. Kristi is also a member of JGAP, the Jesuit Association of Graduate Enrollment Management Professionals and MAGAP, the Midwestern Association of Graduate Enrollment Management Professionals. She finds membership in both groups to be instrumental in not only connecting with like-minded and mission-driven schools, but also for regional support.

Kristi is the Director of Recruitment and Enrollment at Saint Louis University (SLU) in Saint Louis, Missouri, a position she’s held for over 10 years. Her primary responsibilities encompass the entire spectrum of graduate enrollment management – recruitment, marketing/communications, admissions, scholarships, academic affairs and more for all the graduate degrees within the School of Social Work.

When asked what her favorite part of the job is her definitive response was “the people”! Kristi goes on to say that "the people and relationships I have been fortunate to establish and continue to cultivate, have been remarkable. Those relationships are what sustains my motivation during difficult times”. The people she refers to are not only her faculty, administrative and professional colleagues, but also the students. When asked what she would change about her job Kristi’s response was an all-too-familiar refrain, “more resources, both human and financial” to better serve prospects and admitted students. Her rationale is not to lessen her workload, but to provide exceptional service to the population of individuals seeking to further their education. 

Kristi has attended several national NAGAP conferences and has implemented many takeaways from those events over the years. For her, one moment that stands out is the presentation from a recent closing speaker who advised attendees to “invest in people, be interested, not interesting, and treat others in the way THEY want to be treated”. A great philosophy to live by, not only for admissions work, but for life in general. Another of Kristi’s favorite NAGAP memories is from the 2015 NAGAP conference in New Orleans. “We went to the float warehouse. It was awesome. That is where I realized that GEM professionals really know how to get down! Compliments of the zydeco music!”

Kristi is not just an active contributor to NAGAP. She is also a member of the National Deans and Directors of Social Work Admissions (NDDSWA), where she’s served on the Board for 5 years. Kristi can talk at length about the benefits of her NAGAP membership, stressing the value of collegial connections. “They are so insightful, eager to learn and willing to share to help their colleagues,” she says.

Outside of the university and her professional affiliations Kristi enjoys cooking, listening to music, and spending time with friends. She also lists fostering kids among her interests. This writer is also proud to be a friend of Kristi’s and can say without hesitation that her generosity of spirit, love, and support in this endeavor (fostering kids) never ceases to amaze those around her. Kristi has done a lot in her ten years in higher education and is one of those people who, when you meet her, becomes a lifelong friend.

As an experienced GEM practitioner Kristi has advice for new professionals in the field. She says "always remember that providing an individual with an opportunity to explore the possibility of having a student experience at your institution should not be a hard sell. Do your homework on the profession, listen before you talk and honor the importance of relationships, embrace new ideas, take risks, learn from mistakes and always be positive, yet realistic.”