I'm an undergraduate student planning to apply for Ph.D. programs in the humanities field this admissions cycle (Fall 2016). I've been contacting a few professors I'd be interested in working with at certain programs. One of the professors at a school that is one of my top choices said that she is on leave for this academic year (Fall 2016-Spring 2017), so she will not be part of admissions, but would be taking in new grad students in the academic year after that, when I would (hopefully) be a first-year grad student. Her research interests are a really good match with my current interests, so I was hoping to have her as my adviser if I got accepted to that school.
Is it alright for an applicant to refer to a professor that they'd like to work with in the personal statement even when that professor is not on-campus for the admissions process? Should I apply anyways and assume that if I'm a strong enough candidate, they'll accept even when my desired adviser will not be on-campus for the admissions committee?