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Glenda G. LeGendre

In reviewing notes from an August 2000 planning committee meeting for the inauguration of Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., as the fourth president of then-Villa Julie College, I recall that the committee incorporated an inaugural theme for a large series of well-orchestrated activities. Selecting “A New Era for Leading in Learning” as the theme was actually a critical decision, proven by the effectiveness of the first and subsequent years of the presidency. To create new traditions from the start, a ceremonial mace and presidential medallion were commissioned for use at many of the inaugural events. A highlight of the inauguration was clearly the guest academic visit from Yale Economist Robert J. Shiller, who generously spoke to a theater full of students as well as to a large group of area business executives invited to a special breakfast event. Shiller, author of the best-selling non-fiction book Irrational Exuberance, was an early predictor of two major declines in the stock market. He went on to be awarded a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2013.

After his inauguration, President Manning received numerous congratulatory notifications from colleges and dignitaries throughout the country, including a formal note from the White House.

president manning receiving medal

Donald B. Ratcliffe, then-Chairman of the Board of Trustees, presents the inaugural medal to new VJC President Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., in October 2000.

He then settled in to help develop the first strategic plan for the College. After working with groups of faculty and staff for several months, Manning noted in a Jan. 5, 2001, memo to all that, “You have my assurance that we will take as much time as necessary to create a first-rate plan.” Creating the plan involved numerous subcommittees to work on the mission, vision, and values statements. Notably, a career-focused planning group was involved along with more typical financial, student, and other groups as well as the Board of Trustees. Career orientation has always been part of the “campus DNA” and was viewed as a distinctive competency of the institution. Small groups reacted to the fifth draft of the strategic plan and participated in a formal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis at a combined faculty and staff meeting in January 2001. By April, the 2001-2006 Strategic Plan for VJC was finalized by the faculty and Board of Trustees. It included an approved mission, vision, and values list as well as the goals and objectives for an annual business plan. The plan remained in place for its five intended years.

In 2004, the diverse campus constituents began a four-year intensive evaluation about a name change for Villa Julie College as well as a decision to become a university. The historic decision to become Stevenson University, voted on by the Board of Trustees, was announced to all in June 2008. The initial 2001-2006 strategic plan was extended while the various name- change task teams and research took place. The revisions for the subsequently approved 2009-2014 strategic plan and annual business plans reflected the rebranding of the University and the corresponding strategies for academic affairs, student life, and University and financial resources. From “strategy to reality,” this publication is intended to convey the mission-driven themes and accomplishments that started with the new era of leading and learning.

students in front of dawson center

students packing bus with food

The College’s new themeline—Imagine Your Future. Design Your Career®.— went literally mobile in 2001 on a wrap for a Baltimore transit bus that circulated broadly. Students, faculty, and staff helped stuff the bus with food for the needy as part of the new themeline awareness.

student sitting round teacher

teacher overlooking student work


The University is an innovative, coeducational, independent institution offering undergraduate and graduate students a career-focused education marked by individualized attention, civility, and respect for difference. The University blends the liberal arts with career exploration and planning, complementing a traditional education with applied learning beyond the classroom. The University meets students where they are and supports and challenges them to become reflective and accomplished individuals committed to a lifetime of learning and contribution. Students graduate with the competence and confidence needed to address creatively the opportunities and problems facing their communities, the nation, and the world.


The University will become a national leader in collaborative, career-focused liberal arts education and will equip its graduates to visualize and achieve excellence in a dynamic global community.


The core values of the University provide a foundation for faculty, staff, and students to fulfill the mission and achieve the vision of the institution. The values are focused on community, learning, integrity, and excellence.

Promoting a sense of community, the University embraces the common bonds and obligations within and beyond the campus while respecting individual and cultural differences.

Fostering learning, the University promotes the pursuit of theoretical and practical knowledge while encouraging a life well lived—a lifelong philosophy of informed, critical thinking to meet evolving challenges and opportunities.

Instilling integrity, the University requires acting with dignity and honesty while adhering consistently to the University's ethical codes.

Achieving excellence, the University lauds superior performance while recognizing the importance of persistence toward goals.