Stevenson University President Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., Announces Plan to Retire in 2017

March 10, 2016 7 AM

After serving for 16 years as President of Stevenson University, Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., has announced his plan to retire as of June 2017. His presidency coincides with the most rapid period of expansion for the University, which was originally founded as Villa Julie College in 1947. Manning is perhaps most well-known for guiding the college through its 2008 name change and its structural transformation that established it as Maryland’s third-largest independent university. During his tenure, the University’s enrollment has doubled to 4,200 students today, and the name Stevenson has become synonymous with career-focused education.

“It has been a real honor for me to serve the Stevenson community, including the board, cabinet, deans, faculty, and staff,” Manning said in a message sent to the campus Thursday, March 10. “However, it has been a special honor to see our students grow and evolve while at Stevenson for the past 16 years.”

Raised on Long Island, Manning, 71, is a graduate of Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and earned his master’s from Shippensburg University and his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from The Ohio State University. His career in higher education spans more than 40 years. Prior to Stevenson, he served as Vice President for Development and College Relations at Immaculata University in Pennsylvania, and held key administrative positions at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, and at Washington University in St. Louis.

When he was inaugurated as the fourth president of Villa Julie College in October 2000, the institution was at a crossroads—offering four-year degrees but no real undergraduate residential campus experience. Where some saw obstacles, he saw opportunities and began his tenure working with faculty and staff to institute a strategic planning process to guide the College’s growth and solidify its leadership in career education.

Expansion was key and under Manning’s leadership. Villa Julie broke ground in 2003 for construction of its residential campus in Owings Mills. The first residence halls opened in 2004, and the acquisition of the former Baltimore Colts and Ravens training facility in 2005 paved the way for a renewed focus on collegiate athletics. The Owings Mills campus is now home to residences for 2,000 students, a 35,000-square-foot gymnasium, 3,500-seat stadium, and the Howard S. Brown School of Business and Leadership. Seeing another opportunity to grow the institution, in 2011 Manning worked to acquire the former Shire Pharmaceuticals property adjacent to the Owings Mills campus to create Owings Mills North. Stevenson will open in summer 2016 a new 200,000-square-foot Academic Center for its Schools of the Sciences, Design, and Health Professions on the site.

In 2008, Manning took the boldest step for the one-time Catholic women’s junior college by guiding it through its name change to Stevenson University. The name-change process crystalized the long-term vision and brand for the institution. Through this transformation, Manning also established a new university administrative structure that now includes six undergraduate schools and the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.

“Kevin is a great leader and a visionary, and we cannot say enough good things about his work guiding the expansion of Stevenson,” said James Stradtner, Esq., CFA, Chair of Stevenson’s Board of Trustees and Senior Advisor for Century Equity Partners. “Institutions are institutions in perpetuity, but some people leave an indelible mark on a university that sets the course and shapes it for decades to come. Kevin has done that for Stevenson University.”

Manning was pivotal in the creation of Stevenson’s Career ArchitectureSM process that helps students discover their personal core values, align them with their major selection and career goals, and design a strategic plan for their futures. Concurrently, he also worked to raise the University’s stature by adding new academic programs; building an NCAA Division III athletic powerhouse with 27 NCAA Division III men’s and women’s sports; and overseeing the largest capital campaign in the institution’s history, which raised $20.4 million.

“I am very proud of all that we have accomplished together over the past 16 years,” Manning said. “The creation of Stevenson University has been an exciting journey, but one which could have not been made without the dedication of many individuals—our board, staff, faculty, and so many others. Each has had an essential role in building what this University has become. I am truly humbled by that fact.”