Kevin Manning

By Sherry Bithell

The fact that Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., was a visionary became clear as early as his inaugural address as Villa Julie College’s fourth president in 2000.

He said, “We see a world longing for love, children seeking protection, parents needing guidance, the sick wanting help, nations needing food. … There are many people who need the help that only higher education can provide. And maybe Villa Julie College and higher education can assist in making this journey more meaningful and more possible for all.”

During his 16 years president, from 2000 through 2016, Manning’s vision transformed Stevenson University substantially, more than fulfilling the theme for his inauguration: “A New Era for Leading in Learning.”

Under Manning’s leadership, Villa Julie College saw a change in name and status, becoming Stevenson University. Today, the University has seven Schools and the student enrollment has doubled since 2000. Recognizing the importance of career education, Manning’s administration made it a priority, introducing the concept of Career ArchitectureSM, unique among American universities. Today, Stevenson alumni report an average 92 percent job and/or graduate school placement rate for its students within six months of graduation. During his tenure, SU raised more than $10 million for scholarships, improving college access and affordability for thousands of students.

Some of the most visible signs of Manning’s impact on the University can be seen in its physical growth. Stevenson created a second campus in Owings Mills, transforming the University from a commuter school to a residential campus and Owings Mills into a “college town.” Additionally, in terms of property, the size of the University is more than double what it was in 2000 with a 500 percent growth of actual facility space. Today, the Kevin J. Manning Academic Center, which opened on Owings Mills North in fall 2016, is the University’s largest academic space at 200,000 square feet.

What Others Are Saying

“Kudos for your transformative leadership at Stevenson and for the strong and innovative leadership model you established for a MICUA presidency. That model has resonated in the Baltimore region and in Annapolis. Personally, I thank you for your generous collegiality ever since my arrival at MICA.” - Samuel Hoi, President, Maryland Institute College of Art

“You will be missed as a visionary by all and as a role model of composure and professionalism by those who have the honor to know you as a friend. ... Dr. Manning, such a mission seemed like a matter of course for you... But to us, it was extraordinary, and every meeting with you made us ask ourselves how we could also transform young lives for the better.” - Gilbert R. Trout, Director of Investment Real Estate, Trout Daniel & Associates LLC

As we look ahead, Manning’s tenure is well worth a look back. Watch From Strategy to Reality: The Presidency of Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D. below.

To read the full timeline of Stevenson’s history, go to