President's Perspective

Elliot Hirshman Named Stevenson’s Sixth President

In March, after a nationwide search that began last June with more than 200 potential candidates, Stevenson named Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D., as the University’s sixth president. Hirshman succeeds Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., Stevenson’s fourth president, who served from 2000-2016, and Claire E. Moore, who has served as Stevenson’s Interim President since December 2016.

Hirshman comes to Stevenson from San Diego State University (SDSU), where he has been president since 2011. Under his leadership, SDSU implemented an integrated budget and financial strategy; raised more than $755 million in private philanthropy for scholarships and new initiatives and programs; and established and endowed its Honors College. SDSU is recognized nationally for increasing student retention and graduation rates—rates that are equal across ethnic and racial groups. Hirshman is currently a member of the NCAA Board of Directors and former chairman of the Mountain West Conference Board.

After a unanimous recommendation from the search committee, the Board of Trustees believes that Hirshman is the right leader to continue the transformation and growth of Stevenson and to take the institution to the next level. “He is committed to ensuring that students from all backgrounds achieve excellence and go on to personal and professional success,” notes James B. Stradtner, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Hirshman says that he is honored to join Stevenson University’s dynamic community. “Stevenson’s unique integration of career preparation and the traditional liberal arts reflects the best traditions of American higher education while envisioning a future that serves our students and our communities,” he adds. “The University’s core values of community, learning, integrity, and excellence were evident in every aspect of the recruitment process. I am excited to work collaboratively with our diverse community to support these values.”

Prior to Hirshman’s appointment at SDSU, he served as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

“Elliot is one of the nation’s most impressive thought leaders in education,” said Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of UMBC. “He has broad experience in all types of institutions, and he commands the respect of leaders throughout the United States. Most important, he cares deeply about students and understands the role that institutions play in developing their skills and preparing them for productive careers. When he was at UMBC, he showed us just how talented he is. If I had to use one word to describe him, it would be ‘amazing.’ Baltimore is fortunate to have him returning to us, and we are very happy for Stevenson.”

Hirshman is happy to be returning to the Baltimore area. “I spent a decade in Baltimore and my wife and I are excited to be coming back. It’s a great place so I really can’t wait to move back.” Hirshman has been married to his wife, Jeri, for nearly 28 years. A registered nurse, Jeri says that she enjoys participating in local and national film festivals. Their daughter, Wendy, graduated from Muhlenberg College and is now married and living in Northern Virginia. Their son, Nathan, is a student at the Duke University School of Medicine.

Previously, Hirshman was the chief research officer at George Washington University and chaired the Department of Psychology there and at the University of Colorado at Denver. He began his academic career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hirshman earned his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in economics and mathematics from Yale and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from UCLA.

Moore says, “We are delighted and honored to welcome Dr. Elliot Hirshman and his family to our Stevenson community. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in academic leadership, fundraising, and student life initiatives. Having worked previously at UMBC and having lived in the area, he is returning to a town he obviously loves. Dr. Hirshman has dedicated his career to promoting higher education and is committed to the success of all students, and we look forward to working with him and sharing his energy.”