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Summer 2017 | Ventures

Summer 2017 | Ventures

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Elliot Hirshman

Stevenson is happy to welcome its seventh president, Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D., who started on July 3, 2017.

By Sherry Bithell

Hirshman joins the University after serving as president of San Diego State University (SDSU) since 2011. Under President Hirshman’s leadership, SDSU implemented an integrated budget and financial strategy; raised more than $800 million in private philanthropy for scholarships and new initiatives and programs; and established and endowed its Honors College.

However, this will not be Hirshman’s first time in Baltimore. Prior to his tenure at SDSU, Hirshman served as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Previously, Hirshman was chief research officer at the George Washington University and chaired the Department of Psychology there and at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Hirshman and his wife, Jeri, have been married for nearly 28 years. Jeri is a registered nurse who 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.

To help introduce Hirshman to the broader Stevenson community—alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends—Ventures magazine reached out to learn more about him, his vision, and ways the University will benefit from his extensive higher education experience.

Q&A With Dr. Hirshman, Ph.D.

Hirshman Headshot

Ventures (V): You’re coming from serving as president at a research institution with an enrollment of 33,000-plus students and previously, you were the provost at UMBC, a public university with just under 14,000 students. Stevenson is a more traditional liberal arts institution with an enrollment of 4,100 students. What perspectives do you anticipate bringing to your new role here?

Elliot Hirshman (EH): Let me share two. First is that I focus on all aspects of student development, from personal to professional. If we focus on what Stevenson has to offer each of our students, we can help them achieve their greatest aspirations. Second, I embrace Stevenson’s spirit of collaboration. Everyone at the University helps students excel. All members of the community come together to support students’ holistic development.

V: How do you define a liberal arts education?

EH: I see a liberal arts education as a wonderful opportunity to help students prepare for their lives. Not just their careers, although that is important, but it also helps them develop habits of mind, in terms of written and oral communications, as well as quantitative and qualitative reasoning. When we help our students develop these abilities, we are educating students who will not only contribute to the economy through successful careers but will also help their communities as thought and change leaders.

V: What do you think makes Stevenson distinctive from similar liberal arts institutions?

EH: There’s no question that Stevenson has taken the right approach by integrating a classical liberal arts education with career preparation. The University prepares students for today’s economy while supporting the best traditions of American higher education. This is what students and their families look for when it comes to being prepared for the modern and emerging global workforce.

V: What do you anticipate your first steps will be as you begin your presidency?

EH: The first and most important thing is for me to listen broadly and learn about the campus and the aspirations and goals of the community. Of course, there are always issues that require immediate attention, and I will work collaboratively with members of the community to address these issues.

V: Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of UMBC, commented that you care deeply about students. What are some ways in which Stevenson students will see this firsthand?

EH: Freeman is very gracious to say this and I appreciate it! Students will see a lot of me. I enjoy having lunch with students, hearing their perspectives, and attending athletic and cultural events on campus. Also, I have deep respect for students and I always try to be direct with them in addressing their questions and concerns about campus issues.

V: How do you feel about returning to the Baltimore area?

EH: I’m excited. It is, of course, an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and friends. There’s a saying, “No person ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and they are not the same person.” I fully believe this, so I’m excited about new opportunities given changes since I’ve been here.

V: What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you?

EH: In some regards, the ubiquity offered by the internet makes it hard for there to be many surprises. One, however, is that my wife and I are supporters of animals in that we think of them as family members. People will see that I’m very interested in animal welfare. Another thing that people might not know is that I was a student-athlete in high school. I played defensive back for the football team and ran track, so I understand some of the challenges our student-athletes face.

V: What’s the last book you’ve read?

EH: Sol Price: Retail Revolutionary and Social Innovator. Price was the person who came up with the concept of big box stores such as Sam’s Club and Costco. For example, back in the early ‘50s, he was looking at retail stores and thought, what would happen if we only sold 200 products in a grocery store and sold them in bulk? These simple ideas had enormous implications, providing opportunities for much broader distribution of high-quality product. It’s a great example of how a simple set of ideas can change an organization and affect people’s lives.

V: Are there any final comments to the SU community as you begin your tenure as president?

EH: When I was interviewing, Stevenson’s heritage of community, its tradition as a caring community, was very attractive to me. There is so much great work happening here—the integration of career preparation with liberal arts, cultural and artistic events, athletics—that I want to nurture and support. I see Stevenson as a wonderful, diverse community, one where people are friendly, supportive, and really care about each other. I look forward to joining the community.

For more information on President Hirshman's professional, academic, and personal background, click here

Alumni Awards

Left to right: Mike Mandish ’92 ’93, Amanda “Mimi” Tinkler ’09, and Dawn Mackenzie-Stefanik ’86 ’95

Distinguished Alumni Award

This award honors alumni who demonstrate the Stevenson tradition of excellence through personal accomplishment, professional achievement, and humanitarian service.

Dawn Mackenzie-Stefanik ’86 ’95

Dawn Mackenzie-StefanikAfter earning her associate’s degree in medical technology in 1986, Dawn Mackenzie-Stefanik returned to Villa Julie College to obtain her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1995. Mackenzie-Stefanik completed an internship at Union Memorial Hospital and is now the Nurse Manager at the Infusion Therapy Center at GBMC. Considered an expert in patient care, she has been invited to speak at several national and international conferences. She has had the opportunity to present at events in Cyprus, Jordan, and Myanmar.

Mackenzie-Stefanik has presented before Congress and staffers on Capitol Hill regarding the state of health care and the challenges associated with access to care. Last year, she was one of the oncology nurses invited to participate in the Cancer Moonshot Summit by the office of former Vice President Joe Biden. She has also been a part of several national advisory panels for pharmaceutical companies.

It is Mackenzie-Stefanik’s hope that Stevenson will continue to prepare graduates for any challenge that comes their way. She feels that it is critical for students to graduate with the confidence they need to excel in their future endeavors and to have a sense of purpose and commitment that extends beyond their immediate job.

Alumni Loyalty Award

This award is presented to alumni who continually demonstrate loyalty and commitment to the Stevenson University community by devoting their time and talent to enhance the overall success of the University.

Mike Mandish ’92 ’93

Mike MandishDuring his student experience, Mike Mandish appreciated that the majority of his classes were taught by working professionals, so he and his classmates were exposed to many real world scenarios that could be applied in a professional setting. He began his career as a paralegal, with a focus on estates and trusts. Later on, he was able to transition to the accounting field. Mandish is currently a CPA in public accounting at Gorfine, Schiller, & Gardyn.

His loyalty to his alma mater is unwavering. A member of both the Nick Mueller Society, recognizing leadership donors, and the Great Oaks Society, recognizing legacy donors, Mandish has made Stevenson a philanthropic priority over the years. He served on the Stevenson University Alumni Association Board for twelve years. Mandish acted as Alumni Association Board President and then as a liaison to the Board of Trustees. He guided and managed modifications and revisions to the Alumni Association Board Constitution and Bylaws, which led to an increase in membership and an expansion of alumni programming. Mandish helped to launch Stevenson’s first Homecoming weekend as well as several other annual alumni events.

He remains active in the Stevenson community, supporting alumni initiatives and attending events. He strongly believes that with its firm foundation, Stevenson will continue to successfully educate students who can keep up with the current demands of the business world.

Young Alumni Award

This award recognizes graduates from the past ten years who have achieved success while remaining engaged with the University.

Amanda “Mimi” Tinkler ’09

Amanda TinklerAs a business communication student, Tinkler was very involved in the campus community. She recalls the camaraderie with classmates and her own personal development to have been just as much a part of her college experience as earning credits toward her degree. Stevenson prepared her well for the workforce, equipping her not just with the applicable technical skills to succeed, but also with strong interpersonal, analytical, and critical thinking skills, vital to her daily work.

For more than six years, Tinkler has been working in development at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. Starting out as a manager of donor relations, she quickly advanced her career and is currently the Director of Development. The youngest director within the organization, Tinkler manages a team that has raised more than $22 million to support critical health care programs and services that directly impact our community.

Understanding the importance and impact of giving back, Tinkler has demonstrated strong support of Stevenson since graduating in 2009. Her wish for her alma mater is that the University continues to grow while staying true to its core identity. In her eyes, what makes Stevenson so special is the individualized attention given to its students. She hopes that the University will continue to provide outstanding educational opportunities, guided by its founding principles.

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