New president known as innovator


With the rising cost of education and an uncertain job market, universities are under pressure to demonstrate their value. Those are tough issues, but UIndy’s incoming president, Robert L. Manuel, is prepared to address them head on. In fact, he says, “The most exciting part of accepting this position is that I think UIndy is poised to lead the conversation about relevance—and I think we can do so on the national stage. The way in which education has evolved here offers evidence of the impact that higher education has on students and can serve as a national model of excellence.”

After an extensive national search, the Board of Trustees tapped Manuel to succeed Beverley Pitts; he will become the University’s ninth president in July. Pitts and Board Chair Robert Wingerter introduced him to the campus community during a special program April 18.

Manuel, associate provost and dean of the School of Continuing Studies at Georgetown, has gained international recognition during his 20 years in higher education for developing and implementing innovative academic programming in graduate, undergraduate, online, and customized education. Since arriving at Georgetown in January 2006 to lead the School of Continuing Studies, Manuel has reorganized and rebranded the school—streamlining operations, creating new degree and certificate programs, and increasing enrollments in all programs by more than 200 percent.

He also created the Georgetown Global Education Institute for leaders from around the world, offering customized education in areas of innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, urban planning, and fiscal policy. The Institute has raised more than $6 million in corporate sponsorships. Continuing Studies is one of eight degree-granting entities at Georgetown. It enrolls roughly 6,300 students, employs 350 faculty and 85 administrative staff, and generates more than $40 million in revenue annually.

Manuel’s emphasis on connecting the academic environment with corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations has been a driving force behind the school’s growth and success and makes him an especially good fit for his new institution of 5,400 students. UIndy has been entrepreneurial in forging strategic alliances that address needs in the public and private sectors.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College, Manuel earned both a master’s (Syracuse University) and a doctorate (New York University) in higher education administration. At NYU, Manuel served as vice president for Enrollment Services and also held the positions of chief information officer, assistant dean, and clinical associate professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. He and his wife, Wilmara, moved with their three young daughters to Washington, D.C., in 2006 when he was named dean of the School of Continuing Studies at Georgetown.

During his UIndy introduction in April, Manuel said, “I am impressed by the creativity in your educational programs, your willingness to work together and connect the disciplines, your dedication to the student-faculty bond, and your involvement in the economic development of Indianapolis.

“I pledge to you: any progress we make over the next years will be connected to the core of our community—to the mission that has animated the work of UIndy for more than a century. We will honor the place that service has in our collective experience and continue to produce knowledge and students that advance the work in Indianapolis, the state, our country, and the world.”