Manuel inaugurated as ninth president



Photo: Robert Wingerter, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, and Board member (and chair of the presidential search committee) Deborah Daniels bestow the presidential medallion on Manuel at his investiture.

The University of Indianapolis celebrated a milestone on March 21, 2013, with the inauguration of Robert L. Manuel, its ninth president in its 111 years. The afternoon investiture ceremony took place in Nicoson Hall before an audience of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members; Manuel’s predecessors, Gene E. Sease, G. Benjamin Lantz Jr., Jerry Israel, and Beverley Pitts; and current and emeritus trustees, including longtime Senator Richard G. Lugar and four-term Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut.

In his inaugural address, Manuel noted that higher education has contiually been beset by new demands and waves of change, but that UIndy has always taken such pressures as opportunities to adapt and grow. He noted that although the University must be willing to rethink its structures and methods, as it has in the Vision 2030 strategic planning process (pages 8–11), the institution will continue to be guided by its traditions and founding values. And he renewed UIndy’s commitment to community involvement and its motto, “Education for Service.”

“We must broaden our thinking to include the notion that our campus is an anchor for the community, not an island in the middle of it,” Manuel said. “The moment is at hand to define our value to the world. . . . The only failure we have to worry about at this moment is one of the imagination.”

For the full text of the president’s speech, visit

A festive week

Inauguration-Pep-Rally-70The milestone was celebrated with a full week of events. Highlights included a UIndy Day at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis followed by another family-friendly event the next day: a “Carnival of Books” for the University community and neighborhood families. The day after the inauguration ceremony, alumni, students, faculty, and staff enjoyed UIndy Night with the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which included a private postgame reception on the Pacers’ practice court. And Manuel, whose birthday was March 24, was presented with a birthday cake, courtesy of the Pacers.

The big day

Inauguration-Pep-Rally-115But the week was focused on the events of Thursday, March 21. In keeping with the UIndy motto, the day began with a number of service projects on behalf of the Pink Ribbon Connection, Disabled American Veterans Transportation Services, the Julian Center, and a local elementary school. A worship service took place at the University Heights United Methodist Church, featuring a sermon by Bishop Michael Coyner of the Indiana Conference of Family-Night-102the United Methodist Church. UIndy is United Methodist-affiliated and has enjoyed a long relationship with the University Heights church family. The centerpiece of the day was the investiture ceremony, which included delegates representing other colleges and universities as well as members of the faculty, alumni and student representatives, and invited civic leaders.

About the president

Robert L. Manuel came to the University of Indianapolis in July 2012 from Georgetown University in Maryland, where he was associate provost and dean of the School of
Continuing Studies. As a higher education administrator, first at New York University and then at Georgetown, he was recognized for the development and implementation of innovative programming—including graduate, undergraduate, online, and customized educational programs. In six years at Georgetown, Manuel revamped its only part-time bachelor’s degree program, launched nine new master’s degree programs, and increased enrollments in all programs by more than 200 percent. His emphasis on connecting the academic environment with corporate, nonprofit, and governmental organizations was the driving force behind the school’s success.

As dean of Continuing Studies, Manuel was responsible for the overall management of the school, including all academic programs, the creation and maintenance of faculty and student cultures, administrative and financial oversight, new program creation, and industry/government engagement. One of eight degree-granting entities at Georgetown, the school enrolls more than 6,000 students across three locations—two in Washington, D.C., and another in Clarendon, Virginia. As Georgetown’s associate provost, Manuel was responsible for working with the leadership of the Center for Social Justice, Research and Teaching, the Diversity Action Council, the Veteran’s Affairs initiative, and the Senior Vice President for Research/Chief Technical Officer.

Manuel earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Allegheny College, a master’s in higher education administration from Syracuse University, and a doctorate in higher education administration from New York University.