Manhattanville College President Announces Retirement
Manhattanville College’s 13th president, Michael E. Geisler, Ph.D., who ushered the school into a new era and guided it successfully through the pandemic, has announced that he will retire effective June 30.
Louise Feroe, Ph.D., former Acting President and former Interim Provost, will serve as Interim President as the college conducts a national search for Geisler’s replacement beginning this summer.
“Dr. Geisler brought and instilled a vision to merge the traditional strengths of a liberal arts curriculum with the modern requirements of training a humane workforce for tomorrow’s market,” said Michael C. Dunn, an alumnus and Chair-elect of the Manhattanville College Board of Trustees, speaking on behalf of the Board. “Far more than an administrator, Dr. Geisler immersed himself in the culture and mission of Manhattanville, deeply appreciating our more than 175 years as an institution of higher education. He has been an essential part of Manhattanville’s history, and his contributions will be felt for generations to come.”
As a tribute to Geisler’s tenure, the Board of Trustees announced that it would rename the school’s Center for Design Thinking, one of Geisler’s signature accomplishments, in his honor. They are also granting him President Emeritus status at the college.
Since his arrival in 2016, Geisler, who was unanimously chosen by the school’s Board of Trustees, has moved Manhattanville College toward a more modern version of a Liberal Arts School, blending the values and the tradition of a well-rounded Liberal Arts education with professional education and other career-oriented programs. Under his leadership, the school established a new School of Nursing and Health Sciences in 2020 and created partnerships including one with the New York Institute of Finance in 2021, which will attract new students and revenue.
Under Geisler’s leadership, Manhattanville has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the number one private, non-profit school in the Regional Universities North category for Top Performers of Social Mobility and has earned a designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education which has allowed it to recruit more Latinx students and seek federal funding to support them.
One of Geisler’s signature accomplishments was the creation of the school’s Center for Design Thinking. The center has helped to attract new students and is a nexus between Manhattanville’s Liberal Arts tradition and a new way to use critical thinking skills more compatible with the modern era. Students at the college can now earn a certificate in design thinking, making them more marketable to employers.
Geisler’s leadership was critical throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to keep the school open and operating, shifting to a hybrid model and later reopening and maintaining one of the lowest infection rates among colleges in the state. During this time, Manhattanville also refinanced its capital bonds at lower rates and devised a strong financial plan for the future.
Geisler is retiring to spend time with his family and travel. He said he was honored to have served as president and was proud to be leaving Manhattanville in such a good place.
“Our incoming class this fall will show the largest year-over-year increase in a single year in decades,” said Geisler. “We are up more than 50% in first-year/full-time students for this fall and more than 40% up in transfer students. For the first time in years, we will very likely end up with more than 400 new students this fall. Graduate admissions are also showing early signs of being up substantially for this fall.”
“It has been a great privilege to lead this college, even through the pandemic, and leaving Manhattanville with an unprecedented enrollment growth gives me confidence that I have done the job I was hired to do six years ago,” Geisler said. “Manhattanville will always have a special place in my memories.”