Robert Manuel named ninth UIndy president

Robert Manuel

After an extensive national search, Georgetown University Associate Provost and Dean Robert L. Manuel has been selected to serve as the ninth president of the University of Indianapolis, effective in July. He will succeed Beverley J. Pitts, who is retiring after seven years at the helm of the 5,500-student private university four miles south of downtown.

In announcing the selection, Board of Trustees Chair Robert Wingerter said, “I’m very excited that Rob has accepted our offer. He is extremely intelligent and reflective. He has a very clear vision for higher education and he has the ability to turn vision into action. He will be transformational for UIndy.”

Trustee Deborah J. Daniels, who chaired the search committee, described Manuel as “student-focused while understanding the importance of reaching out to external constituencies. He has a vision for helping us move forward in a very entrepreneurial way.”

Manuel has gained international recognition during his 20 years in higher education for his development and implementation of innovative academic programming in graduate, undergraduate, online and customized education, both at Georgetown and, prior to that, at New York University.  Since arriving at Georgetown in January 2006 as dean of the School of Continuing Studies, he 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, non-profit 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. UIndy has been very successful in forging alliances that advance its mission while addressing needs within the public and private sector.

In his other capacity as associate provost at Georgetown, Manuel works with the leadership of the university’s Center for Social Justice, Research and Teaching; Diversity Action Council; and the senior vice president for research/chief technical officer. He is a member of the Main Campus Planning Committee, the Dean’s Council and the University Campaign Council.

Manuel sits on the editorial advisory board for the Continuing Higher Education Review. He is the 2012-13 chair of the national conference for the University Professional & Continuing Education Association, and was just appointed to a two-year term on the UPCEA national advisory board.

Before arriving at Georgetown, Manuel served in the office of the Vice President for Enrollment Services at NYU, and also held the positions of chief information officer, assistant dean and clinical associate professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

“UIndy has grown remarkably in academic quality, programs, enrollments and impact under the leadership of Beverley Pitts and her predecessors,” Manuel said. “I am honored to join the UIndy community, and excited to work with the faculty, students and staff to address the challenges of our day. In the face of shrinking job markets and rising costs, higher education today is under intense pressure to define its relevance. Because of the groundwork that has already been laid, I believe UIndy is well positioned to lead the higher education community as we demonstrate our value to the larger society.”

Manuel received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Allegheny College, a master’s degree in higher education administration from Syracuse University, and a doctorate in higher education administration from NYU. He and his wife, Wilmara, have three daughters, Sophia, 11; Alexandra, 8; and Margaux, 5.