ALLENDALE — Trustees at Grand Valley State University today named Philomena Mantella as its next president.
Mantella succeeds Tom Haas, GVSU’s president since 2006 who plans to retire on June 30. Haas will continue at GVSU as a chemistry professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Mantella comes to GVSU from Northeastern University in Boston, where she serves as senior vice president and CEO of Lifelong Learning Network.
“Dr. Mantella is the right person at the right time to become the president of Grand Valley,” said John Kennedy, chairman of GVSU’s Presidential Search Advisory Committee.
“She’s a worthy successor to President Haas and his predecessors and exceeds the high expectations we established in this presidential search,” Kennedy said. “She is passionately committed to our liberal education model of small classes led by a very distinguished faculty. She has vast experienced across the wide arc of higher ed, especially in student life, enrollment management and program development, and knows how to navigate and succeed in a very competitive marketplace.”
GVSU trustees unanimously approved a five-year contract for Mantella starting July 1. She will receive a first-year salary of $480,000.
Mantella, who’s been with Northeastern University for 18 years, earned a Ph.D. in college and university administration from Michigan State University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in social work from Syracuse University. She’s the first woman appointed president in GVSU’s nearly 60-year history.
“I’m absolutely humbled and thrilled to be elected Grand Valley State University’s fifth president,” Mantella said following her appointment this morning by trustees.
“I want you to know that I’ve have fallen hard for this university, its incredible students, its talented faculty and staff, and this beautifully intertwined community,” she said. “Grand Valley State University has the triple threat. One, it fulfills its mission as a true economic development driver. Two, it shaped a high-quality community of learning for the 21st century. And three, it’s become a model for creating and accessing pathways to prosperity, all situated in a state whose star is on the rise.”