Dr. Richard F. Giese Granted President Emeritus Status

May 08, 2015

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday to grant president emeritus status to Dr. Richard F. Giese. Giese has served as the 11th president of the institution since 2005 and will be stepping down at the close of his contract on June 30, 2015.

The resolution presented to Giese at the May meeting of the Board of Trustees notes his sustained exemplary service to the University and Stark County community and recognizes his outstanding contributions to the education of young men and women throughout the United States. The board also recognized Giese’s service on numerous boards and committees of educators.

The resolution states: “The Board of Trustees of the University of Mount Union, by resolution of its membership, desires to express its deep appreciation to Dr. Giese for his many exceptional contributions, both personally and professionally, to the University of Mount Union.”

Prior to returning to Mount Union, Giese served as president of Monmouth College in Illinois for eight years, but his first job in higher education was as a faculty member and basketball coach at Averett College in Danville, Virginia. In the summer of 1978, Giese came to Mount Union as a faculty member and head men's basketball and tennis coach. He then served in increasingly responsible administrative positions for Mount Union, including vice president for enrollment services and vice president for advancement. He was part of Mount Union's administrative leadership team at a time when Mount Union experienced unprecedented growth in enrollment and endowment.

Giese earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College in 1971. He holds three advanced degrees including a Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary in Exile (Seminex), a Master of Arts degree from Washington University and a doctoral degree from Kent State University. He also attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Seminar for New Presidents.

Since returning to the University, Giese has worked collectively with the members of the Mount Union community to accomplish a number of goals under six strategic initiatives of Advancing Excellence – A Strategic Plan for the University of Mount Union that include developing a curriculum for the future, fostering an engaging campus community, managing strategic enrollment growth, ensuring the sustainable management of resources, enhancing the diversity of the campus community and broadening the visibility and reputation of the institution. Some of the key highlights include:

  • The addition of 22 new undergraduate programs in high-demand fields
  • The development and launch of two graduate programs – physician assistant studies and educational leadership
  • The announcement of the potential addition of a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program pending the appropriate approvals
  • The development and launch of a new general education model – the Integrative Core – and the change from a three-credit to four-credit hour system
  • A $100 million investment in campus over the course of the past decade, including a 40% growth in facility square footage
  • An enhanced partnership with the City of Alliance through service-learning and community service initiatives, programs that bring students and business leaders together, workshops held on campus, work with local school districts and partnerships with the city government and Chamber of Commerce
  • The maintenance of enrollment in an extremely challenging economic environment, including this fall’s 10-year high in total student full-time enrollment of 2,263 with an overall fourth all-time best freshman class of 694
  • The closing of the Drive for Distinction Campaign with $82 million raised a year ahead of schedule and a $25 million campaign for the health and medical science building and performing arts center projects
  • 60 years of balanced financial operations
  • Four of the most successful fundraising years to date
  • A diverse student population of 16%
  • The change of the institution’s designation from “college” to “university”
  • A high graduate success rate with 99% of self-reporting 2014 graduates having secured degree-required employment or graduate school placement, all in an average of 38 days after graduation
  • The establishment of the Investment Alliance Scholarship, a pilot program which offers full-tuition awards to the top 15 students in each Alliance High School graduating class

The recent successes accomplished during Dr. Giese’s time on campus are equally matched by their extensive involvement in the Alliance community. He is the past president of the Alliance Economic Development Committee and a member of the Economic Development Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and Stark Development Board. In addition, he and his wife, Sandra, are members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

In recognition of their strong and impactful commitment to the community, the Gieses were named Citizens of the Year in 2014 by the City of Alliance. In addition, they were honored for their contributions to the University this past January when the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the institution’s new performing arts center in their honor.

The Gieses plan to relocate to Charlottesville, Virginia where their son Matthew, daughter-in-law, Bela, and grandsons, Jack and Ben, reside.

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