- Alina Selby ’14
- Hometown: Finleyville, PA
- Major: Mechanical engineering
I’ve always been interested in how things work and how I can make things more efficient.
About Dr. Giese
Dr. Richard F. Giese serves as Mount Union's 11th president, a position he has held since 2005 when he and his wife Sandra returned to Mount Union and the Alliance community they called home for 19 years.
For eight years, Dr. Giese served as president of Monmouth College in Illinois. Prior to holding that post, he served as a faculty member and 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.
During his years at Monmouth, President Giese guided the college through enrollment growth of nearly 50 percent while increasing the academic profile and improving the financial stability of the institution. He also planned and implemented Monmouth's largest capital campaign in its history and led a major general education curriculum review. In addition, numerous building projects were completed, including a library, athletic center, chapel, new residence halls and an outdoor athletic park. Following a successful tenure, both Dr. and Mrs. Giese were awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Monmouth in 2005.
Dr. 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.
His first job in higher education was as a faculty member and basketball coach at Averett College in Danville, VA. In his second year at Averett (1978), he was selected as Coach of the Year in the Dixie Conference. In the summer of 1978, Giese came to Mount Union as a faculty member and head men's basketball and tennis coach.
Since returning to Mount Union, Dr. Giese has worked closely with faculty, staff and students to develop a plan for the future, featuring six strategic initiatives: develop a curriculum for the future, foster an engaging campus community, manage strategic enrollment growth, ensure the sustainable management of resources, enhance the diversity of our campus community and broaden the visibility and reputation of the institution.
Guided by these initiatives, Mount Union has experienced tremendous success. Growth in enrollment, the construction of state-of-the-art apartment-style residences for upperclassmen, the opening of the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex, completion of the Gartner Welcome Center and Engineering and Business Building (including the newly landscaped Academic Mall), the closing of a very successful capital campaign, new programs and civil and mechanical engineering and the launch of the Physician Assistant Studies program are just a few of the many accomplishments the Mount Union has celebrated since Dr. Giese's return to campus in 2005. In addition, the institution completed the transition from Mount Union College to the University of Mount Union name and is currently planning for two new academic buildings on campus – a health and medical sciences facility and an addition to the performing arts complex.
President Giese and his wife Sandra take advantage of countless opportunities to engage and support the students of the Mount Union community. From student events to music recitals, research presentations to special lectures, the Gieses make every effort to exemplify the University’s commitment to an educational experience that values the personal approach. In fact, they often open their home to students. At the start of each academic year, all incoming freshmen attend dinners at the house as part of their LS 100 class. In addition, organizational leaders, student athletes, members of the Greek community and other student body representatives are welcomed to their home for an array of events that celebrate their successes.
Dr. Giese’s commitment to the University of Mount Union is equaled by his dedication to leading within the Alliance and surrounding communities. He serves as vice president of the Alliance Economic Development Committee, member of the board of the United Way of Stark County and member of the Economic Development Committee of the Chamber of Commerce as well as a number of other community organizations. In addition, through a mutual agreement between himself and the Alliance Mayor Toni Middleton, the city and University have partnered to lead a community-wide sustainability movement.
Interest in the community is also shared by Sandra, a former elementary school principal in the Alliance City School system. A Mount Union graduate who also earned graduate degrees from both Kent State University and the University of Akron, she serves as vice president of the Alliance YMCA Board of Directors, a member of the boards of Rodman Library and The Alliance for Children and Family, a committee member of the adult career training assistance program (a subcommittee of the Greater Alliance Foundation) which provides financial assistance to adults for job training as a means of self improvement, and a member of Alliance’s “One Book One Community” group. Mrs. Giese was also appointed by the mayor to serve as representative on the Board of the Early Childhood Education Alliance. She has taught at both the University of Akron and Monmouth College.
The Gieses' son Matthew is an Alliance High School graduate who also shares his parents’ passion for community service. A physician who earned a bachelor's degree from Allegheny College and a medical degree from the Medical School of Toledo, he completed his residency in family practice at the University of Virginia. Today, he serves the Orange, VA community by assisting with medical needs in the area at a free clinic. He and his wife Bela, also a physician, live in Charlottsville, VA. They are the parents of two boys, Jack and Ben.