President Giese to Step Down in 2015

January 27, 2014

ALLIANCE, Ohio – During this weekend’s Board of Trustees retreat, Dr. Richard F. Giese announced that he will step down as president of the University of Mount Union at the close of his current contract on June 30, 2015.

Giese has served at the helm of the University since 2005, when he and his wife Sandra returned to the Alliance community they had called home for years. He has dedicated nearly 30 years to the institution, first as a faculty member and in increasingly responsible administrative positions, including vice president for enrollment services and vice president for institutional advancement. He was president at Monmouth College in Illinois prior to returning to Mount Union to serve as its 11th president.

“I feel blessed to be a part of a University that has been bold, aggressive and successful – a place where exceptional truly begins,” said Giese. “The team that I have worked with, including the faculty, staff and Board of Trustees, has been absolutely outstanding. Much has been accomplished, but much still needs to be done. And Mount Union will always continue to improve and change, as it has for the past 168 years.”

Since returning to the University, the Gieses have worked collectively with the members of the Mount Union community to accomplish a number of goals under six strategic initiatives 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 19 new undergraduate programs in high-demand fields including environmental science, criminal justice, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and nursing
  • The development and launch of two graduate programs – the first on campus in nearly a century – 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, including a new dining commons, recreation center, apartment-style housing villages and welcome center in addition to current construction underway on a new health and medical sciences building and performing arts complex
  • 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 record-breaking freshman classes in 2007, 2008 and 2012 and record full-time enrollment in 2010
  • 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
  • 59 years of balanced financial operations
  • Three of the most successful fundraising years to date in 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013
  • A diverse student population of 17% including 13% American minority and 4% international, surpassing an initial goal of 15%
  • The change of the institution’s designation from “college” to “university”
  • A #1 ranking in the Great Lakes Region for return on investment by
  • A high graduate success rate with 98% of 2012 graduates self reporting that they had secured degree-required careers or graduate school placement, all in an average of 20 days after graduation

The successes accomplished during the Gieses’ 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. Sandra is the past vice president of the Alliance YMCA Board of Directors, a member of the boards of Rodman Library and the Alliance for Children and Families, a committee member of the adult career training assistance program (a subcommittee of the Greater Alliance Foundation) and a member of Alliance’s “One Book One Community” group. She was also appointed by the mayor to serve as a representative on the Board of the Early Childhood Education Alliance.

“The work that has been accomplished under the Gieses’ leadership is truly commendable, and over the course of the past eight years, the University and Alliance communities have been fortunate to benefit from their vision, wisdom and experience,” said Randy Hunt ’75, chair of the Board of Trustees. “As the end of his current contract neared, my successor Allen Green ’77 and I approached Dr. Giese about extending his tenure beyond the terms of our current agreement with the hopes that he would agree. However, he and Sandra are ready to embark on the next chapter of their lives and enjoy time with their family – who can argue with that?”

“One of the most valuable services a president can render to an institution is to choose the right time to step aside,” said Giese. “After much deliberation, Sandy and I are convinced that June of 2015 is that right time. As we begin to anticipate the next phase of our journey, we will keep our noses to the grindstone as we work collectively with the entire Mount Union community throughout the course of the next year and a half. There is still much to be accomplished, and we are looking forward to doing so.”

Throughout the course of the next 17 months, Mount Union willwork diligently on the current strategic plan, Advancing Excellence, which is scheduled to close in December 2015. Concurrently, the Board of Trustees will undertake a search for the 12th president of Mount Union after identifying the characteristics needed in the next leader and forming a search committee that will be chaired by Green.

“Sandy and I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity at Mount Union, and we will always cherish our many years here,” Giese added. “Mount Union has been our home and has enriched our lives. But, it is time for another chapter for both the University and for us. Upon completing our tenure at Mount Union, we plan to relocate to Virginia, where our son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren reside. Sandy and I are fortunate to have experienced good health, and in 2015, I will reach retirement age. We both feel young and healthy and are looking forward to re-imagining our lives and spending quality time with one another and our family. Mount Union, however, will forever be a part of our lives.”





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