Antioch College is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Thomas “Tom” Manley as president-elect of the historic, start-up college in Southwest Ohio. Manley will begin his presidency in March 2016. Antioch’s current president, Mark Roosevelt, will step down on December 31, 2015, after completing his five-year contract. Andi Adkins, Antioch’s vice president for finance and operations, will serve as interim president. Manley will be the second president of the re-created Antioch College; a formal inauguration event will be held on Antioch’s campus in Fall 2016.
Manley brings to Antioch more than 35 years of experience helping individuals and organizations unleash their intellectual and creative powers through education. President of Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) since 2003, he is credited for a turnaround that cemented PNCA’s position as Portland’s most well-rounded, diverse and most established arts institution. Among his milestones at PNCA are a successful brick-and-mortar expansion and cultivation of the largest gift to an arts organization in Oregon’s history.
Manley said his regard for Antioch’s historic role in advancing American higher education and his belief in its current vision and strategy led him to submit his candidacy for the presidency.
“Reading the search description I was impressed again and again with the boldness of what was being imagined. Here was a vision for transformational education that was value-based and pragmatic, intellectually demanding and experientially grounded. How could I not raise my hand to join in its success?”
Before becoming president of PNCA in July 2003, Manley spent 22 years in southern California at the Claremont Colleges—mainly at Pitzer College, a small liberal arts college that emphasizes social justice and social responsibility—where he held a variety of administrative posts and served as a member of the faculty. He was instrumental in developing Pitzer’s nationally prominent study abroad program, including sites in China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Turkey, Venezuela, Wales and South Africa.
A specialist on Japan, Manley served as a scholar-in-residence at a women’s college outside of Osaka and later helped to write the curriculum for an American-style liberal arts college—the first of its kind to be accredited by the Japanese Ministry of Education. He has written and presented on a variety of subjects related to international, intercultural and language education. He has also developed a number of cross-cultural and language learning innovations, including a highly praised portfolio journal system known as the “Fieldbook.”
A 21-member search committee composed of trustees, staff, administrators, faculty, students, and alumni selected Manley from a pool of more than 200 qualified candidates. Presidential Search Committee Chair Malte von Matthiessen called the search a “remarkable journey” and complimented the professional and collaborative spirit of the committee members.
“I am thrilled—but not surprised—that we were able to attract Dr. Tom Manley as our next president,” said von Matthiessen. “He is compatible with Antioch College values and traditions, and I am convinced he is the right person to lead Antioch into a new era.”
Chair of the Antioch College Board of Trustees Frances Horowitz believes Manley will build on Roosevelt’s impressive legacy, further securing Antioch’s place as a national leader in applied liberal arts education.
“Tom comes to us as an experienced leader who has a record of being thoughtful, constructive, creative, innovative, and successful,” she said. “The Board of Trustees looks forward to working with him to foster the continued growth of Antioch, to expand our sources of revenue, to pursue the idea of the Antioch College Village [an exploratory multigenerational housing project on campus], and to explore the feasibility of other entrepreneurial opportunities.”
Manley believes that very few colleges and universities are undertaking the fundamental work necessary to innovate the new business and educational models that will be required moving forward.
“But Antioch, in seeking to reset both its own approach and to influence the larger higher education landscape, is a bright line exception,” he said. “The College’s start-up mentality, focus on entrepreneurial solutions, and willingness to problem solve ecosystem level questions are instinctively correct.”
He called the College’s path “distinctive and brave”—and one which requires special skills and leadership.
“American higher education—which has long been a beacon in the world—must seek its reinvention and I am among those who believe Antioch is doing just that. By embracing entrepreneurial opportunities and innovative strategies in its own redesign, the College is stepping forward to lead once again.”
Manley is a native of Baltimore, Md., where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in East Asian History and Education from Towson University. He earned a Master’s degree in Asian Studies and a Doctorate in Education from the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif. He has a long history of board and volunteer service to organizations such as the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), Ford Family Foundation’s visual arts initiative, National Endowment of the Arts Education Leadership Initiative, and the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities.
A student of poetry and a lover of food, Manley is married to Susanne Hashim and they have a young daughter named Chedin. Tom also has a son, Dashiell; a stepdaughter, Karina; and a stepson, Johan.
“While there have been better resourced colleges, certainly, none that I know of has been braver and more steadfast overtime in delivering a liberal arts education aimed so squarely at making a difference in the world,” said Manley.
“In my view, nothing is more imperative than the success of Antioch College at this time, and I am deeply honored to be selected as the College's new president. The determined work of alumni, trustees, faculty, staff, students and President Mark Roosevelt and his dedicated senior team has been nothing less than inspirational since the decision to reopen. I am very much looking forward to contributing to this ongoing effort."