Cimitile: University provost says time for a change

Board of Trustees with Maria Cimitile.
Provost Maria Cimitile, fifth from right, is pictured with GVSU Board of Trustees.
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson

President Philomena V. Mantella informed the campus community today that Provost and Executive Vice President Maria Cimitile has decided to step down from the position she has held for the last four years and chart a new course for her future at Grand Valley. Mantella, in a message to faculty and staff, said she shares the news with mixed emotions, saying Cimitile fulfilled a critical role at a unique time of transition, transformation and in unchartered territory with a global pandemic. 

“The transitions and challenges didn’t shake Maria’s resolve to make Grand Valley the best we can be,” Mantella said. “All of us – the faculty, staff, students and trustees – are in her debt. On a personal note, I want to thank Maria for her wise counsel, her candor and her endless availability as I prepared for my arrival at Grand Valley and in the months, now years, that followed. I could not have been better served.”

Mantella noted just some of Cimitile’s many accomplishments as provost: the recent 10-year reaccreditation of Grand Valley by the Higher Learning Commission, the expansion of the university’s health professions solidifying GVSU’s place as the state’s largest provider of allied health professionals, her dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion and how her commitment to students permeates throughout the university’s curriculum and programs.

Provost Maria Cimitile and President Philomena V. Mantella.
President Philomena V. Mantella congratulates Provost Maria Cimitile for her years of service.
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson

Cimitile told university leadership and the Board of Trustees at its June 25 meeting that she wants to take time to decide what to do for the last quarter of her career, reminding them she arrived as a faculty member in 1999 and then held administrative positions for nearly 17 years, the last four as provost.

“My goal as provost has always been to provide the highest quality education to our students, rivaling any higher education institution in the country,” said Cimitile. “The talent of our faculty and staff never ceases to make me proud to call them colleagues as I witness their dedication and commitment to our students. My hope is that my leadership has engrained a culture of reverence for the transformative power of education and led faculty and staff to embrace the impact we have to make a difference in our students lives and the world.”

Provost Maria Cimitile.
Provost Maria Cimitile.
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson
President Mantella hugs Maria Cimitile.
President Philomena V. Mantella hugs Provost Maria Cimitile.
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson

Mantella named Senior Associate Vice President Chris Plouff as the interim provost, beginning with the new academic year, and said the university will hire a search firm to aid in the selection of a permanent replacement for Cimitile. Mantella appointed Professor Felix Ngassa, professor of chemistry and chair of the University Academic Senate and Professor Paul Stansbie, acting dean of the College of Community and Public Service, as co-chairs of the search committee.

Read President Mantella’s full campus message.