President Mantella's Biography

President Philomena V. Mantella

Philomena V. Mantella is one of higher education’s leading entrepreneurs. She is a recognized leader in strategic planning, market expansion, and innovation in the way education is delivered. Her innovative drive comes from more than 30 years in higher education administration. She has done path-breaking work while serving as an officer at public and private universities in New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Massachusetts.

She is the fifth president of Grand Valley State University, beginning her tenure July 1, 2019.

Mantella has a Ph.D. in college and university administration from Michigan State University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in social work from Syracuse University.

She spent the last 18 years at Northeastern University as senior vice president of Enrollment and Student Life and the chief executive officer of the Lifelong Learning Network.

Mantella is known as a change agent and has had an integral role in expanding global markets and lifelong learning efforts. She is a proven leader in innovation in digital learning and enrollment management.

Her comprehensive understanding of both sides of the educational market – learners and employers – has resulted in success for students and has increased the economic vitality of the markets served.

She is committed to ensuring institutional integrity and building consensus for the mission and the noble cause of education.

Her strong student-centered philosophy, coupled with her operational expertise and strong vision for the future of education, positions her perfectly to lead Grand Valley State University into its seventh decade.

Mantella has been married for 40 years to attorney Robert H. Avery and has three sons and four grandchildren.