President Mantella's Biography

President Philomena V. Mantella

President Philomena V. Mantella

President Mantella is the first woman and the fifth president to lead Grand Valley State University, the fourth largest university in Michigan. She has an impressive 30-year career in higher education marked with success propelling universities forward into new markets, expanded relationships, and countless new program innovations. She has improved student outcomes and market position at each university she has served. She is currently leading Grand Valley State University through the challenges of our time, most notably the global pandemic, with an eye on the future, relevance and growth amid disruption. In the last two years, she has expanded the university’s offerings and potential learners with programs aimed at non-traditional and underrepresented students. She developed a national alliance to raise underserved student voices, improved pathways to graduation, and brought student insights forward in institutional transformation. Collaborating across sectors, she embraces the role of education in shaping lives and communities. Mantella is committed to leading with integrity and keeping an unrelenting focus on empowering talented faculty and staff to accelerate GVSU’s trajectory and success.

Mantella has worked at public and private institutions in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Michigan. At each institution, she has developed strategy, working across academic and service domains to drive growth initiatives that include: developing new formats of education, digital delivery and mutually beneficial partnerships. At Northeastern University, she shaped and executed the strategy to move from a single place-based university to a global university system, opening the first seven regional campuses worldwide. She earned a Ph.D. in college and university administration from Michigan State University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Syracuse University.


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Page last modified December 6, 2023