Philly Fast Facts: Meet President Philomena Mantella

Posted on July 12, 2019
Written by Leah Erben

President Philomena Mantella

It is time. Time to usher in a new era, one filled not with sadness for what has passed but, one filled instead with hope. Hope for the future. Hope for what is yet to come. Hope that someone can take this University to the next level. Today we give that hope a name: Dr. Philomena Mantella, Fifth President of Grand Valley State University. But who is President Philly really and what does she have to offer GVSU? To get to know her better, check out these Philly fast facts!

Family and Personal Life

  • Originally from upstate New York and moved to Michigan in the mid-1980s 
  • Married for 40 years to attorney Robert H. Avery

  • Has 3 sons and 4 grandchildren. 

  • Mantella’s 91-year old mother has moved with her to West Michigan.

President Mantella meeting with student senators.


  • Obtained a Bachelor’s and Master's degree in social work at Syracuse University.

  • She has a Ph.D. in college and university administration from Michigan State University

President Philomena Mantella with a group of students wearing matching "Philly" shirts.


  • 1985-1989: worked at Ferris State University as Assistant Dean for Enrollment Services and Director of Scholarship and Financial Aid
  • 1989-1992: at State University of New York College of Optometry as Vice President of Student Affairs.

  • 1992-1995: was the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey

  • 1995-2000: Executive Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Life at Pace University in New York City

  • 2001-2016: Senior Vice President and CEO of the Northeastern University’s Global Network in Boston

  • 2016-2019: took on the role of Senior Vice President and CEO of Northeastern University’s Lifelong Learning Network.

Mantella is the fifth president of Grand Valley State University and our first ever female president. Her impressive qualifications and extensive experience allow Lakers to rest easy; we’re in good hands! To find out more about our beloved President Philly, check out President Mantella's webpage.

Page last modified October 18, 2021