"Manchester University students learn more than facts while they study here. They learn about theories they never heard of before. They make friends with students from around the world. Nearly half of them decide to study abroad for a January session, a semester, or a year. They learn not just from faculty members, but also from music conductors, coaches, resident hall assistants, and friends. Manchester is the perfect place to ask good questions and grapple with complicated issues."
Jo Young Switzer became president of Manchester on Dec. 1, 2004, after 11 years as vice president and dean for academic affairs. Dr. Switzer's commitment to Manchester University stretches back to her undergraduate studies here for her 1969 bachelor's degree in English.
With a Ph.D. and M.A. in communication studies from the University of Kansas, the northeast Indiana native led the communication studies program at Manchester and taught at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).
Strategic, mission-focused entrepreneurship is a benchmark of President Switzer’s leadership. A professional four-year Doctor of Pharmacy program is is entering its second year on a newly constructed Fort Wayne campus. Also during her presidency, enrollment has increased 23 percent, and the school has launched master’s degrees in athletic training and education. Also, in 2005 Manchester concluded a $70 million fundraising campaign one year early and 37 percent over goal and already has raised more than 88.6 percent toward the current, $100 million campaign, Students First!
President Switzer is former board chair of Independent Colleges of Indiana. She is a member of the President’s Council of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Indiana Commission on College Completion, Regional Opportunities Council, and the Northeast Indiana Fund Board. She also is a member of the board of directors of BCA Study Abroad. She also served on the board of the Council of Independent Colleges.
Dr. Switzer is the co-author of Interviewing: Art and Skill (Allyn & Bacon, 1995), two instructors' manuals, and numerous articles and book chapters on communication and on the university presidency. In addition to academic presentations related to teaching, applied communication, gender, and higher education, she has made scores of presentations about higher education to general audiences.
She received the Outstanding New Teacher Award from the Central States Communication Association and the F.A.C.E.T. Award from Indiana University. Her most cherished award, however, is from an organization for disabled students at IPFW. She was an honored nominee for the 2013 Athena Award of the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce for professional excellence, service to the community and helping women attain professional and leadership success.
Dr. Switzer and her husband Dave Switzer, a professor of communication studies at Manchester, have studied Tuscan cooking in Italy and enjoy sharing their cuisine with MU students and friends. The Switzers have three grown children, all graduates of liberal arts colleges, and two grandchildren.