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At the Fall 2013 meeting, the Board of Trustees announced that significant leadership transition is on the horizon for Manchester University.

“It is with deep respect and admiration that the Board has accepted the retirement of President Jo Young Switzer, effective June 30, 2014,” said Marsha Palmer ’68 Link, chair of the Board of Trustees.

There’s more Big News: Acting on its succession plan, the Board unanimously named Dave McFadden ’82, executive vice president and dean of the College of Pharmacy, to the presidency, effective July 1, 2014.

For all that has been –
For all that will be –

– Dag Hammarskold

As its first female president, Jo Young’69 Switzer has championed her alma mater to critical successes and exciting community collaborations, said Link. “President Switzer has led Manchester at a pace and with a strategic focus unprecedented in the history of Manchester. She has led from within and has also risen to great respect across higher education as a dynamic and thoughtful leader.”

Among the transformations at Manchester during the past 9½ years of the Switzer leadership cabinet:

  • 25 percent enrollment increase
  • Four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy program on a new campus in Fort Wayne with $35 million in seed funds from Lilly Endowment Inc.
  • More than $90 million raised so far toward the $100 million Students First! campaign
  • $17 million Science Center, $8 million Union, $9 million Academic Center, $1.5 million PERC classroom and locker room addition – all on a greener North Manchester campus
  • Transition from college to university, reflecting the growing complexity of the 125-year-old institution
  • Enhanced visibility, including national recognition for MU’s volunteer programs, workplace quality, three-year degree and affordable excellence
  • Collaboration in initiatives to strengthen northeast Indiana

“During her presidency, Jo has been bold, courageous and always steadfast to the Mission of Manchester University,” said Link. “Her outstanding ability to communicate effectively to a diverse group of stakeholders has created not only greater visibility for the University, but has expanded the impact of the institution in the northeast Indiana community and across higher education.”

When members of the Board of Trustees selected Switzer in 2004, they knew her well for her academic leadership and communication skills. She was Manchester’s vice president and dean for academic affairs and former chair of the Department of Communication Studies. She stepped comfortably into the president’s role, stressing stewardship and accountability.

In anticipation of her retirement, the Board of Trustees last spring appointed a Succession Planning Committee of Trustees, faculty and staff, modeling best practices in higher education for succession planning.

Vocation is that place to which you are called where your deep joy meets the world's great need.
– Frederick Buechner (paraphrased)

A member of the president’s leadership cabinet, McFadden is executive vice president and dean of the College of Pharmacy. He has deep roots in Manchester University and the Church of the Brethren, which founded Manchester 125 years ago.

“Dave is ready, respected and deeply connected and committed to Manchester,” said Link. “He has led Manchester’s bold enrollment initiatives and his due diligence was instrumental in the Board’s decision to add a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy program on a Fort Wayne campus.

“He brings to this presidency a keen understanding of both Manchester’s past, as well as proven experience in bringing innovative and visionary ideas to the University’s future. The variety of his experiences at MU, along with his high energy and dedication to MU’s Mission, will provide continued great leadership that will sustain our thriving university.”

As executive vice president and MU’s former enrollment expert, McFadden spearheaded the Fast Forward three-year degree and Triple Guarantee programs that are enhancing Manchester’s enrollment and national profile. “Dave has helped people see that Manchester has always been a place of affordable excellence,” President Switzer said.

McFadden coordinated the feasibility study that led to the Board of Trustees’ decision to establish a Pharmacy program on a Fort Wayne campus. He became dean of the College of Pharmacy in May 2012, continuing as MU’s executive vice president.

A peace studies, economics and political science major at Manchester, McFadden earned a Ph.D. in political science at Claremont Graduate University. He led Manchester’s enrollment initiatives beginning in 1993, also serving as an assistant professor of political science, with particular interest in environmental policy.

McFadden also is a member of the Board of Trustees of Bethany Theological Seminary. He is a former chair of the boards of the Community Foundation of Wabash County, Manchester Main Street Inc., HOPE community-supported agricultural organization and Manchester Church of the Brethren. He has served as an enrollment management and accreditation consultant to other colleges and universities and as a visiting evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission.


MU NOW, a special supplement to Manchester magazine
President Switzer to retire; Trustees name Dave McFadden as successor

Realizing the Dream
"My experiences at Manchester have shown me what I want to do with my life."

The Spartan Stretch
PERC addition brings "higher level of learning."

Affordable Excellence
"It's a place where you can be yourself."

When you wish upon a star...
wonderful things happen!

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