In the News

Parker Marden, 13th president of Manchester University, dies

Parker MardenEmail sent to the Manchester University on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, by President Dave McFadden:


It is with great sadness that I share news of the death of Parker Marden, the 13th president of Manchester University. He was 77. 

Please keep Parker’s wife, Ann, and their children, Jon and KerriAnn, in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days. As many of you know, the Mardens lived in Topsham, Maine, since Parker’s retirement from Manchester. He had been in failing health for some time.

Parker led Manchester from 1994 to 2004 and left the University a stronger place.  On Parker’s watch, Manchester increased diversity among students and faculty. He elevated our national profile and raised our international consciousness. He led the institution through most of “The Next Step” comprehensive campaign, which strengthened the endowment, made significant capital improvements to campus and expanded the donor base.

During a 31,000-mile national tour, Parker met with 10 percent of Manchester’s living alumni. He liked to tell them why he was proud of Manchester and that they should be too. No longer, he would say, should we hide Manchester’s light under a bushel. 

Parker was a wonderful writer and communicator, who brought people together in common purpose. He was a true believer in and articulate advocate for the value of a liberal arts education. Above all, he loved Manchester students and embraced his role as their champion. In turn, he was known to many students as “Papa Parker.”

A native of Worcester, Mass., Parker graduated from Bates College in Maine and went on to earn his master’s and Ph.D. from Brown University. He taught sociology at Cornell University, Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., and St. Lawrence University. He came to Manchester from Beloit College, where he served as vice president for academic affairs and dean. 

Funeral arrangements are pending.


Dave McFadden

Cards and letters may be sent to:

Ann Marden
23 Flicker Drive
Topsham, ME 04086