The following announcement was shared with the Manhattan College community on Friday, March 4, 2022:
To the Manhattan College community,
From the beginning of my time here in the northwest Bronx in 2009, I have been blessed to work with many wonderful people—students, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni—who work so hard and faithfully to make the College the wonderful place that it is. As I say to incoming students and their families each year, Manhattan’s strength lies in the fact that we have great people with a great sense of purpose—a purpose that is firmly grounded in our Lasallian Catholic mission.
Over the last 13 years, my admiration for our mission and our people has grown into a deep affection for the College and its heritage, and I have been privileged to be a part of the growth and continuing flourishing of this strong, resilient institution.
So it is with mixed feelings, and after much reflection and prayer, that I have decided that this academic year will be my last as president of Manhattan College. This was not an easy decision, but I know that the time is right to pass the torch. The future is bright for Manhattan College, and I am confident that we will be in good hands with Brother Daniel Gardner, FSC at the helm while the search for a new president moves forward.
I am looking forward to a planned sabbatical beginning in July before eventually returning to the work of teaching and scholarship that first attracted me, as a college student, into the world of higher education. I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to lead this fine institution. I will always keep our community in my prayers and will continue to hold Manhattan College in a special place in my heart.
A message from the Chair of the Board of Trustees:
To the Manhattan College community,
Today marks an important change for Manhattan College.
President Brennan O’Donnell, Ph.D., has announced that he will begin a long-planned sabbatical in June 2022.
The Board has been in discussions with Brennan for a while regarding his desire to take a sabbatical prior to transitioning his role to President Emeritus and Professor of English. At the Board’s request, for reasons that benefited the college community, he agreed to postpone his plans. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank Brennan for doing so and for his 13 years of service to and leadership at Manhattan College.
Throughout his time as president, Manhattan College has consistently ranked high in academic-quality surveys such as US News and the Princeton Review, while distinguishing itself especially as a top college for return on investment and for supporting military veterans. He has spearheaded the building and opening of both the Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons in 2014 and the Patricia and Cornelius J. Higgins ‘62 Engineering and Science Center in 2021.
On his watch the College developed many new academic and student-support programs, including the reestablishment of the MBA program in the O’Malley School of Business, the Arches first-year living-and-learning community, and the Career Pathways program, which integrates academic support, advising, and career development programs. He provided leadership for the “Invest in the Vision” Capital Campaign, which has surpassed its $165 million goal years ahead of schedule. During his time as president, the College’s endowment grew from $40.4 million in 2009 to $148.2 million in 2021.
We are delighted to announce Brother Daniel Gardner, FSC has agreed to serve as Interim President as we conduct a national search for Dr. O’Donnell’s successor. Many of you are well acquainted with Br. Dan, who since 2016 has served at Manhattan College in the Office of Admissions and in Academic Affairs in the Center for Graduate School and Fellowship Advisement.
Those of us who know Br. Dan, know him as a passionate and engaged member of the Manhattan College family. In addition to being well-regarded and highly respected by members of our college community, his deep familiarity with the institution and our community will enable him to make the transition seamless for our students.
As we begin the search for a permanent president, the Board’s Executive Committee is committed to communicating with the College community regularly as the search process unfolds, and we look forward to assembling a representative selection committee.
Again, we are deeply grateful to Dr. O’Donnell for his years of service. Manhattan College continues to be widely recognized for excellence in providing an engaging and transformative educational experience, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, we look forward to an exciting future.
William N. Dooley ’75
Chair of the Board of Trustees