Dr. Michael Geisler became Manhattanville College’s 13th president in October 2016. With Dr. Geisler's visionary leadership, the College looks to affirm Manhattanville as an institution of new ideas and a hub of intellectual conversation.
“It is an honor to join an institution with a proven commitment to building community through education, and to acquiring wisdom through social and political engagement,” Dr. Geisler said at his inauguration address. “Our cities, our nations, and indeed the world, are in urgent need of the bedrock values and civil courage exemplified by former Manhattanville President Mother Grace Cowardin Dammann, RSCJ. In her prophetic 1938 address, ‘Principles vs. Prejudice,’ she articulated a powerful call for a pragmatic ethic that distinguishes the College to this day. I see this distinctive legacy as both an obligation and an opportunity for Manhattanville to reaffirm its position of leadership during the next decade.”
Before coming to Manhattanville, Dr. Geisler served as vice president for Risk and Compliance, professor of German, and former vice president for the Language Schools and Schools Abroad at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont.
Dr. Geisler received the German Abitur, the Staatsexamen (equivalent to the M.A.) in English and German from the University of Mannheim, and a Ph.D. in German literature from the University of Pittsburgh. During his more than 20-year career at Middlebury, he held a number of significant leadership roles devoted to strengthening, integrating, and expanding Middlebury’s brand, programs, and enrollment, here and abroad. Most recently, he was responsible for college-wide planning, management, and oversight for risk management and compliance matters.
During his time as vice president for Language Schools, Schools Abroad, and Graduate Programs, Dr. Geisler also served as the C.V. Starr Professor in Linguistics and Languages. He is credited with establishing two new Language Schools in Hebrew and Korean, graduate programs in Arabic, Chinese, and Hebrew, and 22 new sites for Middlebury’s C.V. Starr Schools abroad. Under his leadership, the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, led by director and award-winning poet Michael Collier, launched two major new writers’ conferences, one focusing on environmental writing and one on translation, in addition to a site abroad in Erice, Sicily. Geisler is also responsible for the successful launch of a very different summer immersion program, Middlebury’s School of the Environment.
Before Middlebury, Dr. Geisler taught at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was born in Mannheim, in what was then West Germany. His wife of 25 years is Alice Leo, who works at Porter Hospital in Middlebury and is president of its nurses’ union. Their daughter, Julia Larissa Geisler, graduated from college in May 2016 after studying advertising and integrated marketing communications in New York City.