President of Manhattanville College

“Welcome back! As you are all settling in for a new academic year, or your rst academic year, I would like to chat with you a little bit – about community.

At Manhattanville, we seem to have lots of communities, but not necessarily one overarching community. When I started out as your president, a little more than a year ago, that is one of the first concerns I heard from the student representatives I met with. They said they loved their professors, they loved the people in their circle of friends, but they had no idea what it meant to be “A Valiant.” To be sure, our very successful Athletics teams know what it means to be a Valiant, and I am proud of the code of ethics our coaches have instilled in their students, both on and off the field.

But we seem to be less certain of our identity when it comes to Manhattanville as a whole. We have tribes, but we have no nation. When I go to Benziger Cafeteria I see athletes sitting with athletes, international students sitting with other international students (and then separated by world regions!), Musical Theater students sitting with Musical Theater students, and so on…

If you stick with your tribe, you are missing a lot of what makes a liberal arts experience so unique – the constant exposure to people who think differently, come from very different backgrounds with often radically different life experiences, who play different games, have different approaches to solving problems, and yes, subscribe to different political or religious agendas and beliefs!

So I want you to make an effort participate in one of our 40+ clubs, associations and interest groups! Go and attend one of our Valiants games (they will be grateful for your support!). If you have not signed up already, consider participating in one of the Duchesne Center’s volunteer opportunities. Join one of our weekend trips or activities sponsored by Residential Life. Check out our new Center for Inclusion in Founders Gallery and talk to the Director, Sarah Napoli!

But beyond that, I want you to share your thoughts and ideas with The Touchstone on what it is that makes a Valiant, and what we, as a community, could or should do beyond our existing efforts and activities to create a “Manhattanville Nation.” Let’s start a conversation!”

– Michael E. Geisler, Ph.D.