NORTH MANCHESTER – Life has come full circle for Dave McFadden and will soon become a little less hectic for Jo Young Switzer.
McFadden, 55, the executive vice president of Manchester University and dean of its School of Pharmacy will become the university's president July 1, succeeding the retiring Switzer, 65.
"I am excited beyond measure," McFadden said Saturday. "I am deeply rooted in terms of family, the university and the community. This is a culmination of those connections."
McFadden's roots at the university run deep.
During his elementary years, his family lived in Indonesia where his father served as a medical missionary for the Church of the Brethren, which founded the school more than 124 years ago.
McFadden's parents and grandparents attended Manchester. He became the third generation of Manchester grads when in 1982 he earned a degree in political science, peace studies and economics.
"My grandfather put himself through school by giving haircuts in the residency hall and by teaching penmanship," he said.
McFadden met his wife, Renee, on campus. Their two children are also Manchester graduates.
McFadden's roots even run as far as the new campus coffee shop, Wilbur's. McFadden's father is the namesake of the spacious new café and 24-hour study lounge on the main floor of the library.
Before earning a doctorate in political science at Claremont Graduate University in California, McFadden worked for two years at the Church of the Brethren headquarters in Elgin, Ill., where he was a recruiter for international volunteer staff.
He and his family moved back in 1993 to Indiana, where he had decided he would find a job within "driving distance of North Manchester."
A position at the university opened up at the same time, and McFadden became dean of enrollment and led Manchester's enrollment initiatives, which led to the role of executive vice president. He has also served as an assistant professor of political science, with an interest in environmental policy.
McFadden spearheaded the university's School of Pharmacy in Fort Wayne, which opened in 2011.
"Jo and I took turns convincing others it was a good idea," he said of the school. The duo started exploring the idea in 2005, formulated a strategic plan in 2007 and in 2009 took it to the board of trustees for a vote.
"I gave probably the most impassioned speech I've ever given," Switzer said. "When they voted yes, I thought, 'oh, my goodness, I hope this works.'"
Not only did it work, but it has provided new opportunities for the university that would have never happened otherwise, McFadden said.
Those opportunities include the addition of new programs in sciences and leadership and management within the next few years, he said.
Switzer, who has presided over the university for the past nine years, will retire June 30.
A Manchester graduate who majored in education, Switzer served as professor of communication studies, associate professor and chair of the department of communication and vice president and dean for academic affairs before becoming president.
Switzer is most proud of helping Manchester switch gears nine years ago when it was simply "maintaining," she said.
Under Switzer's direction and leadership, faculty was encouraged to become more creative and proactive, leaving no stone unturned when it came to finding new opportunities.
"It was all hands on deck and a getting out of the way approach," Switzer said.
The faculty became invested and helped with everything from marketing to enrollment, she said.
The results included a 25 percent increase in enrollment; an award of $35 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. for the Doctor of Pharmacy program; more than $89 million raised toward the $100 million Students First! campaign; and a $17 million Science Center, $8 million Union, $9 million Academic Center and $1.5 million classroom and locker room addition.
Manchester has attracted national recognition for its volunteer programs, workplace quality, three-year degree and affordability and through Switzer's Presidential Leadership Council, continues to collaborate with 40 area leaders in initiatives to strengthen northeast Indiana.
It's been hectic, Switzer said. And when she does retire next summer, she isn't planning to plan anything – at least for a while.
"In the beginning, I just want my life not to be as hectic," she said.
She has no doubts she's leaving the university in capable hands.
"Dave will do a fabulous job," Switzer said of McFadden. "He is a very strategic thinker who knows Manchester and is a natural leader."
The board of trustees agrees.
McFadden's skills, mindset and leadership positioned him very well as a candidate for the position, said Marsha Link, chair of the trustees.
"We were very pleased and excited when we realized Dave had the qualifications and eagerness we were looking for," Link said. "We're confident he will take what Jo has established and keep the momentum going."