McDaniel College President Roger N. Casey announces retirement
McDaniel College President Roger N. Casey has announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2020–2021 academic year in June 2021. One of the longest-serving college presidents in the State of Maryland, President Casey took office as McDaniel College’s ninth president in July 2010 and oversees McDaniel’s campus in Westminster, Md., as well as the college’s European campus in Budapest, Hungary.
McDaniel College President Roger N. Casey has announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2020–2021 academic year in June 2021.
One of the longest-serving college presidents in the State of Maryland, Casey took office as McDaniel College’s ninth president in July 2010 and oversees McDaniel’s campus in Westminster, Md., as well as the college’s European campus in Budapest, Hungary.
In an announcement sent to the McDaniel community, President Casey said: “Many considerations, both personal and professional, went into this decision for me… but as I reflect on my tenure as president of McDaniel over the last decade, I am constantly reminded of what drew me here in the first place: the people and the community.”
He added, “I have particularly been reminded of this over the past six months as I have watched our campus community come together in extraordinary ways. The strength of the bonds within this community, despite the current pandemic, despite social distancing, let me know I can step down without worries for our future. We are McDaniel strong.”
Throughout his 10 years as president of McDaniel College, Casey has supported the college’s commitment to access and affordability, with McDaniel awarding over $40 million in grants and scholarships annually, while raising McDaniel’s national prominence. In particular, McDaniel has been lauded for its efforts to recruit, enroll and graduate high-need students and has been ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, Money Magazine and The Princeton Review, among others.
Under his leadership, McDaniel has enrolled record-breaking first-year classes and broke the 1,800 mark in undergraduate enrollment for the first time in the institution’s history this fall. Through partnerships with community-based organizations, including the CollegeBound Foundation in Baltimore, McDaniel has also increased its diversity on campus with nearly 50% of the current incoming class identified as students of color.
New scholarships have been developed, including the legacy scholarships valued at $100,000 over four years for children of educators, military personnel, and alumni, as well as the Dorsey Scholars Program from the largest bequest for scholarships in the college’s history. The highest academic honor at McDaniel, the Dorsey scholarships include full tuition, room and board for all four years.
During his time, McDaniel has also launched the Center for Experience and Opportunity as a one-stop shop for career, internship, volunteer and other experiential-learning opportunities, Global Initiatives and Global Fellows, and the McDaniel Commitment, which guarantees that every student, guided by a team of mentors, can construct and tailor their personal educational path. The college has also introduced new majors and programs of study in Actuarial Science, Applied Mathematics, American Sign Language, Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Criminal Justice, Engineering, Health Sciences, International Business, Marketing, and Writing and Publishing, in addition to graduate programs in Data Analytics, Disability Support Services, Equity and Excellence in Education, Gifted and Talented Education Specialist, Public Administration and Policy, and Writing for Children and Young Adults.
Additionally, he has overseen construction and major renovations, including Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, and the McTeer-Zepp Plaza, named for the late Ira Zepp '52, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, and Victor McTeer '69, one of the college’s first Black graduates, as well as Hoover Library, new Kinesiology labs and classrooms in Gill Center, and the Roj Student Center, which will be fully completed in October.
President Casey has taken on roles as a national and regional higher education leader and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and on the American Council on Education (ACE) board of directors. He also chairs the Centennial Athletic Conference, where he serves as the lead presidential representative for the 11 Centennial Conference institutions. He is the immediate past-chair for the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA) and served on the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) steering committee to assess the future of independent colleges. He was named a 2019 Influential Marylander by The Daily Record.
“I want to thank Roger for his vision and leadership over the past decade that he has served as president of McDaniel,” said McDaniel College Board Chair Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Otto J. Guenther '63. “I do not think that there could have been a more well-suited president to lead this institution during what has been a challenging time for higher education, particularly for similarly sized four-year, liberal arts colleges.”
The McDaniel College Board of Trustees has already begun to form a transition committee chaired by Bruce H. Preston '75, member of the board since 1995. This committee, comprised of trustees, will develop the plan for a presidential search and will work closely with McDaniel faculty, staff, students and alumni.
Announcement from the President
Dear Members of the McDaniel Community,
I write today to share with you the news that I have decided to retire as McDaniel College’s ninth president at the end of the 2020–2021 academic year in June 2021. I informed the Executive Compensation Committee of the Board about my plans earlier this month and informed the entire Board of Trustees this morning.
A decision like this is never made lightly, especially given the challenges COVID-19 presents to all colleges and universities. Many considerations, both personal and professional, went into this decision for me. As an only child with aging parents, I am reminded continually in this pandemic of the fragility and temporality of life. I believe now is a time in my life to focus on my own family, but as I reflect on my tenure as president of McDaniel over the last decade, I am constantly reminded of what drew me here in the first place: the people and the community.
Each year at our first-year convocation, I share: “A college is not a place, it’s not buildings, it’s not curriculum. A college is people. And you are those people. You are McDaniel College.” I have particularly been reminded of this over the past six months as I have watched our campus community come together in extraordinary ways. The strength of the bonds within this community, despite the current pandemic, despite social distancing, let me know I can step down without worries for our future. We are McDaniel strong.
There is never a good time for this type of an announcement, yet while bittersweet, I recognize that sharing this news now allows our Board of Trustees to take the necessary steps to execute the journey to identify the college’s next president. Please know that the Board and I are in complete agreement that continuity of leadership is of primary importance during this time, and I am committed to being fully engaged until a new president takes office.
It has truly been an honor to serve as president of McDaniel, and I am grateful for the extraordinary efforts of our entire campus community and the leadership of our Board of Trustees and my senior team throughout my presidency. As a first-generation college graduate, I have higher education to thank for changing my life. Serving as your president to help students access that same type of life-changing experience at McDaniel has resulted in the most gratifying years of my career. As this role comes to an end, I look forward to a sabbatical and then possibly returning in the future to the greatest love of my professional life, the classroom and students — perhaps even to teach at our Budapest campus.
Nevertheless, there remains much to be done this year at McDaniel. My focus right now is on continuing to serve in my role as president over these next eight months. I will support the transition to a new president in any way that I can, and I am genuinely excited by the possibilities that lie ahead for McDaniel. We will climb higher. We will see farther.
I am always McDaniel,
President Roger Casey
Letter from Board of Trustees Chair
Dear McDaniel Community,
On behalf of the McDaniel College Board of Trustees, I want to take this opportunity to communicate with you regarding President Casey’s plan to retire at the end of this academic year in June 2021.
First, I want to thank Roger for his vision and leadership over the past decade that he has served as president of McDaniel. I do not think that there could have been a more well-suited president to lead this institution during what has been a challenging time for higher education, particularly for similarly sized four-year, liberal arts colleges.
Under Roger’s leadership, we have recruited and enrolled the largest incoming and most racially diverse classes in the history of the college and broke the 1,800 mark in total undergraduate enrollment this fall. We have also seen the college achieve increasingly national prominence and just last week, McDaniel was again named #1 “Best Value” for the second consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report.
Roger’s leadership has undoubtedly benefited the college; during his tenure, we have expanded our endowment and have beautified our campus as a result of successful fundraising completed under his leadership. Campus improvements include the new central fountain and courtyard named for beloved professor Ira Zepp '52 and our first Black alumnus, Victor McTeer '69, the Roj Student Center, the new Kinesiology facility, the Gill Stadium, and renovations to Hoover Library and numerous other facilities—over $30 million in construction coming from over $110 million dollars raised, including the largest scholarship gift in the college’s history to fund the Dorsey Scholars Program. We also introduced innovative new legacy scholarship programs for children of educators, military families, and our own alumni.
Thanks to Roger and other members of our community, we have launched a dozen new majors and programs of study, And, we’ve made the McDaniel Plan the key value component in our educational message, strengthening it with the elements of the McDaniel Commitment and the centrality of the Center for Experience and Opportunity to augment the transformational classroom work of an extraordinarily talented and compassionate faculty. We have also bolstered our relationship with Westminster through McDaniel Local, McDaniel and Main, and our relationship with the Boys and Girls Club.
Roger has also been instrumental in raising McDaniel’s visibility, particularly through his work with national higher-education groups, including chairing the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and serving the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and American Council on Education (ACE), as well as regionally here in Maryland by serving as president of the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA). A champion for Division III athletics, he has also led the Centennial Athletic Conference. In 2019, he was named an Influential Marylander.
In short, while many institutions are struggling to meet the demands of the moment, McDaniel has celebrated amazing successes, in no small part due to Roger’s leadership.
And while I could say more about Roger’s tenure at McDaniel, I want to focus on what this announcement means for the college and share more about the Board’s immediate plans. As stated in his announcement, Roger will continue to be fully engaged until our new president is ready to begin, which will allow for a thoughtful and smooth presidential transition.
The Board of Trustees has already begun to take the necessary steps to form a transition committee. Alumnus Bruce H. Preston '75, a member of the McDaniel Board of Trustees since 1995, has been chosen to chair this committee. The transition committee, comprised of Trustees, will develop the plan for a presidential search and will work closely with our community, including faculty, staff, students and alumni, to begin to identify what we are looking for in our next president. Additional information about the structure of the transition committee will be forthcoming.
I want to reassure you that the highest priority for me and for the Board is to ensure McDaniel’s next leader is equipped to carry out our distinctive educational mission and build upon the accomplishments of the past decade. We are committed to providing regular communication throughout this process to keep you informed.
Finally, please join the Board and me in thanking Roger for his commitment to McDaniel College. We look forward to working alongside you as we begin the process of a presidential transition to ensure the next era of progress for McDaniel College.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Otto J. Guenther '63