Dr. Philomena (Philly) V. Mantella is the fifth president of Grand Valley State University (GVSU). She oversees Michigan’s third-largest public university, with more than 22,000 students, 3,000 faculty and staff across three campuses, and six regional centers.
Since taking over in 2019 as the university’s first female president, Dr. Mantella has expanded the university’s offerings and potential learners with programs aimed at non-traditional and underrepresented students. This led to GVSU welcoming their largest and most diverse incoming class ever in the fall of 2023 and an overall increase in enrollment at a time when higher education faces consistent challenges and steep demographic declines.
Dr. Mantella’s commitment to growth and disruption is at the core of her work to redefine what higher education is for the public good. She is focused on education’s fitness for the future, equipping graduates with the competencies and mindset to succeed in the dynamic knowledge economy. This includes the creation of a number of unprecedented partnerships with the business community, the development of a national alliance to give underrepresented student voices a say in their education and the breaking down of barriers to increase access to higher education for adult learners.
Before joining GVSU, Dr. Mantella worked at public and private institutions in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Michigan. She earned a Ph.D. in college and university administration from Michigan State University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Syracuse University.