Elliot Hirshman, photo via Stevenson University

Stevenson University has found its new president in Elliot Hirshman, a former top administrator at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the current president of San Diego State University.

The Pikesville-based school announced today that Hirshman will take over as president in July. In a statement, he said he is “honored” to take the helm.

“Stevenson’s unique integration of career preparation and the traditional liberal arts reflects the best traditions of American higher education while envisioning a future that serves our students and our communities,” Hirshman said. “The University’s core values of community, learning, integrity, and excellence were evident in every aspect of the recruitment process. I am excited to work collaboratively with our diverse community to support these values.”

Stevenson’s board of trustees sifted through more than 200 candidates during a national search for a new president that began last summer. The goal was to replace longtime president Kevin Manning, who stepped down due to health issues in November, seven months earlier than planned. Vice president of student affairs Claire Moore took over as interim president for the rest of the academic year.

Manning led the university for 17 years. During that time, Stevenson changed its name from Villa Julie College, vastly increased its endowment, doubled its enrollment to nearly 4,200 students and opened seven new schools on its campus. Officials credited him with transforming Stevenson from a commuter school to residential university.

Kevin Manning, Courtesy Stevenson University

Board chair James B. Stradtner, who announced Manning’s early retirement roughly three months ago, said in a statement that the board unanimously recommended Hirshman for the job. “The Board of Trustees is confident that Dr. Hirshman is the right leader to continue the remarkable transformation and growth of Stevenson University and to take the institution to the next level,” he said.

As president of SDSU, a public university with an enrollment of 35,000, Hirshman helped raise more than $755 million in private donations for scholarships and other programs. He also established and endowed the school’s Honors College.

Before arriving in San Diego in 2011, Hirshman served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UMBC. The Catonsville university’s president, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, praised him in a statement as “one of the nation’s most impressive thought leaders in education” and said “Baltimore is fortunate to have him returning to us.”

Hirshman also previously served as chief research officer for George Washington University in D.C., and was chair of the psychology departments at both GWU and the University of Colorado at Denver. He has a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a master’s degree and Ph.D in cognitive psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...