In a personal letter to the Antiochian Community on August 4, 2020, President Tom Manley announced his plans to retire next year. Board of Trustees Chair Maureen Lynch shared a letter with the community as well. Read both letters below.
August 4, 2020
Dear Antioch Community Members,
I am writing to let you know of my plan to retire as Antioch’s president at the end of June 2021, when my current contract with the College is complete.
The Board of Trustees was informed of my thinking and intention earlier this spring, with the goal of providing as much advance notice as possible. Under the circumstances, the Board and I agreed that it would be best to delay formal announcement of my decision until we had gained greater clarity on budget actions, COVID-19 impacts and the strategic focus required to ensure the success of Antioch College Works.
Many considerations, both personal and professional, entered into my decision-making. I want to assure you, however, that none of these reflected a lack of confidence in, or commitment to, Antioch’s future, which I regard as vital and bright. For while the College has faced and still faces many daunting challenges since gaining independence over a decade ago, it is because of the unwavering efforts of so many that it today stands more resolute and prepared than ever to work for its students and win victories for humanity.
And, now more than ever, students and the world need an Antioch College. That is a conviction the Board and I continue to embrace fully, especially with respect to the dynamic and timely vision embodied in Antioch College Works (ACW) and the institution’s bedrock legacy as committed to social justice. The resounding response to the College’s offers of admissions for this fall—exceeding last year by 100%—and $2 million in donor support for that program are clearly reflective of the distinctive scholarship, study, work (Co-op) and activism opportunities provided by the Antioch College Works program.
In setting the agenda for my final year, the Board and I have given absolute priority to activities and initiatives that will secure attention, resources and key partnerships for ACW on a national/global scale. To make that possible, I am truly grateful to the Board and its leadership for stepping into certain senior finance and management roles for which my and the College’s bandwidth would otherwise be limited. You may recall the news in May with respect to Trustees John Jacobs ’76 (finance) and Sharen Neuhardt (operations). They have graciously agreed to continue in those non-salaried roles for the next year, as senior vice presidents, and I look forward to working with them, and with all of you, to achieve our shared aspirations for the College.
Without question, these times are highly uncertain and difficult, perhaps more so than any we faced or can remember. Yet these are precisely the times, to paraphrase James Baldwin, that must be faced, if the change we want and need is to occur.
Finally, I wish to thank all of you for supporting Antioch College and the principles it represents through the work you do so well. I look forward to supporting that important work over the next year as Antioch president and then in whatever capacity I may in the years that follow.
August 4, 2020
Dear Antioch Community,
Earlier this spring, President Tom Manley notified the Board of his intention to retire from Antioch College at the end of the 2021 academic year. Our campus was very shortly caught up in managing the urgent challenges presented by COVID-19, which delayed our sharing this important news with you until now.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank Tom for his vision and dedication over nearly four and a half years. His efforts, together with those of a very talented team of senior administrators, faculty and staff, have brought Antioch forward during a crucial period for the College and a very challenging time for higher education generally. With Tom’s guidance, Antioch has thus far successfully navigated a time of unprecedented disruption—a time when there are fewer college-age students, questions about the value of a college education, and financial pressures which have led schools less resilient than ours to close.
Thanks to Tom and many others in the Antioch community, the College’s unique educational strengths have been framed in dynamic ways that affirm the College’s values around student agency (own your education), learning experientially (Co-op and Antioch College Works), and our determination to act for justice. We have claimed educational space as a College of Action. We know that an Antioch College education works, and the increased enrollment projected for this fall is evidence that students and families believe in what we have to offer.
Tom’s accomplishments at Antioch also include the final push to accreditation; initiating and leading an innovative process to hone our vision of the applied liberal arts; bringing the College’s budget from a shortfall of $7 million when he first arrived to where we can live within our means, even while protecting the student experience and committing more resources toward diversity and inclusion; and deepening the College’s commitment to shared governance. We are grateful to Tom for leading us in this work. The Board and I are very proud of all that has been achieved over the past several years, and which will continue to have a positive impact for years to come.
For this coming year, Tom will be focused primarily on ensuring the success of Antioch College Works by securing new sources of support, forming strategic partnerships with other organizations and individuals, and raising the College’s visibility. I know he will value your continued collaboration in these efforts.
I hope and trust 2021 will be a time of shared purpose as we continue to work together to ensure Antioch College fulfills its educational mission and its commitment to students. We are glad to have one more year of Tom’s characteristically collaborative leadership as we continue to face both daunting challenges and transformative opportunities.
A presidential transition plan will be developed in the fall, more about which the Board and I look forward to sharing with you when that planning begins. We look forward to developing a transition plan that is inclusive and forward thinking, that is in alignment with our Antioch values and commitment to shared governance. The transition team will be purposeful in including the voices of students, staff, and alumni and allowing for the input of our local Yellow Springs community.
At this time, please join the Board and me in appreciating Tom for his leadership and commitment to Antioch College. We look forward to another year of working together and building on the accomplishments of the past 10 years.
Chair, Board of Trustees