Brother Gardner was announced as Interim President after O’Donnel stepped down. MANHATTAN.EDU/ COURTESY
By, Katie Heneghan & Maddie Johnson, Senior Writers
Upon his announcement that he would be stepping down as president of Manhattan College, Brennan O’Donnell announced that Brother Daniel Gardner would step in as interim president starting in July.
Brother Daniel Gardner has worn many hats in his time at Manhattan College. Since 2016, Gardner has worked as both an adjunct professor and a member of the Department of Academic Affairs working closely with students as they develop throughout their time at the college.
“My role was a balance really was a position in academic affairs and then an adjunct instructor role,” Gardner said. “In academic affairs, I worked in the Center for Graduate School and Fellowship advisement. I helped students navigate pathways in pre-health professions, pre-law, graduate schools, fellowships and I worked with a lot of students as they conducted independent research. For my other role as an adjunct, I taught sometimes simultaneously in the department of religious studies, the school of science, and the Camino program.”
“The future is bright for Manhattan College, and I am confident that we will be in good hands with Brother Daniel Gardner, FSC at the helm while the search for a new president moves forward,” O’Donnell wrote in the email announcing that he would be stepping down.
When notified of O’Donnell’s departure and his appointment to interim president, Gardner felt both honored and proud to be called upon to carry on the Lasallian mission.
“I was quite honored that I was going to be able to continue his legacy and vision and the vision of the Brothers who have staffed the school since the beginning,” Gardner said.
While Gardner looks forward to his role as interim President, he sees the value and impact of his work with students at the college throughout the years.
“Leaving the direct contact kinds of roles as either an academic advisor or an adjunct to a more administrative and strategic role — that’s probably going to take a little bit of adjustment for me, because I really do enjoy what I do an awful lot,” said Gardner.
Moving forward, the college will engage in a search for the next President by calling upon community members to provide feedback in order to select the most appropriate candidate.
“Next year we will engage in the traditional search for a college president, it’s pretty standard. It can be adapted a bit based on institution, but it’s really a collaborative process where different elements of the community will weigh in on what they’re looking for in senior leadership,” said Gardner.
“Then after that, being able to interview candidates and be a part of the process that brings these candidates to campus,” he said. “It demonstrates how proud we are to be Jaspers to the candidates and then at the end of the day the final decision for the CEO position, the president’s position will be made by the board of trustees. My job in this position of transition is really to be shepherding that process through so that all those different constituents coming through campus are able to take a meaningful part of it.”
Gardner detailed that the first task in the process of transition will be finding a search firm to lead the process.
“Once we have a search firm we’ll have a more concrete time frame which we’ll be sharing with the community relatively soon,” said Gardner.
As for his goals in his time as Interim President, Brother Gardner puts a heavy focus on upholding the Catholic and Lasallian Values of Manhattan College and its community by encouraging accountability and open and honest communication.
“I think part of the Lasallian Catholic charism calls us all to be accountable to one another, and so I’m going to encourage people to hold one another accountable for who we are and what we believe as Jaspers and how we express that, and how we achieve, and what we achieve in the programs that we operate,” said Gardner.
Claire Vredenburg ‘23 expressed her good wishes for the future of Manhattan College’s administration.
“I am excited to see O’Donnell step into the classroom as a professor of English … I send my best wishes to Brother Garner as he steps into the role of Interim President,” Vredenberg wrote in an email to The Quadrangle.
Senior and student body president Kevin Rojas wrote in an email to The Quadrangle that he was surprised to hear about O’Donnell’s exit. He expressed his gratitude for the president he’s cherished all his time at Manhattan College.
“As President O’Donnell continues with the next stage of his career, the student body and I wish him nothing but success and happiness as he ventures onto new endeavors. On behalf of all Jaspers, we thank him greatly for his many years of devout service to our beloved community,” Rojas wrote.
Similarly, Rojas expressed his hope for the future as Gardner steps into his new role on campus.
“I look forward to seeing Brother Dan transition into this new leadership role. I strongly believe that he will continue to uphold our Lasallian values and champion our Jasper pride. Manhattan College has a bright future ahead!” Rojas wrote.
As Gardner looks to the future, he turns to the foundational values of the college to best uphold his role as interim president.
“I’m very much looking forward to working with the students, the faculty, the administration, and staff next year. I’m very interested in spending a year listening — finding out what people’s needs are and how we can move forward the Jasper mission.”