By Jilleen Barrett and Caroline McCarthy, Managing Editors
Veteran Provost William Clyde has reclaimed the titles of provost and executive vice president of affairs of Manhattan College as of July 1. He originally served in these roles from 2010 to 2020 before Steven Schreiner took over as provost in July 2020.
When The Quadrangle reached out to Schreiner for a comment, an automatic reply email stating Schreiner is on sabbatical until January 2023 was sent in response. Schreiner did not directly reach out to The Quadrangle to provide any additional information.
Clyde began working at Manhattan College after serving as vice president of academic affairs at Quinnipiac University from 1990 to 2007, and Queens University of Charlotte from July 2007 through June 2010.
After his term as provost and executive vice president of affairs of the college, Clyde opted to demote himself from his administrative title and focus on being a professor of economics and finance.
“I was ready to go back and be on the faculty,” Clyde said. “I started out a professor, [and] I actually started out my career in banking.”
Clyde, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from Edinburgh University, a M.S. in chemistry from New York University and a B.A. in economics and chemistry from DePauw University, began his career as a trader and corporate advisor in the foreign currency markets.
“I did that for six and a half years and then I started on the path as a faculty member,” Clyde said. “I was effective for 10 years at another institution, became a tenured full professor there and then started into administration.”
Jeff Horn, Ph.D., a professor of history and the co-chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee told The Quadrangle about the general reaction he gauged from the faculty upon hearing of Clyde’s return to office.
“I think that it is fair to say that every faculty member who dealt with Clyde believed that he was a good human being and that he meant the absolute best for the institution,” Horn said. “And I know that there is and was and has come once again, tremendous support for his commitment to the vision of what Manhattan is supposed to be and who we want to be … I think that the choice of Clyde as the interim provost, to be able to help manage this time of transition, was really the only good choice in this one.”
Clyde and Brother Daniel Gardner, FSC — who is currently serving as president of the college — are both in their roles on an interim basis, meaning they are anticipating someone else taking over their roles in the future. Clyde plans to prepare for that.
“Brother Dan [Gardner] and I are going to do everything we can to move things forward, and to put us in a great place so that when we get the next president and next administration, whoever those folks are, they’re in great shape to move forward and and and can feel the same excitement we do,” Clyde said.
One of the responsibilities Clyde will take on again is working with the Student Government Association. The SGA and the provost work closely together to make decisions that affect the college and its students. Nadia Itani, who served as Student Government Association’s Vice President of Academic Affairs during the 2019-2020 school year, told The Quadrangle what it was like to operate under Clyde.
“[H]e was pretty real with us in terms of what [the college’s] administration was thinking on certain things and what he thinks that we could actually do, versus when things might not be realistic … he was pretty good about being transparent with us,” Itani said.
Itani and Clyde worked to create a pass/fail policy during the spring 2020 semester to alleviate stress students were experiencing due to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Itani noted how he shows his concern for the student body.
“We worked directly together to write up the Pass/Fail policy … he was really, really good about making students’ voices heard, or at least making my voice heard on the Academic Affairs Committee,” Itani said. “Other than that, he was just a very personable guy – every time I saw him on campus, he would say ‘hello’ and actually be genuinely interested in myself and students that he had interacted with.”
As the college sheds some of the policies enforced during the pandemic — such as the isolation measures that were in place last spring or the mask mandates that were ended on April 9 — Clyde is working on a way to include the perspective of the student body in his decisions.
“I’m creating something called the Executive Vice President task force,” he said. “It’s going to be a very small group, seven people, and it’s going to have somebody from leadership from the faculty, somebody from leadership from students and somebody from leadership in administration … Those representatives can kind of share concerns and hot conversations coming out of their areas.”
Clyde feels this will be a way to satisfy the needs of everyone at the college.
“I know that there is a very serious desire for collaboration and conversation and transparency and I think a lot of that is, frankly, a national conversation, not just college-wide conversation,” Clyde said. “I can tell you that Brother Dan [Gardner] and I are very focused on that, and that always would have been something that I was thinking was important.”
Clyde anticipates the school year being a good one for all.
“It seems like it’s an exciting year, I hope, ahead of us,” Clyde said. “Obviously, there have been a lot of challenges we’ve all lived through the last couple of years, but I think that Manhattan has always been known for its readiness … I’ve been made aware of a lot of really exciting initiatives for students and for the college that are available to us, [and] Brother Dan [Gardner] and I are going to do everything we can to move things forward.”