Colleagues Reflect on the Legacy of Dr. Alice R. Manicur

On Monday, Jan. 2, the Frostburg State University (FSU) community lost one of the most storied and celebrated figures in the institution’s history with the passing of former university administrator Dr. Alice R. Manicur.

Manicur was hired in 1960 as the school’s first Dean of Students. She served the institution for nearly five decades, ultimately serving as the vice president for Student and Educational Services and retiring in 2007 after 47 years at Frostburg. During her remarkable tenure on campus, she established many of the programs central to student life today. Since her passing, administrators in the Division of Student Affairs have shared their memories of their former colleague and mentor with The Bottom Line.

Manicur played an active role in creating the university that exists today. Not only is she remembered for a long list of professional accomplishments and programs she brought to the FSU campus, but also for a tireless commitment to advocating for the wellbeing of students.

Dr. Tom Bowling, the current vice president for Student Affairs, recalls that he would never have come to work at the institution had it not been for his predecessor. Bowling arrived on campus to work in the Office of Student Affairs during the 1976-1977 school year, which happened to be the same year that Manicur served as the first female president of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).   NASPA now holds an annual conference for women in student affairs, the Alice Manicur Symposium.

“Frostburg had not been on my radar initially,” Bowling said, adding, “what really attracted me to the school was largely due to Dr. Manicur herself. She was well known in the world of student affairs, and I knew she was committed to professional development.” Manicur joined the staff at Frostburg during a time of tremendous growth for the university. Bowling recalls that she was deeply influential in the expansion of residence life on campus, and was critical to growing the student support programs necessary to accommodate the dramatically increasing student population.

Perhaps more than anything else, Bowling remembers Manicur as a proud advocate for students. “She had a deep commitment to students, of course, and their growth,” he said. He described her work ethic as “unparalleled,” and emphasized her decisiveness and pragmatism. He noted that out of all the student programs she founded on campus, the Summer Planning Conference, the precursor to Preview FSU, was “without question nearest and dearest to her heart.” Her model for summer freshmen orientation would go on to become a model for universities nationwide.

During her time at Frostburg, Manicur was well known to maintain contact with alumni, and to promote student leadership. For years, she directly advised the FSU Student Government Association. When asked what he learned from Manicur during his years working for her in student affairs, Bowling said, “Dr. Manicur deepened my understanding of the importance of focusing on students, and the importance of collaborating with faculty and staff throughout the university… she was a fierce advocate for students.”

Bill Mandicott, assistant vice president responsible for the FSU Office Student and Community Involvement, also recalls the profound impact Dr. Manicur had on the student body at Frostburg. Like Bowling, Mandicott was hired by Manicur to work in student affairs. Mandicott was hired in 1989, and said “I quickly learned that Alice consistently demonstrated her care and concern for our students in her every-day decision making role as vice president for Student Affairs.”

Mandicott emphasized the long list of existing students life programs that trace their history to Dr. Manicur. During her tenure, she was responsible for creating or supporting the creation of the ECHOSTARS AmeriCorps program, career services, the honors convocation, the Cultural Events Series, the first-year Orientation program, and many of the student leadership and service initiatives that are now cornerstones of the FSU student experience.

Manicur was awarded administrator emerita status by FSU upon her retirement, and was induced into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 2012. The Alice R. Manicur Assembly Hall in the FSU Lane Center, often referred to as the “ARMAH,” was named in her honor in 2000. Mandicott acknowledged, ““When I walk into the Lane University Center ARMAH my thoughts often turn to the legacy of Dr. Manicur and her impact on my career, this campus and our students.”

Mandicott also reflected on the manner in which Manicur carried out her role as a campus leader, saying, “My respect and admiration for Alice is unbridled and she carried herself with the utmost integrity in her daily life and work.  You never doubted Dr. Manicur’s intent and purpose- it was always in the best interests of the students.”

Undoubtedly one of the most transformative leaders in the history of Frostburg State University, Dr. Alice R. Manicur helped define the student-centered approach that has continued as a pillar of the FSU experience. Her legacy is vast, and will carry on in the programs she founded and the wisdom she instilled in the many colleagues and alumni who knew her.

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