MCC Leadership Speaker Series Features Ferris State President on Feb. 22

Dr. David L. Eisler

Dr. David L. Eisler

Dr. David L. Eisler, the Ferris State University president since July 2003, will discuss “Leadership with a small ‘l’” on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at Muskegon Community College.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the MCC President’s Speakers Series: Lessons in Leadership. The lecture takes place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Stevenson Center Room 1300 on the main campus and will also be available online via Zoom. To participate, click on the following link: Passcode: 696527 To join by phone, dial (646) 558-8656.

The lecture series features individuals selected by MCC President Dale K. Nesbary for their impact on the growth of his professional career. Dr. Nesbary is retiring this summer after 44 years in higher education, research, and public policy work.

“The Lessons in Leadership series is intended ​to allow colleagues from education, the public sector, business, and the community to share their ideas on the state of higher education, offering solutions to issues that we face daily,” explained Nesbary, who has worked closely with Eisler during his 13 years as the MCC president.

“Leadership will a small ‘l’ is finding the way to use one’s unique abilities, background and experience to effectively lead an organization,” explained Eisler, who is the senior public university president in Michigan. “It involves building the institution and the people in it, focusing on others, not on the leader. It is a human-centered approach, using the opportunities available and dealing with challenges as they develop. In this, one looks for the times when you can make an important difference. Leadership with a small ‘l’ has evolved throughout 47 years of experience in higher education, including 32 years as a dean, provost, and president.”

On campus, Eisler has worked with faculty, staff and students to develop and implement a vision that focuses Ferris State University as a Career-Centered University. Under his leadership, the university has embarked on an ambitious program of curricular innovation, classroom renovation, cooperative programs with high schools and community colleges, and providing opportunity for students who may not otherwise attend college.

At Ferris he leads the Now and Always comprehensive campaign for university students, facilities, and programs which has surpassed its $115 million goal.  During his presidency the Ferris Foundation endowment has grown from $18 million to over $116 million.

Ferris was the first university selected to receive the Uncommon Greatness Award from the Center for Community Leadership Center of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

President Eisler is recipient of the inaugural Newsmaker of the Year in Education Award by the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Hispanic Advocate Award from the Community to Honor Cesar E. Chavez and is a member of the Ferris State University Welding Engineering Technology Hall of Fame and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance Hall of Fame.

In partnership with the American Association of State College and Universities and the New York Times, Eisler helped create the American Democracy Project. In 2018 he was chosen to present the President to Presidents Lecture to his nearly 400 presidential colleagues of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).  He serves as chair for the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and on the boards of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), Grand Rapids Symphony, Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU), Michigan Research Council, and Michigan Works! West Central.

President and Mrs. Eisler are committed to creating opportunities for foster youth and have established the Johnson Endowment, honoring Mrs. Eisler’s adopted parents and providing scholarship support for students from the foster youth system.  President Eisler believes strongly that the higher education experience should prepare students for successful careers, create a pattern of intellectual rigor, develop a commitment to community engagement and provide the foundation for lifelong learning.