Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Alice R. Manicur, Ed.D.
MSA SC 3520-15859

Biography:

Alice Manicur (b. September 13, 1924 in McDowell County, West Virginia) was the daughter of working-class Italian immigrants who wanted a better life for their children.  They emphasized, in particular, the value of education.1  Dr. Manicur fulfilled the dream her parents had for her and dedicated her life to helping other young men and women fulfill their own dreams through education.

Raised in a family of coal miners and farmers,  Manicur learned the meaning of hard work from a young age.  She helped on the family farm, and in high school she took an additional job at a "five and dime" store, contributing her wages to the family finances.  Her employment did not stop her from excelling in school. After much encouragement from her teachers, Alice Manicur applied to and was accepted to Berea College, in Kentucky.  She attended a summer session at Berea, but left before the fall session; she felt a responsibility to help her family financially during the War (WWII).  This sense of duty led her to take jobs at the Hercules Powder Company and the Monroe Calculating Machine Company.2  Dr. Manicur returned to Berea College in 1950, a time when most of her classmates were veterans.  As someone who loved the academic atmosphere, "Berea was almost like a dream to me," she recalled.3  It was at Berea that Dr. Manicur met one of her mentors, Dean Julia Allen, in whose office Manicur was assigned to work.  "She [Allen] was so feeling and so concerned," Dr. Manicur said.4  Manicur's own students would later say the same about her.  After graduating with a degree in business administration, she applied to Indiana University and was accepted to the graduate program in student personnel administration.5

Manicur earned a master's degree, which led to a job as the first counselor of freshman at MacMurray College in Illinois.  It was here that Dr. Manicur first began to realize to impact that she could make on students lives.  Having been told from a young age that one could never have enough education, however, she returned to Indiana University as a recipient of the John Hay Whitney fellowship, and in 1960 she completed her doctorate degree.6

Dr. Manicur was then approached by President Bowen Hardesty of Frostburg State College (now University) and asked to take the new position of dean of students at the college.  She accepted the job and became the person who would change the lives of Frostburg students for the next 46 years.  Dr. Manicur implemented numerous programs at Frostburg, all of which improved the experiences of the students.  Freshmen Week Programs gave incoming freshmen the chance to register, take placement exams, and attend lectures, assemblies, and group discussions. This jump-start to the freshman experience was one of Manicur's successful ideas designed to impress "students with the importance of putting forth every effort to secure the best possible education."7 Orientation week activities, which included discussions with faculty and social gatherings, were created to further ease the transition from home to college and get students more acquainted with the services Frostburg offers.8

Even before they arrived on campus to begin classes, Manicur's programs reached out to new students.   She initiated summer conferences for new students so they could get "detailed information on the responsibilities and requirements of college life and to prepare them for their first academic year."  At the conferences, students met with advisors, pre-registered for classes, and attended "get-acquainted" functions.9   During the school year, Frostburg hosts a Parent's Weekend, where parents can visit their students and enjoy a weekend on campus filled with activities and gatherings.10  Dr. Manicur also directed her attention to attracting high school students to the college.  She started Campus Day, when high school students visit Frostburg and attend tours and lectures.11   Dr. Manicur ventured off campus to personally visit students at high schools and community colleges who were interested in attending or transferring to Frostburg.12

Alice Manicur did not limit her vision to the Frostburg campus. She wanted to expand the horizons of the students at Frostburg State College. She was part of the group that enabled British students to study at Frostburg, which opened both the British and American students to new cultures and customs.13  The study abroad program continues at Frostburg today.

Dr. Manicur's innovation in student administration and dedication to her students has won her numerous awards and honors.  In 1972, she won the Meritorious Serivce Award for the Student Personnel Association for Teacher Education.14  She was recognized again by the National Assocication of Student Personnel Administration (NASPA), of which she is a member, with the Fred Turner Award for Outstanding Service.  One of the requirements for the award is "contributions above and beyond the normal service required by positions of leadership."15  Frostburg acknowledged her contributions to the school and in August 1972, Dr. Manicur was promoted to vice president of student affairs, as well as continuing to serve as dean of students.16

Throughout her career,  Manicur was heavily involved in NASPA, and worked her way up through the ranks of the organization.  In 1971, she became a member-at-large of the executive committee, the first woman in such a position, and in 1973 she was appoined to the professional development and standards division.17,18  Making history, Dr. Manicur was installed as the president of NASPA in 1976, again the first woman in the post.19

The greatest testiment to Alice Manicur's success as a leader and role model for her students are the successes of her students.  Ned Boehm was one them.  After losing in the election for class president freshman year, Boehm was went to Manicur for advice.  She shared with him her RSVP policy: Reflect on the event, Stabilize your Values,  and Proceed full steam ahead with confidence.  Taking her advice, Boehm was elected class president for the next three years.  Currently, Boehm is serving as the president of Keystone College in Pennsylvania.  Of Dr. Manicur he said: "Alice always seems to know her students not only by their names, but by their dreams."20

Manicur’s monuments are her students and her programs. The former president of Frostburg State University, Dr. Catherine R. Gira, summarized Manicur’s impact: "Alice Manicur has probably had more influence on Frostburg State Univeristy than any other single individual."21  Her dedication to her work and her students serves as an inspiring example of the meaning of commitment to exellence.


Endnotes:

1. 2012 Maryland Women's Hall of Fame Nomination Package.  Return to text.
2. Ibid. Return to text.
3. "Alice Manicur--Milestones and Mentors," Berea College Magazine, Winter 2007. Return to text.
4. Ibid. Return to text.
5. 2012 Maryland Women's Hall of Fame Nomination Package. Return to text.
6. Ibid. Return to text.
7. "Freshmen Week Program Listed," Frostburg-Keyeser and Tri-State Area News, 10 September 1961. Return to text.
8. "Activities Listed for FSC Frosh," Cumberland Sunday Times, 6 September 1964. Return to text.
9."Student Conferences Set," Cumberland Sunday Times, 15 June 1975. Return to text.
10. "FSC Arranges Program for Parents' Weekend," The Cumberland News, 29 April 1966. Return to text.
11."Frostburg State Sets Campus Day on Friday," Frostburg-Keyeser and Tri-State Area News, 13 October 1965. Return to text.
12. "Northern High Art Club Visits FSC Classes," The Cumberland News, 18 November 1965. Return to text.
13. "16 British Students Auditing Classes at Frostburg State," Cumberland Sunday Times,  8 September 1965. Return to text.
14. "FSC Dean Honored," The Cumberland News, 11 April 1972. Return to text.
15. "Frostburg's Manicur Recieves Service Award," The Frederick News Post, 31 March 1982. Return to text.
16. "FSC Lists Promotions," Cumberland Sunday Times, 8 August 1972. Return to text.
17. "Appointed," Frostburg-Keyeser and Tri-State Area News, 5 April 1971. Return to text.
18. "Dr. Manicur is Named to NASPA Post," The Cumberland News, 13 April 1973.  Return to text.
19. "FSC Dean Elected to National Office," Cumberland Evening Times, 31 March 1976. Return to text.
20. "Alice Manicur--Milestones and Mentors," Berea College Magazine, Winter 2007. Return to text.
21. 2012 Maryland Women's Hall of Fame Nomination Package. Return to text.

Biography written by 2012 summer intern Anne Powell.

Return to Dr. Alice R. Manicur's Introductory Page
 
 
 
 


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