Diane Engelhardt, President, DeVry Institute of Technology
JOAN BAUM, Ph.D.
she had been encouraged early on by her parents to learn shorthand
and typing, Diane Engelhardt appreciates both the importance of
“hands on” skills and the need to go beyond them for a meaningful
She did heed her parents’ advice, particularly the words of her
father, a sanitation worker, who did not go beyond the 6th grade
and had difficulty reading, but who kept at her about the importance
of education and getting out there to get a job as an office secretary,
something certain, something secure. The irony was that after
completing a degree program in Business Education in 1977 at Baruch
College, where she “majored in shorthand and typing,” only one
of five women to do so, Diane Engelhardt could not get a job in
the high schools, where she had applied. Everyone, it seems, had
the same idea, women, anyway. The field was “full of seasoned
Clearly, her father had had the right idea, but just as clearly,
Diane Engelhardt was out to go beyond those goals. She went on
for a masters in Business Education at Baruch and then did more
graduate work at New York University, not to mention founding
and leading a Woodbury, NY-based company specializing in business
and aerospace electronics education. She was now positioned to
be an administrator and design and implement programs that would
go beyond typing and shorthand, curricular plans that she first
put into effect at the Katherine Gibbs School’s Melville division,
where she served as dean for five years and president for two
She assumed the presidency of DeVry Institute of Technology/Long
Island City campus in December 2001, overseeing academic and financial
operations. DeVry is not a liberal arts college but does have
a liberal arts component to complement degree offerings in business,
technology, and management. DeVry Institute of Technology, as
it is referred to in New York, offers associate, bachelor’s and
master’s degree programs in technology, business, computer sciences,
electronics, information technology, and telecommunications management.
The parent company, DeVry Inc. (NYSE: DV), owns DeVry University,
which operates as DeVry Institute of Technology and Keller Graduate
School of Management in New York.
So how is DeVry different from like institutions that concentrate
on technology careers? President Engelhardt cites small class
size, individual attention, high tech equipment, and general appeal
for students who want to focus on careers rather than general
education. Obviously, there are many such students out there because
the president envisions expanding from a present base of approximately
2,000 to 4,000. President Engelhardt notes that between attracting
new students and former ones who come back to complete their degree,
DeVry is well on its way to providing its graduates with meaningful
employment, especially in the areas of allied health services
and information systems.
DeVry opened its first campus, at what is now its flagship headquarters
in Chicago, in 1931, says Engelhardt. More than 52,000 students
in 18 states and two Canadian provinces are enrolled at its 26
undergraduate campuses and 37 adult learning centers, as well
as through DeVry University Online. Located across the East River
and Midtown Manhattan, DeVry’s Long Island City campus opened
in 1998 and is, “a beautiful space,” says Engelhardt. Potential
students interested in the school are encouraged to, “come by
The campus recently gained an addition with the opening of Keller
Graduate School of Management (KGSM), one of the largest part-time
graduate schools in the United States, which focuses on the specific
needs of adult learners. In addition to offering students convenient
center locations and flexible class schedules, Keller places a
strong emphasis on excellence in teaching by a faculty with both
strong academic credentials and professional experience.
DeVry, which runs on a trimester system, costs approximately $16,000
a year, but has a healthy scholarship program, including a president’s
and dean’s scholarship. Last year, a Community Scholars Program
was also established in response to growing concerns about access
to higher education for academically qualified low-and moderate-income
students. Scholarships will be offered to one student at every
public high school in the 18 metropolitan areas served by its
campuses, including more than 200 high schools in New York City.
Each scholarship award will be up to $3,000 per calendar year
for a student attending year-round in pursuit of a degree. The
$1,000 per-semester scholarship is worth up to $9,000 for the
duration of a degree program, depending on the student’s major.
How do students do upon graduation; do they get jobs? Yes, the
president responds, pointedly, noting DeVry’s commitment to career
awareness, which begins with registration, is followed up at orientation
and then is made an active part of continuing advisement. In short,
career counseling is not a subject that DeVry students meet only
when they become graduating seniors.
Being an administrator is a lot like being a sports coach, President
Engelhardt remarks. She ought to know. She’s won an award from
the Town of Oyster Bay “in recognition of her outstanding and
lasting contributions to the community,” specifically Syosset,
where she has coached baseball and softball leagues. She coaches
to win. She has already turned the well-advertised Institute into
a Conference center and is looking to establish partnerships with
College Now programs in the city’s high schools.
In addition to all her responsibilities as president, Diane Engelhardt
also gives back. She serves as a mentor in the NYU Business Ed
program. No doubt she also continues to bring joy to her 82-year-old
father who now knows she cannot only type and take shorthand but,
well, be a college president, as well.#
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