New York City
March 2003

College Presidents Series
Diane Engelhardt, President, DeVry Institute of Technology


Because 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 career.

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 people.”

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 years.

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 and visit.”

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.#

City: State:

Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email:
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2003.