President David L. Eisler

Dr. David L. Eisler Biography

Dr. David L. Eisler has served as president of Ferris State University since July 2003. Under his leadership Ferris has experienced eight years of record enrollments, resulting in Ferris status as the fastest growing public university in the state. Through his leadership Ferris State University provides education in Big Rapids, at seventeen locations throughout Michigan, and on-line. 

Within Michigan Dr. Eisler works actively on issues of higher education and economic development in his position as Ferris president and through his service on the Council for Labor and Economic Growth. Throughout the region he seeks to build collaborative approaches to limit costs in postsecondary education as a member of the Executive Board of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. He promotes the area through service on the Steering Committee of the West Michigan Policy Conference and the West Michigan Regional Air Alliance.

Throughout his career, Dr. Eisler has been heavily involved in community service and he believes strongly that service is an important component of the educational experience. With the American Association of State College and Universities and the New York Times, he helped create the American Democracy Project. He currently serves as chair of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, and serves on the boards of the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Michigan Association of United Ways and numerous charitable efforts.

As president, Dr. Eisler has worked to advance Ferris State University's mission of preparing students for successful careers, responsible citizenship and life-long learning. He stresses the importance of the University's core values of Collaboration, Diversity, Ethical Community, Excellence and Learning. President Eisler earned both bachelor and doctoral degrees in clarinet performance at the University of Michigan and his master's degree from Yale University. In 2007 the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance recognized his lifetime achievements and inducted him in their Hall of Fame. Dr. Eisler currently chairs the Alumni Board of the Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Dr. Eisler began his academic career as a music instructor at Troy State University in Troy, Ala., in the mid-1970s, rising to the rank of tenured full professor position and assistant dean of the School of Fine Arts. Dr. Eisler then served as the dean of the College of Fine Arts at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, N.M., from 1990 to 1996.

Before joining Ferris State University, Dr. Eisler was provost and vice president of academic affairs at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. At Weber State he helped guide the creation of WSU Online, selected by the University Continuing Education Association as Outstanding Distance Education Program of the Year in 1998.

His thirty-five years of academic experience have forged Dr. Eisler's belief in the importance of higher education as a catalyst for economic development, the need for convenient and affordable access to high quality education, and the role this learning can play as a gateway for individual growth, development and success.

He and his wife, Patsy, a native of South Haven, have two daughters, Heather, a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Notre Dame, and Lindsay, a M.D. and 4th year medical resident in otorhinolaryngology.

updated September 20, 2010