Chairman of the Adelphi University Board of Trustees Robert B. Willumstad ’05 (Hon.) announced today, on behalf of the trustees, the election of Christine M. Riordan, Ph.D., the provost of the University of Kentucky, as the 10th president of Adelphi University. Dr. Riordan will succeed Robert A. Scott, Ph.D., who has served with distinction as university president since 2000. Dr. Riordan, whose term starts on July 1, 2015, will be the first woman to lead Adelphi in its 118-year history.
Dr. Riordan emerged as the top choice from a diverse pool of more than 100 highly accomplished leaders in the nationwide search. Among the finalists, she received the unanimous recommendation of the search committee, which consisted of Adelphi trustees, administrators, faculty, students and alumni. The University board of trustees also unanimously approved her appointment.
“Through this process, Chris demonstrated a deep understanding of, and passion for, Adelphi’s historical core values,” said Chairman Willumstad. “Her outstanding leadership skills will assure Adelphi a bright future. Her presidency is a significant moment in our history as she prepares to serve as our first woman president, and the board looks forward to working in partnership with her to sustain Adelphi’s progress. Search Committee Co-Chair Dr. N. Gerry House and I extend our sincere thanks to the members of the search committee who worked tirelessly on this effort.”
Dr. Riordan said, “Special opportunities like this one rarely open up. I am honored and humbled to become the 10th President of Adelphi University. Already on an exciting path, with its rich legacy and reputation, combination of academic programs, deep sense of community and dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends, Adelphi is poised for launch onto the grand stage as a model metropolitan university.”
Since 2013, Dr. Riordan has served as provost at the University of Kentucky (UK), which has more than 30,000 students, 19,000 full- and part-time employees, and a budget of $3 billion. She provides strategic leadership for the academic operations of UK. Her oversight encompasses an extensive library system, undergraduate education, graduate education, enrollment management, information technology, student support services, international programs, institutional research, institutional effectiveness, and UK’s 16 colleges, including Agriculture, Food and Environment, Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, Communication and Information, Dentistry, Design, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Social Work.
Along with other university leaders, Dr. Riordan spearheaded such initiatives as a significant expansion of UK’s residential live and learn programs, the refinement of a responsibility-centered financial system, the implementation of new admissions marketing techniques, record enrollment growth for incoming students, a focused effort on retention and graduation and an expansion of the university’s global activities.
From 2008 to 2013, Dr. Riordan served as dean of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver (DU), a private urban university of more than 11,000 students, with a strong focus on liberal arts, STEAM, and professional programs. During her tenure as dean, the Daniels College of Business had 16 degree programs, generated approximately $86 million in revenue, and enjoyed a global network of more than 33,000 faculty, staff, students and alumni. In collaboration with DU leadership, she built a fundraising system for the college, attracting more than $14 million a year in private and corporate funds and raising more than $87 million in a campaign for the college. She and her team also increased the college’s endowment by more than 50 percent, from $70 million to more than $110 million. Under Dr. Riordan’s leadership, Daniels earned top rankings among the nation’s business schools by BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report and the Financial Times.
An internationally recognized expert in and speaker on leadership development, diversity and inclusion and team performance, Dr. Riordan consults regularly with organizations. She has been interviewed by and written articles for the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Huffington Post, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, Wall Street Journal MarketWatch, CareerBuilder and Psychology Today. Dr. Riordan is also widely published in the academic literature and has received numerous awards for her academic and practitioner work including Girl Scout Woman of Distinction, Most Brilliant Minds in Fort Worth, Sanford Research Fellowship, Sanford Faculty-Practitioner Grant, Sarah Moss Fellowship for International Research and the Michael Driver Award for Best Careers Article.
“Chris is a leading scholar, researcher and author, and a nationally recognized leader in higher education,” said Dr. House. “The search committee was impressed with her focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration and integration and her emphasis on innovative experiential learning. She promotes a culture of academic excellence and leads by example. We look forward to working with Chris as she forges an exciting path for both the undergraduate and graduate students at Adelphi University.”
Dr. Riordan earned a Ph.D. and M.B.A. from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Textile Engineering (now called Material Sciences Engineering) from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Riordan has a long record of leveraging her diverse background in STEAM and business to develop multidisciplinary learning and research programs and centers. She is married to Robert D. Gatewood, Ph.D., author of Human Resource Selection (seventh edition) and professor emeritus from the University of Georgia. They have two teenagers.
Mr. Willumstad said, “We believe that Chris will continue to build on the outstanding accomplishments of President Scott, a truly transformative and widely admired leader. On behalf of the board of trustees, I extend our deepest appreciation for his extraordinary service and profound contributions to Adelphi.”
“Serving as Adelphi’s president has been a great joy and an unparalleled privilege. I love this place and its people and I congratulate the board on selecting an outstanding leader for this remarkable institution,” Dr. Scott said. “I look forward to working with Dr. Riordan in the months ahead to ensure a successful transition. Carole and I also extend a warm welcome to Chris, Bob and their children to the Adelphi family.”
The executive recruiting firm Storbeck/Pimentel, a recognized leader in higher education executive search, assisted Adelphi University in the search for its 10th president.
Adelphi University is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university offering exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training with particular strength in its Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, Professions, and Health and Wellness. Adelphi is dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support student success.
Founded in Brooklyn in 1896, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. Today Adelphi serves nearly 7,500 national and international students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, and online.
More than 100,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, caring citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world beyond.
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