Biography of President Riordan

Get to know more about President Christine M. Riordan.

Christine M. Riordan, Ph.D., the first woman to serve as president of Adelphi, is an internationally recognized expert in leadership development, team building, and diversity and inclusion, and is recognized for her groundbreaking initiatives to personalize and transform the higher education experience.

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Upon her appointment as Adelphi’s 10th president in July 2015, working with a wide array of members of the Adelphi community, Dr. Riordan led a comprehensive analysis of the University to gain a thorough understanding of the institution’s strengths and potential for growth and opportunity. This effort laid the foundation for our strategic plan, Momentum, and a set of transformational goals to strengthen the academic experience, deepen the commitment to student success, enhance the diversity and inclusion of students and employees, boost enrollment domestically and internationally, increase fundraising, and transform Adelphi University from a regionally known university to a nationally recognized modern metropolitan university

In the first year of Adelphi’s new strategies, the freshman population grew 40 percent and transfers 60 percent, with the graduate population increasing by 3 percent. In Fall 2016, Adelphi enrolled the largest freshman class—and the most diverse—in its history. Alumni giving is at an all-time high. Today, Adelphi is ranked among the top 150 doctoral research universities in the United States. It has also been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and has earned the Carnegie Community Engagement classification.

The University’s programs have recently been recognized by major media outlets. Adelphi advanced in the U.S. News & World Report rankings and was cited for excellence by USA Today and Washington Monthly. The prestigious Fiske Guide to Colleges gave Adelphi a Best Buy rating for the 11th straight year. USA Today College named Adelphi one of the top 10 colleges for majoring in social work. Forbes placed Adelphi on its list of America’s Top Colleges 2016, a rating that focuses specifically on student outcomes and career success.

With Dr. Riordan’s leadership, Adelphi has developed and launched several new academic programs, substantially expanded the services of the University’s Center for Career and Professional Development, and opened the 100,000-square-foot Nexus Building, home of Adelphi’s innovative and top-ranked nursing and public health program and a host of personalized student support services. The University also established a highly regarded Office of Diversity and Inclusion and initiated a Diversity Certificate training program for faculty and staff, and is providing increasingly personalized educational supports for students of all abilities.

Prior to joining the Adelphi community, Dr. Riordan served as provost of the University of Kentucky, which has more than 30,000 students, 19,000 full- and part-time employees, and a budget of $3 billion, and as dean of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, a U.S. News & World Report-ranked Best Business School.

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Dr. Riordan has published more than 60 academic and business press articles, is authoring a book on leadership, and
is a frequent speaker on leadership and overcoming challenges, including her TEDx talk, “Dare to Be Extraordinary.” Dr. Riordan consults regularly with corporations on leadership-development activities, diversity management and team performance. She has been interviewed and written articles for media such as The Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Huffington Post, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch, CareerBuilder and Psychology Today. These articles are profiled at christineriordan.com. Her work has been cited more than 3,000 times by other authors.

For her leadership in New York, Dr. Riordan has been recognized by Long Island Business News as a Top CEO, by the Family & Children’s Association as a 2015 Woman of Distinction and by the Long Island Press as Long Island’s Best College President. Dr. Riordan has also 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. She has also been named to the Long Island Press 2016 Power List and received the Advancement for Commerce, Industry & Technology (ACIT) Monsignor Hartman Humanitarian Award for Commitment to Excellence and Leadership in the Field of Education.

Dr. Riordan serves on the board of directors of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RMAX) and is chair of the nominating and governance committee and serves on the compensation committee. She previously served on the audit committee.

Dr. Riordan is also on the board of directors of the National Chorale, New York’s premier professional choral company, and the Long Island Association (LIA), a leading business organization on Long Island. She is also a member of the Long Island Regional Advisory Council on Higher Education (LIRACHE) and is a member of the President’s Advisory Council at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In the past, Dr. Riordan served on many nonprofit boards of directors, such as Mile High United Way and Beta Gamma Sigma, an international honor society, and she was president of the Southern Management Association.

President Riordan is married to Robert (Bob) D. Gatewood, Ph.D., author of Human Resource Selection (8th ed.) and professor emeritus at the University of Georgia. They have two teenagers, Mikaela and Mason, and an Olde English Bulldogge named Georgia. Dr. Riordan enjoys running, biking, lifting weights and reading. She received her Ph.D. in organizational behavior and M.B.A. from Georgia State University and a bachelor’s degree in textile engineering (now called materials science and engineering) from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


President Riordan can be reached by email at president@adelphi.edu. Connect with President Riordan on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @PrezRiordan.