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About President Riordan

Get to know more about Adelphi President Christine M. Riordan.

Christine Riordan

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Christine M. Riordan, PhD, is the first woman to serve as president of Adelphi University in New York. She 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.

Upon her appointment as Adelphi’s 10th president in 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 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 into a nationally recognized modern metropolitan university.

Since the start of Adelphi’s new strategies in 2015, enrollment has grown by 10 percent and the University has admitted the four most diverse classes in its history. Alumni giving is at an all-time high. Adelphi has 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 been recognized by major media outlets. For a second consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranked Adelphi as a Best College among national universities and a Best College for FirstYear experiences. The media and rankings giant also named Adelphi a Best College for Veterans, a Best Value School and added five Adelphi programs to its 2020 Best Graduate Schools list. And, for the first time, U.S. News & World Report ranked Adelphi as a Best Performer on Social Mobility, a new ranking. Adelphi has additionally been cited for excellence by Washington Monthly. The University has been named a Top U.S. College by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings for the past two years, climbing in 2020 to the top 26 percent in the country, and Forbes once again placed Adelphi on its list of America’s Top Colleges for our student outcomes and career success.

With Dr. Riordan’s leadership, since 2015, Adelphi has launched 17 new academic degree programs and 11 accelerated dual degree 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 College of Nursing and Public Health and a host of personalized student support services. The University also established a highly regarded Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and initiated a Diversity Certificate training program for faculty, staff and a growing number of local school districts. Since 2015, Adelphi is also providing increasingly individualized educational support for students of all abilities.

Prior to joining the Adelphi community, Dr. Riordan served as provost of the University of Kentucky, which had 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.

Dr. Riordan has published nearly 70 academic and business press articles and is authoring Shift Happens: How to Adapt and Thrive in a Rapidly Changing World of Work—a book on helping employees adapt to the changing workplace. Dr. Riordan’s TEDx talk, “Dare to Be Extraordinary,” has received more than 20,000 views. Dr. Riordan consults regularly with corporations on leadership development activities, diversity management and team performance. She has been interviewed by and written articles for media such as the Financial Times, the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, HuffPost, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch, CareerBuilder and Psychology Today. Her work has been cited more than 5,400 times by other authors, and she has appeared in the press more than 130 times. For more information on her research and to view her articles, visit

Dr. Riordan serves on the board of directors of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RMAX), is chair of the nominating and governance committee, and serves on the compensation committee. She previously served on the audit committee. Dr. Riordan is a National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Board Leadership Fellow, which is the Gold Standard Director Credential.

Christine RiordanA member of the board of trustees and executive committee of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York (CICU), Dr. Riordan was elected the organization’s chair in 2020. In 2019, she was elected secretary-treasurer of the Long Island Regional Advisory Council on Higher Education (LIRACHE), for which she serves as a trustee and on the steering committee. Dr. Riordan is on the board of directors for the Long Island Association (LIA), a leading business organization on Long Island, and in 2018 was appointed co-chair of the LIA’s Women’s Collaborative. She is a member of the President’s Advisory Council at the Georgia Institute of Technology and she is the past chair of the President’s Council for the Northeast-10 Conference.

Dr. Riordan has made her mark since moving to Long Island. She was named the Bethpage Best of Long Island Awards Best College President in 2017, 2019 and 2020, and has earned a spot on the Long Island Press Power List of the most influential people on Long Island every year since 2016. City & State NY also named Dr. Riordan one of Long Island’s 50 most influential people in 2018 and 2019, and Long Island Business News included her in its listings of Who’s Who in Education, Who’s Who in Professional Women and Top CEOs. She is a recipient of the Advancement for Commerce, Industry & Technology (ACIT) Monsignor Hartman Humanitarian Award for Commitment to Leadership in the Field of Education. In 2017, she was named a New York State Senate Woman of Distinction and was awarded the Excellence in Service Award by the Islamic Center of Long Island for her efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.

In 2018, the Garden City (New York) Chamber of Commerce honored Dr. Riordan as Businessperson of the Year, and she was honored by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine as one of 25 Top Women in Higher Education Who Are Making a Difference. In 2019, the Long Island Herald honored Dr. Riordan with its Premier Business Woman of Long Island Award.

Dr. Riordan’s other awards and recognitions include the ATHENA Leadership Award in 2020, Georgia State University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019, the Family & Children’s Association 2015 Woman of Distinction, the Girl Scouts of the USA Woman of Distinction, one of the Most Brilliant Minds in Fort Worth and the Michael Driver Award for Best Careers Article. For her scholarly work, she has received the Sarah Moss Fellowship for International Research, the Sanford Research Fellowship and the Sanford Faculty-Practitioner Grant.

President Riordan is married to Robert (Bob) D. Gatewood, PhD, author of Human Resource Selection (8th ed.) and professor emeritus at the University of Georgia. They have two children in college, Mikaela and Mason, and an Olde English Bulldogge named Georgia. Dr. Riordan enjoys running, biking, lifting weights and reading. She received her PhD in organizational behavior and MBA 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

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