Dear Members of the Rider University Community,
On behalf of the Presidential Search committee and the Rider University Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce that after a very thorough, inclusive and comprehensive selection process, involving all facets of the Rider community including deans, chairs, faculty members, senior leaders, student leaders, administrators, union representatives, alumni and board members, Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D., will become Rider University’s seventh president on August 1, 2015.
As he accepts this new role, Dr. Dell’Omo announced earlier today that he will step down as the President of Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, PA, at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. He has held that position since 2005.
When reviewing the candidates throughout the search process, Dr. Dell’Omo was always an impressive candidate and was ultimately the clear choice of the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees. The reasons for which will become clear when reviewing his list of achievements.
His years as President of RMU have been marked by growth unparalleled in the University’s 93-year history, as it continued its transformation from a regional, commuter-based institution to a comprehensive residential university.
Dr. Dell’Omo sought to bolster RMU’s academic reputation, and during his tenure the University has strengthened its honors program and placed an increasing emphasis on international education. Among the accreditations and honors that RMU has added since 2005 is AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Dr. Dell’Omo also led RMU through the completion of its most recent strategic plan and its most comprehensive capital campaign. The fundraising campaign ended in September 2012 and raised $41 million, exceeding its goal. The campaign funded two academic buildings: the School of Business Building and the Wheatley Center, which is home to the School of Communications and Information Systems. The campaign helped to boost RMU’s endowment by more than 60 percent and allowed the University to fund 30 new endowed scholarships and a research center focused on achievement among African American men. Most recently, the University broke ground on its new building for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences that is expected to open in fall 2015.
Perhaps the greatest symbol of the RMU’s transformation under Dr. Dell’Omo’s leadership is the dramatic increase in the number of students living on campus, from 1,140 in 2005 to 1,990 as of the fall of 2014. Fewer than 40 percent of full-time undergraduates lived on campus in 2005, versus nearly 60 percent today. At the same time, full-time undergraduate enrollment has grown 35 percent, from 2,928 ten years ago to 3,968 in fall 2014. Total enrollment for fall 2014 was 5,359.
During Dr. Dell’Omo’s tenure, several of RMU’s NCAA Division I sports teams enjoyed unprecedented success. The men’s and women’s basketball teams each earned berths to the NCAA tournament, with the women going twice. The men’s team defeated the No. 1 seeds in the NIT two years in a row. Last year, RMU’s men’s ice hockey team earned its first bid to the NCAA tournament, and in 2012 the women’s ice hockey team won the College Hockey America tournament championship. RMU student athletes also excel in the classroom, with an average graduation rate that is 10 percentage points higher than the national average for Division I athletes.
Away from campus, Dr. Dell’Omo has been very active in the Pittsburgh community. He has served on numerous boards including the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh Civic Light Orchestra, and Magee-Women’s (UPMC) Hospital, among many others.
Dr. Dell’Omo has New Jersey roots. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Montclair State University, and a master’s degree in industrial relations from Rutgers University. He then completed his doctorate in industrial relations/human resource management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Along the way he also earned certifications at Harvard University from the Institute for Education Management and the Seminar for New Presidents. During his career, he held previous academic positions at Canisius College and Saint Joseph’s University, where he was Dean of the Haub School of Business and Vice President for External Affairs.
While this announcement is a source of pride and celebration for Rider, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to thank Dr. Mordechai Rozanski at this time. As you know, Mort announced his decision to retire as President of Rider in January 2014.
Among his many accomplishments, Mort led a successful program of institutional renewal that advanced Rider to new heights of achievement. The highlights of his tenure include strategic investments in new undergraduate and graduate programs, the establishment of the two-campus Westminster College of the Arts, a substantial expansion of scholarship support for students, extensive facility improvements on both campuses and impressive fundraising results.
Our press materials will quote me as saying that Mort has made Rider University better in every way. I am sure we all can agree with that statement. I don’t believe there is anyone affiliated with the University or Mort who hasn’t been impressed with his vision, leadership and achievements. We are deeply indebted to his service and devotion to Rider and thank him for all he has done for our community.
As we conclude this process, I wish to thank all those who participated, with special thanks to Christine Zelenak and the members of the Search Committee. Through their tireless efforts, we have, I can say with every confidence, found the right person for Rider. This could not have been done without their commitment, support and action.
We will be offering opportunities to introduce Dr. Dell’Omo to the Rider community in the coming weeks, the details of which will be forthcoming.
Finally, as Chair of the Search Committee, and on behalf of the team that has been charged by the Board of Trustees with this most important responsibility, I thank you for your continued support and wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
Mike Kennedy, ‘72
Chair of the Board of Trustees and
Chair of the Presidential Search Committee