Adelphi University recently announced its new president—and for the first time in the university’s history, it is a woman.
Chairman of the Adelphi University Board of Trustees Robert B. Willumstad announced the election of Christine M. Riordan, Ph.D., the provost of the University of Kentucky, as the 10th president of Adelphi University. Riordan will succeed Robert A. Scott, Ph.D., who has served university president since 2000. Riordan, whose term starts on July 1, 2015, will be the first woman to lead Adelphi in its 118-year history.
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 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.”
Riordan said special opportunities like this rarely open up.
“I am honored and humbled to become the 10th President of Adelphi University,” she said. “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, 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. 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, 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, 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, STEM, 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.
“We believe that Chris will continue to build on the outstanding accomplishments of President Scott, a truly transformative and widely admired leader,” said Willumstad. “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,” 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.”