President, Rider University
Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D., is Rider University’s seventh president and will assume the presidency on Aug. 1, 2015.
“The Rider opportunity is an exciting one, and I am honored to have been selected to lead this outstanding university,” Dell’Omo said, adding that while leaving RMU and the progress and achievements that it has made over the past ten years is difficult, returning to his home state of New Jersey where he will be closer to his extended family was an important factor in his decision.
Dell’Omo’s years as the seventh president of RMU (2005-2015) 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 that draws full-time and part-time students from not only the Pittsburgh area, but across the country and around the globe.
Dell’Omo led RMU through the completion of its most recent five-year 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 university’s transformation under 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.
The university also built two new apartment-style residence halls and converted a nearby hotel to student housing. RMU’s transformation to a residential campus is reflected by new campus housing, as well as an increased emphasis on student engagement and campus life that is at the heart of Dell’Omo’s legacy. The Student Engagement Program includes the Student Engagement Transcript (SET), which the university instituted in 2008.
Dell’Omo built on RMU’s long tradition of educating nontraditional students and working adults, bringing the university into a new age with the launch of its online degree programs. In just three years, online enrollment has climbed to 709 students. Robert Morris has also supported veterans of the U.S. armed services, becoming one of the first private institutions to participate in the federal Yellow Ribbon Program. Under that program, RMU agrees to cover the difference between the cost of tuition and benefits that eligible veterans receive under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. Currently 242 veterans and active-duty military personnel are enrolled at RMU.
Dell’Omo also sought to bolster RMU’s academic reputation. 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, a distinction enjoyed by only five percent of business schools worldwide. RMU is also one of only 25 institutions worldwide to be named a Center of Actuarial Excellence for its actuarial science program.
During Dell’Omo’s tenure, several of RMU’s NCAA Division I sports teams enjoyed unprecedented success. The men’s and women’s basketball teams, for example, each earned berths to the NCAA tournament, with the women going twice. The men’s team defeated the No. 1 seeds at the NIT two years in a row. Last year, the 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.
Dell’Omo earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Montclair State University, a master’s degree in industrial relations from Rutgers University, and a doctorate in industrial relations/human resource management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned certifications at Harvard University from the Institute for Education Management and the Seminar for New Presidents. 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.
Away from campus, 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.
Dell’Omo, 59, is married to wife Polly, and together they have three children and two grandchildren