Rider University announced Thursday that Gregory Dell’Omo, who currently heads a college in Pittsburgh, will take over as the university’s seventh president.
Dell’Omo, a New Jersey native and a graduate of both Rutgers and Montclair State universities, will take over at Rider on Aug. 1, 2015, the university said in a statement.
“The Rider opportunity is an exciting one, and I am honored to have been selected to lead this outstanding university,” said Dell’Omo, 59.
Current Rider President Mordechai Rozanksi announced in January that he would retire after completing his twelfth year leading the university.
Rozanski had intended to retire earlier, but was persuaded by the university’s board of trustees remain through Rider’s 150th anniversary celebration this year.
“I know that Rider’s leadership team, the board of trustees and the University community will work with Greg to shape a new and compelling vision for Rider’s future,” Rozanski said. “In the meantime, I look forward to continuing our work together over the next eight months to complete the important tasks still remaining and ensure a smooth leadership transition.”
Dell’Omo was selected by the university’s presidential search committee, chaired by Michael Kennedy, chairman of Rider’s board of trustees.
The committee, which included trustees, faculty and administrative staff, interviewed representatives of different campus groups to determine what they would look for in a new president.
They determined that among other factors, they wanted to hire someone who had demonstrated experience in working programs similar to Rider and with experience in both fundraising and facility development, Kennedy said.
“I am certain that Greg is the right candidate who will provide the direction and vision required to continue the momentum Rider has experienced over the past decades, while leading our university into the bright future our community deserves,” Kennedy said.
Dell’Omo’s experience leading a college with similar goals to Rider in terms of growth in both academic programs and student enrollment made him desirable for the university.
“It was just a clear choice, he’s a good fit for Rider,” Kennedy said.
The university pointed to the change in academic and residential enrollment numbers at Robert Morris University during Dell’Omo’s decade as president as a main example of his ability to transform a college.
In 2005, 1,140 students lived on the Robert Morris campus. That number has increased to 1,990 this fall. Over that same period, full-time undergraduate enrollment has grown from 2,928 to 3,968, the university said.
Dell’Omo said that he actually considered going to Rider when he was preparing to attend college in the 1970s before opting for Montclair State. He said he has seen the school’s evolution from afar.
“I’ve been impressed with what they’ve done over the years,” Dell’Omo said.
When the position opened up, Dell’Omo investigated the university further.
“I got more and more interested as I talked to more people at the university,” Dell’Omo said. “There’s clearly an eagerness to continue the growth of the university.”
Dell’Omo said he plans to focus on creating a more holistic college experience for traditional students while expanding resources for non-traditional students. He also thinks that the university can expand its program of online courses.
The new president said he was happy with his position at Robert Morris, but saw that he would be able to do similar work at Rider while moving closer to his extended family living in New Jersey.