Just over a year after Ithaca College president Tom Rochon announced he would step down, the institution has announced its ninth president, Dr. Shirley Collado.
Board of Trustees chairman Tom Grape, Ithaca College class of 1980, said at an event this morning that “the Board has voted unanimously to select Dr. Shirley Collado as Ithaca College’s 9th president.” She is currently the Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer at Rutgers University.
“I hope you will recognize as we did, that she will be a president for all of Ithaca College’s constituencies,” says presidential search committee chair and trustee James W. Nolan Jr., class of 1977. “It’s a great day to be an Ithaca College Bomber.”
“Shirley was that candidate who felt a little beyond our grasp,” says faculty member Claire Gleitman,” who also served on the search committee. “Shirley came to us with a story that we felt would be both inspirational and moving to our students.” From Brooklyn, Dr. Collado is the daughter of Dominican immigrants, and the first in her family to attend and graduate from college.
Andrew Kosinuk, an IC staff member who served on the search committee, says, “I heard about a statement she made when she was meeting with a group of students. She said, ‘I want every student to be able to see themselves in me.'”
“Congratulations to Ithaca College,” says senior class president and search committee member Ciara Lucas. “What kind of leader would I be looking for as a student here at IC,” she says she had mused. “It was that visibility, that accessibility. We want to be able to have meaningful interactions and conversations with our president.”
“The College and I, to let you know what I’m really thinking, are at a pivotal moment together,” says Dr. Collado. “I take that responsibility very seriously, and I cant wait to officially join this community in July.”
The news comes at a time when Ithaca College finds itself mired in union negotiations with contingent faculty who have voted to authorize actions up to and including a strike, as they press the college for better pay equity between part-time and full-time faculty, and better job security for non-tenure-track lecturers.
Rochon announced last January 14th that he would resign effective July 1st, 2017, saying the time “will enable the board of trustees the necessary time to organize and execute a thoughtful and comprehensive search for my successor.”
A statement from Ithaca College’s Board of Trustees last January said, “The next 18 months are an opportunity for the board, Tom, and the community to collaborate on solutions to campus issues in a way that unites us and enables us to attract a world-class leader as our next president.”
Students and faculty alike had urged Rochon to resign, saying he has failed to address the college’s “problems of institutionalized racism, sexism, and classism,” according to an open letter distributed during the college’s 2015 family weekend. That November, a “solidarity walkout” organized by a group calling itself “People of Color at Ithaca College,” or POC at IC, drew hundreds of IC students out of their classes, as well as dozens of supporters from Cornell.
At the time, Rochon announced his office would create a new Chief Diversity Officer position. “It has become clear to me that, although we have taken some steps in the right direction, I will need the counsel and full-time focus of a strong and experienced leader with deep knowledge in this area in order to make progress with appropriate speed, inclusivity, accountability, and transparency,” the President said in a statement.
Rochon, the eighth president of Ithaca College, took office on July 1st, 2008. He holds a doctorate and bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Collado will take office as Ithaca College’s ninth president on July 1st, 2017.
This story is developing. Rachel Cera contributed reporting.