Tompkins Weekly Staff
ITHACA – Shirley Collado will be the ninth president of Ithaca College, starting July 1.
The announcement was made last week, with Collado introduced at a press conference that also was livestreamed. She currently serves as executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer at Rutgers University–Newark.
“I am proud to welcome Shirley Collado to Ithaca College as our next president,” said Thomas Grape (’80), chairman of the board of trustees, in a prepared statement. “The breadth and caliber of her experience in student and faculty development, her strength in large-scale strategic planning, her commitment to shared governance, and her track record of bringing people together to solve problems and get results make her the perfect leader to shape the next chapter of this college’s history.”
Collado will succeed Thomas Rochon, who has served as president of Ithaca College since 2008.
The board’s unanimous approval followed the recommendation of Collado by a presidential search committee that formed in March 2016.
“The committee has done an outstanding job,” said Grape in a statement. “We owe them a debt of gratitude for their thoughtfulness and commitment.”
In her brief remarks at the press conference, Collado spoke of the college’s “transformative history,” and said it has “enormous opportunity” to be a “community of character development.”
“As higher education and our nation face a sea change of complicated challenges, it’s dynamic undergraduate residential colleges like Ithaca College that have tremendous opportunity to push discourse,” she said.
Collado is a daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, a subject she touched on during her speech.
“As a daughter of Dominican immigrants, being the first person in my family to attend college and finish strong was a really big deal,” she said. “That’s why this moment, for me, for my family and for so many, means a tremendous amount.”
An expert in organizational behavior and development, Collado has held executive leadership roles in higher education for more than 16 years at private and public institutions, as well as in the non-profit sector. Trained as a clinical psychologist at Duke University, Collado specializes in the intersection of race, ethnicity and gender in trauma experiences and treatment.
She has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including New York University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, the New School, Middlebury College, and Lafayette College. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in human and organizational development and psychology from Vanderbilt University, and Master and Doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Duke University.
Prior to her appointment at Rutgers University–Newark, Collado served as vice president for student affairs and dean of the college at Middlebury. During her time there, Collado led the transformation of the Center for Careers and Internships, the development of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, the strengthening of the residential life experience, the development of forward-looking sexual misconduct and judicial policies, and the overhaul of a new student orientation program, which earned national recognition.
A member of The Posse Foundation’s first cohort of students, Collado is the first Posse Scholar to complete a doctoral degree. The Posse Foundation recruits and trains outstanding student leaders from urban public schools and sends them in diverse teams, or “posses,” to attend top colleges and universities in the United States.
Collado is also the first Posse Scholar to serve as a trustee on the board of an institution of higher education. She currently serves as an officer of the Board of Trust at her alma mater, Vanderbilt University. She also serves as a trustee for Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City.
Collado eventually went on to serve as The Posse Foundation’s executive vice president. She credits her experience with informing much of her future approach to leadership.
“What I experienced during my four years as a Posse Scholar was the transformational power of collaboration – of creating opportunity by forming a network of diverse people supporting one another to achieve success,” said Collado in a statement. “Together, we learned how to bring out the best in one another, seek common ground, bring our whole selves into our work, and take risks that enabled us to achieve more than we might have tried on our own. Those are the same lessons I try to impart in my students and colleagues, and the principles I use every day to help me lead with authenticity, courage, and purpose.”
Collado is married to A. Van Jordan, an award-winning poet. Jordan, who currently serves as the Henry Rutgers Presidential Professor in the Department of English at Rutgers University–Newark, will be rejoining the University of Michigan in the fall as a Collegiate Professor in the Department of English. He also will hold an appointment as distinguished visiting professor at Ithaca College, where he will teach occasional minicourses and master classes.
“My husband, Van, and I can’t be more excited about joining the community in this robust town,” Collado said. “I believe the college – and I – are at a pivotal moment together, not just for this college, but for the future of our nation and for the future of higher education.
“I take that responsibility very seriously, and I can’t wait to officially join this community in July,” she added.