It was a celebration of academia as students, alumni, board of trustee and faculty members filed into the Center for Sports and Recreation at Adelphi University to honor the college’s 10th president and first female president, Christine M. Riordan, PhD. The inauguration also included sentiments from esteemed colleagues and personal friends of Riordan, as well as Sen. Chuck Schumer.
The theme of the inauguration fell in line with Adelphi’s promise of being a “modern university with deep roots.” The university has not seen a female president in the past 120 years and has embraced the idea of change as a prospective towards a better future. Chairman of the Adelphi University Board of Trustees Robert B. Willumstad said that this is the direction the university needs to go.
“It’s a big change for this place because the prior president had been here for 15 years. The fact that she’s a woman, well I think she will bring a different approach to it,” said Willumstad. “Not that there’s anything wrong with the past but if you don’t change, you don’t survive.”
Adelphi University’s student government president Malik Clarke also said that change was inevitable.
“It is ironic that it is Women’s History Month, but I think that it just speaks to Adelphi and the direction that we’re moving,” said Clarke. “It attracts the great crowd that Adelphi needs.”
Riordan, former provost for the University of Kentucky and dean of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, will act as successor to the university’s previous president Robert A. Scott. Riordan has published more than 60 press and business articles during her lifetime and serves as a member of the board of directors for the National Chorale and the Long Island Association (LIA) among others.
Dean of the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences at Binghamton University, Anne McCall, PhD, said that Riordan is a “comprehensive, bold thinker, with the knowledge and the conceptual understanding to be able to do something with these great thoughts. Christine Riordan embodies integrity: she’s honest, she’s forthright and you can trust her. She will do what is right even when it’s unpopular.”
Schumer also stopped by to congratulate Riordan on her accomplishment and offer a moment of praise.
“She was a leader. Right away you can tell that she cares about the students and cares about the community,” said Schumer. “With all her other talents, the concern for the people she was going to lead was probably number one. And that impressed me.”
Riordan’s inauguration speech highlighted some of the issues she wants to address during her presidency, including enlightening people on the importance of education and creating a more harmonious campus environment where everyone feels integrated.
“The transition into the university is what starts [students] into their paths of success and all students who come out of high school know that change is hard,” said Riordan. “I think ways in which we can support that transition, whether it’s simply through an orientation program…or one of these specialty pathway programs is really is our obligation. We know that if students start off well in their first year, they’re more likely to stay in school and they’re more likely to graduate.”
Riordan also touched on other issues she will be tackling, such as getting students more financial assistance, developing new programs and supporting faculty members. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rahmat Shoureshi, PhD, also touched on the theme of support as he congratulated Riordan and illuminated the essence of the event in his speech.
“It is really times like this that I so enjoy the world of academia because we come together to celebrate the accomplishments of our colleagues,” said Shoureshi.