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RMU Board of Trustees Inks New Deal with President

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pittsburgh – The Robert Morris University Board of Trustees has approved a new five-year contract for university President Gregory G. Dell’Omo, who has overseen a historic transformation of RMU’s Moon Township campus.

Dell’Omo has been president of RMU since 2005. During that time, the university has enjoyed a rising academic reputation, dramatically increased the number of students living on campus, and launched a student engagement program that has impacted all aspects of campus life. Dell’Omo credits a strong sense of institutional identity among faculty and staff, and their embrace of RMU’s core values.

“We have had a strong vision and a strategic plan that we followed. We actually achieved what we set out to do in our plan and we are poised to build on this success as we continue to elevate the academic reputation of this wonderful university,” said Dell’Omo.

RMUVerticalImagesPresidentThis latest agreement between Dell’Omo and the board is effective as of Sept. 25 and runs through May 31, 2017. It comes on the heels of the university's completing its $40 million capital campaign, the largest in RMU’s 91-year history and a symbol of how the university has evolved under Dell’Omo’s leadership. The campaign paid for two new academic buildings, contributed to a 63 percent climb in the value of RMU’s endowment, added 30 endowed scholarships, and created the RMU Research Center on Black Male Educational Student Success.

“The university has changed in so many ways under Greg’s leadership. It’s easy to see the physical changes. It’s less apparent, but just as real, how Robert Morris has changed the way it thinks of itself and the way the community has changed what it thinks of Robert Morris,” said Gary Claus, chairman of the RMU Board of Trustees and a 1974 Robert Morris graduate.

Perhaps nothing epitomizes the changing character of the RMU campus than an almost 60 percent increase in the number of students living at the Moon campus during Dell'Omo's tenure: 1,800 students today, compared to 1,140 when Dell’Omo took office. The growth in residential enrollment has even outpaced the significant increase in full-time undergraduate enrollment, which is up 25 percent to 3,647 from 2,928 under Dell’Omo. At the same time, average GPA and SAT scores of entering students have increased, and RMU has climbed 46 places in the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

RMU's transformation to a residential campus reflects new and renovated campus housing, but also the increased emphasis on student engagement and campus life that is at the heart of Dell’Omo’s legacy and is encapsulated in the Student Engagement Transcript (SET), which the university instituted in 2008.

The SET, unique among universities in the Pittsburgh region, formally documents students’ participation in activities outside the classroom that include community service, study abroad, campus leadership, athletics, and professional experiences. All RMU undergraduate students must complete faculty-sanctioned activities in at least two of the SET’s six major categories. Claus said it gives RMU graduates a competitive edge when seeking jobs.

“He’s created a transformational experience for our students. The culture has changed. It’s now a 24/7 campus. It’s much more engaging for our students,” said John Michalenko, vice president for student life.

Dell’Omo also has sought to bolster RMU’s academic reputation, and during his tenure the university has strengthened its honors program, hired talented faculty, 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 5 percent of business schools worldwide. RMU also was one of the first 10 institutions in North America to be named a Center of Actuarial Excellence for its actuarial science program.

Total enrollment today tops 5,100 students, including graduate and doctoral programs as well as a growing number of online programs for adult students. Over the summer, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaffirmed RMU’s accreditation through 2022. RMU also has wrapped up its most recent five-year strategic plan and is in the early stages of developing a new one.

“There is a lot more work to be done, and we want Greg to lead it. He sets examples and he demonstrates to those who work for him the message we are trying to send,” said Claus.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.