Robert Morris University

Robert Morris University Names Dr. Michelle Patrick Its Next President

Patrick, formerly dean of the RMU School of Business, is RMU’s ninth president and its first woman to serve as president.

Michelle Patrick

Dr. Michelle L. Patrick will be the ninth president of Robert Morris University and the first woman to serve as the university’s president. Patrick becomes president effective immediately.

“After a thorough and complete search process that included broad representation from our university community, we are confident we have the perfect leader who embraces the values and mission of RMU and its rich, successful history -- but also has a powerful vision of what the future of RMU can become for our region’s future leaders,” said Morgan O’Brien ’82 M’85, chair of the RMU Board of Trustees.

Patrick, who for six years was the dean of the RMU School of Business, had served as interim president since April, upon the retirement of Interim President and Provost Mary Ann Rafoth. Former President Chris Howard departed in February for a leadership role at Arizona State University.

During her tenure as the interim president, Patrick emphasized the importance of organizational culture and providing excellent service to students, efforts she pledged to prioritize as the university’s ninth president. Just last week, RMU became the first university in western Pennsylvania to have its accounting program accredited by AACSB International, a reflection of the work done by Patrick in her previous role as the dean of the RMU School of Business.

“I am truly honored to be chosen as the ninth president of Robert Morris University. Although RMU has a beautiful campus and state-of-the-art facilities, it is the students, alumni, faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees that make RMU such a special place,” said Patrick. “It is the passionate dedication of these groups that ensures ongoing student success.”

Patrick became dean of the RMU School of Business in 2016, and the culture of change and innovation that she sparked there is typified by the transformation of the MBA program, which was recently ranked No. 15 in the nation among online MBA programs by Fortune Magazine.

Under Patrick’s leadership, the school achieved reaffirmation of its prestigious AACSB accreditation; developed innovative new certificate and degree programs; launched the Center for Sales Excellence and the Rockwell Fellowship in Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and re-established the Massey Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Each of these initiatives provides students with valuable real-world experiences and strengthens RMU’s ties to the regional business community.

“The selection of Dr. Michelle Patrick as Robert Morris University’s ninth president and first female president will provide the university with the leadership necessary to continue to empower our students to thrive and our community to benefit from an institution that is ‘Big enough to matter, small enough to care,’” said Carrie Coghill ’08, chair of the Presidential Search Committee of the RMU Board of Trustees, and the board’s vice chair.

Prior to joining RMU, Patrick served as dean of the College of Business and Public Management at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She earned a B.S. in marketing and an MBA from Youngstown State University, and a Ph.D. in marketing from Kent State University. Patrick and her husband, Ron, live in Sewickley.

“I look forward to leading RMU – which just celebrated its 100th anniversary – and working collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure that RMU continues to thrive into the next 100 years and beyond,” said Patrick.