RMU President Gregory G. Dell'Omo offers some insights about the logistical and organizational challenges when a small, private university sets out to lure the NCAA championship machine to town, and explains why it's worth the enormous effort.
Gregory G. Dell'Omo, Ph.D. has been president of Robert Morris University since 2005. Taking the reins of the university during a period of unparalleled growth, Dell'Omo quickly developed a clear vision for RMU as a place that provides transformational experiences for students through engaged learning. The university articulated this vision in its 2007 strategic plan, which spelled out RMU's six core values: academic excellence, professional focus, engaged learning, global perspective, individuals matter, and changing lives. These values are reflected in the university's increased emphasis during Dell'Omo's presidency on internationalism in student experiences, faculty research, and academic programs.
During Dell'Omo's tenure, Robert Morris's endowment has grown from $16 million to $26 million. The university recently concluded a $40 million fundraising campaign, the largest in its history. Gifts include $5 million from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and $900,000 from The Heinz Endowments to launch the RMU Research Center on Black Male Educational Student Success.
Other achievements include creation of the Student Engagement Program and Transcript, and an increase in the number of RMU students studying abroad, as well as in the number of international students studying at RMU. Under Dell'Omo, the university added several degree programs and expanded its honors program. RMU also has experienced tremendous enrollment growth: a 38-percent increase in freshman enrollment and a 3.7-percent increase in graduate enrollment since 2006. Nearly 60 percent of students now live on campus.
Dell'Omo has overseen a transformation of RMU's 230-acre campus, part of a 20-year master plan developed in conjunction with the strategic plan. Highlights include the construction of new buildings for the School of Business and School of Communications and Information Systems; apartment-style residence halls; a nursing simulation laboratory; and renovated dining, athletic, and recreational facilities.
He sits on the boards of the Magee-Women's Hospital Foundation, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Pennsylvania Economy League of Southwestern Pennsylvania. He is secretary/treasurer of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania and chairman of the Presidents' Council of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education. He is also chair of the Finance Committee of the Pennsylvania Campus Compact and a member of the major gifts committee of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is chairman of the Northeast Conference Presidents' Council and previously represented the Northeast Conference on the NCAA DI Board of Directors. He is a member of the NCAA's Presidents' Advisory Group and the Football Championship Subdivision CEO Group.