About Thomas R. Rochon
Thomas R. Rochon has been president of Ithaca College since July 2008. As president, Rochon has driven transformational change focused on increasing educational quality and controlling student tuition costs.
Educational quality initiatives have included efforts to take full advantage of the possibilities inherent in a residential college of 6,000+ students in 100 major fields of study that include both liberal arts and preprofessional programs. Through the IC 20/20 strategic plan, the college has established an innovative Integrative Core Curriculum, created more meaningful linkages between student leadership in campus life and the lessons derived for future success, developed a comprehensive advising system that incorporates professional advisors alongside faculty mentors, linked Ithaca College alumni with present-day students through the IC Mentoring Network, and established a New York City-based program of coursework and related internships that complements existing programs in Los Angeles and London.
Affordability initiatives have included a deep rethinking of the administrative staff structure in order to economize on number of positions, a centralized purchasing program that has saved the college millions of dollars per year, and an aggressive program of increased need-based financial aid. These and related efforts have enabled the college to hold net tuition increases to students to 1.1 percent per year for the last five years, compared to an average of 5 to 6 percent per year for several decades prior to that.
As a result of these efforts, U.S. News & World Report — which has long ranked Ithaca College in the top 10 among colleges of its kind in the North — also has named it one of the "best values" for providing a quality education at an affordable cost. In its first-ever ranking of colleges and universities in fall 2015, the Economist listed Ithaca College at no. 47 in the country for providing value to its graduates. IC has also been listed by Princeton Review as one of the nation's most environmentally responsible colleges, by Campus Pride as one of the "top 25 LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities," and by the health and wellness website Greatist.com as one of the "25 healthiest colleges in the U.S."
In the eight years under his leadership, the percentage of African, Latino(a), Asian, and Native American (ALANA) students at Ithaca College nearly doubled to 20 percent, meeting an objective of the IC 20/20 strategic plan five years ahead of its set goal.
Prior to his selection as the president of Ithaca College, Tom Rochon served as executive vice president and chief academic officer of the University of St. Thomas, a master's comprehensive university in Minnesota, where he oversaw the university's six schools and colleges. He championed a university effort to strengthen community service and partnership activities in Minneapolis–St. Paul, leading to Carnegie Foundation classification for community engagement. He was a member of the faculty at Princeton University and Claremont Graduate University, and while in Claremont also served as dean of the School of Politics and Economics.
President Rochon has also served as executive director of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) program at the Educational Testing Service (ETS), where he guided the addition of analytical writing to the test, the first use of an essay in the GRE program. He made GRE test prep materials freely available online and created a "Train the Trainers" program that enabled universities to develop their own test prep courses.
Rochon holds bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Michigan. His research focus was on contemporary European politics and on social movements in Europe and the United States. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including research grants from the National Science Foundation and the American Philosophical Society, as well as the Susan Louise Dyer Peace Fellowship at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. He was also a Fulbright lecturer at Kobe University in Japan. His 1998 book, Culture Moves: Ideas, Activism, and Changing Values, received a Distinguished Scholarship Prize from the American Sociological Association and was named by Choice an outstanding academic book of 1998. He has given periodic lectures and seminars on Dutch politics for embassy personnel of the U.S. Department of State and has served on numerous advisory and other boards, including the President's Advisory Board of the Universidad Anáhuac México Sur in Mexico City.