Rochon Completes Term as Eighth President

At the end of May, just a few short days after he ushers the members of the class of 2017 into their post–Ithaca College lives, President Thomas R. Rochon will conclude his term as the college’s eighth president. This ninth graduating class under his tenure is historic: it is the inaugural class for the college’s Integrative Core Curriculum (ICC), a foundational component of the IC 20/20 Strategic Plan.

The ICC is the most significant of many noteworthy IC 20/20 objectives. It is a completely new education structure that creates a general education based on collaboration across disciplines. Through the ICC, faculty create innovative, intentional opportunities that encourage students to apply a multidisciplinary perspective to real-word topics and challenges. Faculty and staff further enrich these perspectives through the First-Year Residential Experience, whose design bridges the academic and residential aspects of college life. The promise of this approach fulfills the college’s mission to prepare students for professional challenges and encourages them to be lifelong learners.

Seeking to increase the quality of an IC education was the top priority for Rochon. But he also poured time and energy into efforts to keep the cost of an IC education affordable for students and their families. It’s a simple formula on paper: Value equals Quality divided by Cost. The challenge, however, is getting that equation to balance while initiating new programs and curriculum. This effort required fiscal discipline from the entire campus community—a lofty goal that Rochon saw as attainable. “We found in many cases that we could improve quality without increasing cost to students. It is a matter of being intentional in how you deploy resources,” he said.

Under Rochon’s leadership, the rate of tuition increase has steadily declined each year since 2012. For the next academic year, 2017–18, the college has set the tuition increase at 2.48 percent, a historic 50-year low.

Reflecting on his nine years on South Hill, Rochon mused, “Ithaca College is a very special educational environment centered on student learning and development, and committed to the highest ideals of creating an inclusive community of justice and respect. It has been a privilege to lead the college through a time of challenge and change.”