Shirley M. Collado is the ninth president of Ithaca College. She is known nationally for designing and implementing innovative approaches to higher education that expand student access and success, and has extensive experience overseeing complex not-for-profit organizations in both the private and public sectors of higher education. She is a national thought leader on developing successful cross-sector collaborations, building the capacity of equity, inclusion, and full participation in organizations, and strengthening the pathway to the professoriate and leadership roles in higher education.

President Collado brings this inclusive, visionary approach to her leadership at Ithaca College. In her first year at IC, she launched two innovative efforts to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration and develop the talent of faculty, staff, and students: the President’s Seed Grant Initiative, which awarded grants to interdisciplinary teams for projects that enriched the campus community, and the President’s Fellows Program, which saw two faculty, two staff members, and two students move into positions outside of their typical professional or academic environment for one academic year.

Additionally, under President Collado’s direction, the Ithaca College community launched a strategic planning process in the 2018-19 academic year, focused on creating a foundational blueprint for the future of the college that ensures a transformative student experience within a diverse, inclusive, and equitable learning community.

In partnership with a dynamic and bold senior leadership team, President Collado is dedicated to igniting creativity and full participation within the campus community, a continuation of her professional journey in higher education and the non-profit sector.

President Collado took office on July 1, 2017. She also serves as a professor in Ithaca College's Department of Psychology.

Executive Experience

Prior to joining the Ithaca College community, President Collado served as executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer at Rutgers University–Newark. In this critical role, she led the implementation of key elements of the university’s strategic plan and oversaw academic affairs, student affairs, and core institutional operations including academic services, enrollment services, student life, human resources, facilities, information technology, and budget and finance. She worked to align many of the functions of those offices to increase inclusiveness and student success. She also continued her research and teaching pursuits at Rutgers-Newark as a faculty member of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology with an affiliation in the Department of Psychology.

Before her appointment at Rutgers-Newark, President Collado served at Middlebury College as vice president for student affairs and dean of the college, and associate professor of psychology. She oversaw and supported a dynamic student body and academic community while managing numerous departments and offices. She successfully led transformative initiatives that strengthened the residential life experience for students; earned national recognition for an overhaul to the new-student orientation program; and developed forward-looking sexual misconduct and judicial policies.

Before joining Middlebury College, President Collado served as the executive vice president of Posse, where she significantly grew the organization and managed operations on a national level. A not-for-profit organization and one of the most comprehensive college-access programs in the country, Posse identifies, recruits, and trains outstanding youth leaders from urban public schools and sends them in diverse teams, called “posses,” to top colleges and universities around the country.

Demonstrating Innovative Leadership

At Rutgers, President Collado led the development of the Honors Living-Learning Community, a residential honors community aimed at attracting and supporting talented students who may be overlooked by traditional honors programs. Together, cohorts of students join an intergenerational learning community composed of students, faculty, and community partners focused on tackling some of the nation’s most pressing social issues through an innovative curriculum centered on local citizenship in a global world.

President Collado has a track record of securing support from national foundations that are focused on innovative and cross-institutional initiatives. For example, the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, which she founded in 2016, is a college-access and social justice initiative between Ithaca College, California State University–Fullerton, Colby-Sawyer College, The College of Saint Rose, Middlebury College, Rutgers University–Newark, Smith College, and the University of Connecticut.

The program aims to create greater access for cohorts of young women to higher education and to develop a culturally competent and successful intergenerational network of successful women leaders, change agents, and mentors from all backgrounds. This cross-institutional program was initially supported by a $5.4 million grant from Helen Gurley Brown’s Pussycat Foundation, and Ithaca College recently received renewed funding from the foundation to support the second year of its BOLD program.

Another example is the Creating Connections Consortium (C3), one of the most innovative faculty diversity initiatives in higher education. President Collado designed and led the launch of C3 in 2012 with a $4.7 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As principle investigator for the new consortium, she enabled C3 to build a dynamic partnership that strengthened diversity and innovation, and broadened the pathway to the professoriate for underrepresented graduate students—including minority, first-generation, and low-income students—through enhanced interactions between liberal arts colleges and research universities. C3 continues to thrive with additional funding from the Mellon Foundation.

Additionally, she co-founded (in 2007) and co-led (until 2014) the national organization of Liberal Arts Diversity Officers, a national consortium that promotes the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion in support of academic excellence at liberal arts colleges.

Education and Scholarship

President Collado received her undergraduate degree in human and organizational development and psychology from Vanderbilt University in 1994, and earned MA and PhD degrees in clinical psychology from Duke University. She is a clinical psychologist with a specialty in trauma among multicultural populations at the intersection of race, ethnicity, and gender.

She has taught at a number of colleges and universities including New York University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, the New School, Middlebury College, and Lafayette College. A national thought leader on diversity, collaboration, and innovation, she has delivered numerous keynote addresses and presentations, facilitated workshops and trainings, consulted on initiatives with many organizations, and received several awards.

Along with Angela Batista, Champlain College’s vice president of student life, and David Perez II, associate professor of student affairs in higher education at Miami University of Ohio, President Collado co-edited a book, Latinx/a/os in Higher Education: Exploring Identity, Pathways, and Success, released in early 2018. The collection of essays open a critical dialogue around the ways in which higher education can cultivate the right set of conditions to diversify pathways to success in anticipation of the shifting demographics of the United States.

Personal Life

President Collado is the Brooklyn-born daughter of Dominican immigrants and is herself a member of Posse’s inaugural class of students and the first person in her family to undergo the transformative experience of college matriculation and graduation. She is also the first Posse scholar to receive a doctoral degree and become a trustee of an institution of higher education—her alma mater, Vanderbilt University.

She is married to A. Van Jordan, an award-winning poet. Jordan serves as the Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan in the Department of English Language & Literature. He also holds an appointment as distinguished visiting professor at Ithaca College.

Service, Accolades and Select Publications


Member, Board of Trust, Vanderbilt University

  • Chair, Academic and Student Affairs Committee
  • Member, Executive Committee and Governance and Trustee Affairs Committee

Founding Member, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration

Member, The Presidents’ Trust, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Member, Council of Presidents, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges


City & State Higher Education Power 100 List, 2021

Helen Gurley Brown Magic Grant Recipient, 2016

Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellow, 2016

Peabody Distinguished Alumna Award (Vanderbilt University), 2015

The Posse Foundation Alumni Star Award, 1994

Vanderbilt University Kudos Award, 1994

Vanderbilt University Rob Roy Purdy Award, 1992

Select Publications

Collado, S.M., Batista, A., Perez, D. (2018) Latinx in Higher Education: Exploring Identity, Pathways and Success.

Dominguez McNeilly, E., Lein, B., Collado, S. and Dominguez McNeilly, M. (1997) Issues Facing Latino Immigrants and their Resident Communities: A Culturally Sensitive Community-Building Model. The Community Psychologist.

Dominguez McNeilly, M., Robinson, E.L., Anderson, N.B., Pieper, C.F., Shah, A., Toth, P.S., Martin, P., Jackson, D., Saulter, T.D., White, C., Kuchibatla, M., Collado, S.M., and Gerin, W. (1995). Effects of racist provocation and social support on cardiovascular reactivity in African American women. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.


The inauguration of Shirley M. Collado as Ithaca College’s ninth president took place on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Activities throughout the weekend of November 3-5, 2017, a celebration of the college’s 125th anniversary, honored the college’s deep roots as a place where theory, practice, and performance spark innovation and collaboration.

Presidential Search

The Ithaca College Board of Trustees launched a national search for the college’s ninth president. The board retained responsibility for choosing the next president, but committed to an inclusive search process with a search committee composed of trustees, faculty, students, and staff that solicited input from the campus community and alumni.

On February 22, 2017, Shirley M. Collado was named the next president of Ithaca College.