Shirley M. Collado served as the ninth president of Ithaca College from July 2017 through August 2021. Dr. Collado is the first person of color to serve as president of Ithaca College, and the first Dominican American in the United States to serve as president of a four-year institution. Upon the conclusion of her presidency, the Ithaca College Board of Trustees conferred upon her the title of president emerita.
In January 2022, Dr. Collado began her tenure as president and CEO of College Track, a comprehensive college completion program that equips students confronting systemic barriers with the tools and resources to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Dr. Collado led Ithaca College through a dynamic and challenging time, marked by the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic; national and global civil action and unrest around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the widespread recognition of the vulnerability of the traditional business model for higher education, particularly for enrollment-driven private, residential institutions such as Ithaca College.
The creation and implementation of Ithaca Forever, the college’s five-year strategic plan, is a hallmark of Dr. Collado’s leadership at IC. Ithaca Forever resulted in transformative change at the college in keeping with the institution’s vision of being a global destination for bold thinkers seeking to build thriving communities and proved to be a critical tool in the college’s ability to withstand the disruption of COVID-19.
Dr. Collado placed a high priority on representing the values of Ithaca College on campus and on a national stage, those values being academic excellence, respect and accountability, innovation, sustainability, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a first-generation college student and the daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Dr. Collado served as a persistent champion of students and families from all walks of life, using her voice and her presidency to advocate on behalf of equity in all forms and the responsibility of the higher education sector, in particular, to examine existing structures and barriers that prevent full participation on campuses and in our communities at large.
The impact of Dr. Collado’s legacy remains evident on IC’s campus, notably through the Dr. Shirley M. Collado and A. Van Jordan Endowed Scholarship, established by the board of trustees in 2021, which supports first-generation students seeking to attend Ithaca College, and the President Shirley M. Collado Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Ithaca College Community, which recognizes Ithaca College faculty members who exemplify Dr. Collado’s vision of excellence in education through an inclusive approach to teaching, research and leadership in the classroom, on campus, and in the community.
Prior to joining the Ithaca College community, Dr. Collado served as executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer at Rutgers University–Newark, dean of the college and vice president for student affairs at Middlebury, and as the executive vice president of Posse, one of the most comprehensive college-access programs in the country.
Dr. 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 married to A. Van Jordan, an award-winning poet.