About Thomas R. Rochon

Thomas R. Rochon became the eighth president of Ithaca College on July 1, 2008. He holds a doctorate and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Michigan, where he graduated with high distinction.

As Ithaca College president, he has driven transformational change and positioned the institution as a national leader in private higher education, including:

  • Working with faculty and administrators to develop and implement the IC 20/20 strategic plan, a comprehensive initiative that includes the establishment of the innovative Integrative Core Curriculum, Center for Faculty Excellence, Academic Advising Center, IC Mentoring Network, and New York City study program;
  • Driving to improve the quality of an IC education while reducing expenses, which has resulted in the lowest annual tuition increases in the college's history; and
  • Leading the college through a challenging economic climate to emerge stronger, through alumni engagement and by strengthening the endowment to help provide for student scholarships and to secure the college's financial future.

Additionally, 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 the college's benchmark five years ahead of its set goal.

In its first-ever ranking of colleges and universities last fall, The Economist listed Ithaca College at no. 47 in the country for providing value to its graduates. U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked Ithaca in the top 10 among colleges of its kind in the North, and named it one of the "best values" for providing a quality education at an affordable cost. 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."

President Rochon recently announced his plans to retire in the summer of 2017. During his remaining months in office, he will work toward reestablishing a stronger and more unified sense of the educational vision and cultural values that make Ithaca College so distinctively excellent.

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 and, with the chief administrative officer, shared responsibility for the $150 million university budget. He worked to develop the academic vision of each unit and to set strategic directions; reorganized academic programs to create the School of Engineering; and helped launch a capital campaign centered on endowment support of students and faculty. An engaged civic leader, he championed a university effort to strengthen community service and partnership activities in Minneapolis–St. Paul, leading to Carnegie Foundation classification for community engagement. Along with his administrative responsibilities, he was a tenured professor in St. Thomas's political science department.

President Rochon has an extensive history of accomplishments as an educator and academic administrator. Before his position at St. Thomas, he was executive director of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) program at the Educational Testing Service (ETS), where he was responsible for determining program policy under the oversight of the board and the ETS vice president for graduate and professional education. He guided the addition of analytical writing to the test, the first use of an essay in the GRE program; he also developed and implemented a program to empower universities to create their own test prep courses for graduate programs.

He has held positions in the top leadership at prominent universities: dean of the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University and assistant master of Mathey College at Princeton University. He also held the post of assistant professor in the politics department at Princeton University for seven years.

President Rochon came to Ithaca College with a distinguished record of scholarly research. His work focuses on contemporary European politics and 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.

Since childhood he has been an avid baseball card collector. He developed an interest in older cards, including those dating from the 1880s, and is an active user of the eBay online auction site.

President Rochon and his wife, Amber, have two sons.