A Message of Support for President Shirley M. Collado

The following is a message from the Ithaca College Board of Trustees. A related message from President Shirley M. Collado can be found here.

President Collado has the full support of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees. Since becoming president of Ithaca College, Dr. Shirley M. Collado has proven to be a great leader, demonstrating not only her commitment to students, faculty, and the broader college community but also to an openness and inclusiveness that are important assets for our institution moving forward. One of the things that set Dr. Collado apart during the search process was her compelling personal and professional story, which included not only significant accomplishments in her work life but also a background of achievement and overcoming individual challenges that made her the right choice for a college like Ithaca at this time.

The board of trustees, with the assistance of our search consultant Spencer Stuart, conducted extensive due diligence as part of our final candidate vetting process. This thorough background check included a leadership profile analysis and reference checks with a number of individuals we identified as having knowledge of her skills, character, leadership style, and accomplishments.

During the process, we learned of a legal action brought against Dr. Collado, nearly 20 years ago. We were provided with detailed information regarding this situation, and Dr. Collado was extremely forthright in answering all our questions. Then, as now, she vehemently denied the allegations that were made against her. She discussed at length the incredibly difficult circumstances she was facing at the time, and we came to understand the courage with which she navigated the tragic loss of her husband and the devastation of accusations leveled in this vulnerable moment. We know that her decision to resolve the legal action quickly was an extremely difficult one, made on the advice of legal counsel, to try to gain a sense of closure at a very fraught time for her.

As part of the search process, many people who knew or worked with Dr. Collado throughout her career provided answers to a wide range of questions that we had, including on the legal action. Their responses reinforced to us that Dr. Collado had the experience, drive, and personal qualities to make an exceptional president for our college.

It is important to note that, in addition to providing us with details on the incident, she proactively discussed it in an interview that was published by the college last March, shortly after she was announced as our next president. That interview remains publicly available on the Office of the President website.

It is evident that Dr. Collado’s subsequent life experiences, her professional successes, and her empathetic nature demonstrate resilience of character and an ability to both learn and grow from an extremely challenging set of circumstances.

As we stated earlier, Dr. Collado has our full support. She was the right choice when she was named president of Ithaca College last year, and her first six months in office have only reinforced our belief in what an exceptional person and leader she truly is.