Adelphi University President Robert Scott to step down

Adelphi University president Robert Scott addresses graduates during Adelphi University president Robert Scott addresses graduates during commencement ceremonies at Nassau Coliseum on May 19, 2013. Scott, 74, who has led the private 6,700-student university for 14 years, announced Wednesday, March 26, 2014, that he will step down from his role as top administrator on July 1, 2015. Photo Credit: James Escher

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Adelphi University president Robert Scott announced he will step down as top administrator of the Garden City institution on July 1, 2015.

Scott, 74, was appointed president of the private, 6,700-student university in 2000. When he leaves the post next summer, he plans to take a sabbatical and return to assume the title of president emeritus and university professor, likely teaching a course in ethics and leadership.

"Fifteen years is a good, long run," Scott said Wednesday. "It's always a good time to go out when the applause is still there."

During his tenure as the school's ninth president, Adelphi's endowment has tripled and undergraduate enrollment has grown by 63 percent, university officials said.

In January, the university reported an endowment worth $160 million. Adelphi's most recent capital campaign ended in August 2012 with $58.5 million, exceeding its goal of $56 million.

Scott was president when the school received two of the largest gifts in its history: $9.5 million from alumna and pharmaceutical company owner Carol Ammon to name the school of education after her late mother, Ruth S. Ammon; and $9.5 million from former student, financial executive and board of trustees chairman Robert B. Willumstad, to name the business school.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

When Scott came to Adelphi, the total full-time student equivalent enrollment, which also counts part-time students, was 4,555. In the 2013-14 academic year, it was 6,745. The undergraduate enrollment was 5,040 at the beginning of the current academic year. Over the same period, full-time faculty positions went from 194 to 340.

Scott said he is committed to overseeing completion of the largest campus project, the Nexus Building and Welcome Center, expected to open in the summer of 2015. The building will house the College of Nursing and Public Health, the Center for Health Innovation, classrooms and nursing labs, as well as student support services, a career center and admissions office, officials said.

Patrick Coonan, the college's dean, said Scott should be credited with the nursing program's success. "When I got here 10 years ago, the nursing school needed a significant amount of help, and he knew it," Coonan said. "He said, 'Whatever you need to do to bring that school back to the status of what it was, I will support you.' "

In 10 years, undergraduate and graduate enrollment in nursing grew from 460 to 1,500, and the number of faculty quadrupled.

The college began a master's in public health program two years ago that now has an enrollment of 30, Coonan said.

In recent years, Scott has published articles on the financial, demographic and technological changes in higher education. He has advocated for more scholarship and financial aid on the state and federal levels, particularly since the recession.

Drew Bogner, president of neighboring Molloy College in Rockville Centre, said Scott "worked diligently to help build a vibrant Long Island and, at the same time, has helped Adelphi to reach even greater heights."

Adelphi's board of trustees will launch a national search for its next president.School officials plan to establish a presidential search committee that will include representatives from the board, faculty and the administration, officials said. The university also will seek the assistance of an executive search firm.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The liberal arts school was chartered in 1896. In addition to its education, nursing and business schools, other programs include the College of Arts and Sciences, Honors College, University College, the School of Social Work and the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies.

The university's board of trustees appointed Scott as president and professor of anthropology and sociology in July 2000. Before coming to Adelphi, he was president of Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah.

The best of Newsday everyday in your inbox. Get the Newsday Now newsletter!

You also may be interested in: