Ryan Lombardi named VP for student and campus life

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ITHACA, N.Y. – Ryan T. Lombardi, vice president for student affairs at Ohio University, has been named Cornell’s vice president for student and campus life. Lombardi’s appointment was approved by the Executive Committee of the Cornell Board of Trustees, and he will assume his new position Aug. 1.

As chief student affairs officer since 2012, Lombardi leads Ohio University’s wide-ranging student-centered offices, including the Office of the Dean of Students, residential housing, Greek life, health promotion, counseling and psychological services, student organizations, campus recreation, campus code of conduct, community service, career and leadership development, parent outreach, and event services. Prior to his current position, Lombardi served as associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Ohio University since 2008.

“I am pleased to welcome Ryan Lombardi to Cornell’s leadership team,” said Cornell President-elect Elizabeth Garrett, who will take office July 1. “Ryan is a creative thinker and educational innovator with a genuine regard and respect for students, and a track record of collaborations between student and campus life activities and faculty. Throughout his career he has worked to develop opportunities for students to engage with each other and their communities in meaningful ways. Ryan’s broad experience will be key in helping propel the university’s mission forward.”

“I am delighted to be joining the Cornell community,” Lombardi said. “Throughout the search process it was evident that the students, faculty and staff are among the very best in the nation and that Cornell is a special institution. I look forward to working alongside students and the dedicated team in Student and Campus Life to continue facilitating a world-class learning environment.

Cornell’s vice president for student and campus life provides strategic leadership to one of the campus’s largest divisions, with nearly 4,000 staff and student employees. The unit provides comprehensive services to undergraduate and graduate students, including housing and dining, academic and career services, athletics and physical education, health services, and community and public engagement opportunities.

President David J. Skorton, who will be leaving the university June 30, said: “I congratulate the search committee on the excellent recommendation of Ryan Lombardi to succeed Vice President Susan Murphy as the new senior leader of this critical division, responsible for so many aspects of the Cornell student experience. Ryan is a proven leader at Ohio University, a multi-campus, public research university with 39,000 students. He brings an enthusiasm and dedication to this important role that all Cornellians will appreciate.”

Murphy will be stepping down June 30, and Associate Vice President Kellie Page will serve as interim vice president until Lombardi arrives.

“Following a nationwide, comprehensive search, Ryan Lombardi was the clear choice of the committee,” said Kathryn Boor, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and search committee chair. “I was impressed with the depth and diversity of the candidates that Cornell drew for this key leadership position. I thank the members of the committee for their tireless work in finding the right candidate for this critical position.”

Among his accomplishments at Ohio University, Lombardi oversaw the design, construction and operation of a $13 million multipurpose recreational facility and launched a 10-year, $300 million housing master plan that will include new construction or renovation of more than 60 percent of total housing capacity.

Lombardi transformed a traditional career services office into the Career and Leadership Development Center, where students learn skills in professional preparation and leadership starting in their first year on campus. He also implemented the university’s inaugural parents program.

Lombardi revised student sexual misconduct procedures, implemented a universitywide honor code, and is implementing a preferred name and pronoun policy for students.

He created a series of forums for dialogue on such issues as sexual violence, international politics and racial dynamics in America, and he supported the implementation of risk reduction programs that have contributed to a 40 percent decline in alcohol-related conduct violations and a 19 percent reduction in high-risk drinking behaviors among students.

Before joining Ohio University, Lombardi was an assistant and associate dean of students at Duke University from 2001-08. He also worked in residence life at Colorado College.

Lombardi received his bachelor’s degree in music education from West Chester University in 1997 and a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Kansas in 1999. He completed a doctorate in higher education administration at North Carolina State University in 2013. He holds an academic appointment as affiliated faculty in the Patton College of Education at Ohio University.

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