Robert A. Scott, Ph.D., was appointed by the Adelphi University Board of Trustees as the ninth President and professor of anthropology and sociology in July 2000. He served in this role through June 30, 2015, when he became president emeritus and university professor. From 1985–2000, he served as president of Ramapo College (New Jersey’s public liberal arts college known as the College of Choice for a Global Education). During this time, he also served as head of the newly formed New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. Earlier, he served as assistant commissioner of higher education in Indiana. He is the only person to hold the three top positions in American higher education: head of a public institution, a state coordinating board and a private university. Dr. Scott holds the Bachelor of Arts degree from Bucknell University (Pennsylvania) and the Ph.D. degree from Cornell University (New York).
Effective July 1, 2015, Dr. Scott will be on a one-year sabbatical leave during which he will be a Frederick Lewis Allen Room Scholar at the New York Public Library. He has been invited to serve as senior visiting research fellow for the Michaelmas Term 2015 at the University of Oxford (October 12 to December 5, 2015) and to give a major lecture at the Rothermere American Institute in late October 2015. In the spring of 2016, he will lecture in Washington, DC, and Japan. An avid photographer, he will have a solo art exhibit at the Huntington (New York) Arts Council, starting September 25, 2015, with other exhibits in Connecticut and New York City under development. On June 30, 2016, Dr. Scott officially retired from Adelphi University.
Dr. Scott is author or editor of often-cited works in the scholarly and popular media, including more than 200 essays and articles, as well as nine books and monographs, and host of a regularly televised program entitled, Exploring Critical Issues, for which he has earned four Telly Awards and a Gold MarCom International Award for excellence in cable television programming.
Dr. Scott is deeply engaged in world affairs. He is a former member and chair of the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Commission on International Education and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has represented the United States in international negotiations with UNESCO, with the Council of Europe and with countries in the Asia/Pacific Region. He served as the United States’ delegate to the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education and, in June 2006, was selected to participate in the International Higher Education Forum held in Strasbourg, France, under the auspices of the Council of Europe. He also has served as invited speaker or participant at conferences in Austria; Canada; the Czech Republic; Britain; Ireland; Scotland; France; Hong Kong; Indonesia; Italy; Japan; the People’s Republic of China; Portugal; the Republic of the Philippines; South Korea; Spain; Switzerland; and throughout the United States. He serves on the advisory board of American Friends of UNESCO.
During his presidency at Adelphi University, more than 300 new faculty were appointed and dozens of new academic programs were added; the first new residence hall in 36 years was completed to accommodate growing student demand, with another added in 2011, and 500,000 square feet of new and renovated space was added, including the Adele and Herbert J. Klapper Center for Fine Arts for sculpture, ceramics, painting and print-making, the Alice Brown Early Learning Center, the Center for Recreation and Sports and related fields and courts, the Performing Arts Center and a 320-car garage below Motamed Field. Nearly 120,000 square-feet of construction received LEED certification. The Nexus Building and Welcome Center—the new home of the College of Nursing and Public Health as well as a number of student and alumni services—begun under Dr. Scott’s leadership will open in fall 2015. Alumni contributions rose by nearly 700 percent and annual fundraising results increased by more than 300 percent and invested funds at Adelphi University more than tripled. Total enrollment increased nearly 40 percent, undergraduate enrollment increased by 66 percent and total assets of the University amount to more than $500 million, up from $142 million. Since 2006, Adelphi has been named one of 24 Best Buys in private higher education by the Fiske Guide to Colleges.
Dr. Scott built on Adelphi’s rich traditions in undergraduate and graduate education and was the driving force behind Adelphi’s development as a pioneering private university, drawing upon the liberal arts tradition of a small, personalized education, while also offering nationally-recognized professional programs.
In keeping with his vision of Adelphi as the “engaged” university, Dr. Scott helped the University deepen its ties with the Long Island community. On-campus cultural events, ranging from timely lectures to art exhibitions and music, dance and theatre performances, attracted alumni and area residents. He involved Adelphi faculty, students and the broader community in addressing pressing community issues. He initiated Adelphi’s Vital Signs social health assessment project and Adelphi’s Jaggar Community Fellows Program, and established the University’s Long Island Center for Nonprofit Leadership. Dr. Scott himself is a model of community involvement, serving on the boards of the Paul Taylor Dance Company and Global Kids, Inc. He was a leader in reforming the G.I. Bill to ensure up-to-date and expanded benefits for today’s members of the armed forces and National Guard. Dr. Scott is a member of The Century Association and the Cornell Club of New York.
Recent leadership awards include the 2015 President’s Award from the Garden City Chamber of Commerce; inductee, Adelphi University Athletic Hall of Fame, 2015; the 2015 Paul Townsend Spirit of Long Island Award from the Long Island Business Development Council and the Hempstead (New York) IDA and LDC; and the Long Island Association Lifetime Achievement Award, 2015. In 2013, Grant-Thornton dedicated its annual “State of Higher Education” report to his leadership.
He also has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Long Islanders by Long Island Business News and was recognized with the 2008 Chief Executive Leadership Award by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District II. He has received numerous additional accolades, including: the Advancement for Commerce, Industry and Technology Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Higher Education; the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Leadership Award; the David Award for Community Service and excelling in one’s profession from Networking Magazine; the Long Island Achievement Award from Public Relations Professionals of Long Island; and the Outstanding Paper Award for Excellence from Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd. in 2003, among others. In 2010, he was named an honorary alumnus of Adelphi University.
New York’s Adelphi University is a nationally ranked, doctoral research university where students succeed by gaining the skills, knowledge and exposure to thrive as professionals and active citizens in an interconnected and fast-paced global society. Today, nearly 8,000 students from 38 states and 46 countries pursue degrees in person and online through Adelphi’s eight distinguished schools and programs—the College of Arts and Sciences, the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, the Honors College, the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education, University College, the College of Nursing and Public Health and the School of Social Work. Chartered in 1896, Adelphi is known for offering a personalized education—one in which students are mentored by talented and committed faculty members and readily find opportunities to initiate, innovate, explore and understand. With dynamic learning hubs on Long Island, in Manhattan and in the Hudson Valley, Adelphi serves communities, both regionally and globally, through the research and practice of its faculty, the collaborative initiatives undertaken by its centers and programs, the staging of distinguished cultural events and, most essentially, the education of future leaders and informed citizens.