The Island Now

Christine M. Riordan, PhD, is the 10th president of Adelphi University in New York and the first woman to hold the role in the University’s 125-year history.

Dr. Riordan is an established expert in leadership, team building, career success, and diversity, equity and inclusion. She is also a seasoned and respected board member in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

Since her appointment in 2015, Dr. Riordan’s vision has transformed Adelphi into a nationally recognized modern metropolitan university.

Under her leadership, enrollment has grown by 10 percent, the University community is more diverse than ever, and more than 50 innovative new academic degree programs have been launched.

For the third year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has named Adelphi a Best College among national universities and named it a Best College for Veterans, a Best Value School and a Top Performer on Social Mobility.

In 2021, Adelphi received the INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for the fourth consecutive year.

Dr. Riordan is a respected and experienced board member. She is chair of the board and serves on the executive committee for the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York, the association for the more than 100 private colleges and universities in the state.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she co-chaired the Higher Education Restart Task Force to develop reopening guidance for more than 230 New York institutions of higher education.

She is a trustee, serves on the steering committee and is secretary-treasurer of the Long Island Regional Advisory Council on Higher Education. She is a member of the board of directors of the Long Island Association, a leading business organization on Long Island, and is co-chair of the LIA’s Women’s Collaborative. For more than six years,

Dr. Riordan has served on the board of directors of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: RMAX)—a leading real estate and franchise company—for which she is currently chair of the nominating and governance committee and serves on the compensation committee. Dr. Riordan is a National Association of Corporate Directors Board Leadership Fellow, the Gold Standard Director Credential.

Her leadership is widely recognized. Dr. Riordan has published 70 academic and business press articles and is authoring a book titled Shift Happens: How to Adapt and Thrive in a Rapidly Changing World of Work. Her work can be viewed at

Her honors include the Council for Advancement and Support of Education Chief Executive Leadership Award in 2021 and the ATHENA International Leadership Award in 2020. In 2019, Georgia State University honored her as a Distinguished Alumna.

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine named her one of the 25 Top Women in Higher Education Who Are Making a Difference in 2018. She has been named Best College President in 2017, 2019 and 2020 by the Bethpage Best of Long Island Awards, and as one of the most influential people on Long Island every year since 2016 by the Long Island Press. Long Island Business News lists Dr. Riordan among Who’s Who in Education, Who’s Who in Professional Women and Top CEOs.

Dr. Riordan was previously provost of the University of Kentucky and dean of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.

She received her MBA and a PhD in Organizational Behavior from Georgia State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in Textile Engineering (now called Materials Science Engineering) from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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