The University of Southern Indiana Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Dr. Ronald S. Rochon, USI provost, as USI’s fourth president. The announcement was made at a special session of the Board on Thursday, April 19.
“After an exhaustive search, I am excited to announce that Dr. Ron Rochon emerged as the best candidate for the position of president,” said Harold Calloway, chair of the USI Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “Dr. Rochon has proven to be a strong leader and true person of character, and we look forward to seeing him continue to sustainably grow USI in size, stability and in reputation.”
Rochon joined USI as provost in 2010. As provost, he directly supervised the deans of USI’s four academic colleges, Graduate Studies, Outreach & Engagement, International Programs, Rice Library, Student Affairs and all other academic departments. During his tenure, Rochon oversaw the revamping of the University Core Curriculum and UNIV 101 seminar course, led the creation and approval of USI’s second doctoral program in Educational Leadership, developed new opportunities and programs for undergraduate, graduate and online learning students, and fostered new approaches to recruit students to campus and developed programs to help them excel.
“I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve as the next USI president,” said Rochon. “The responsibility to shepherd and continue the growth of this amazing institution is something that I am grateful for and take very seriously.”
The Presidential Search Committee and Board of Trustees conducted a national search for the position, which drew more than 90 qualified candidates for review. The candidate pool ranged from sitting university presidents to executives outside the higher education landscape. The committee narrowed the pool to four finalists, which were presented to the Board for the final decision.
“I want to express my thanks to the Search Committee members who put in hours of work reviewing and interviewing candidates, and who sacrificed time and energy to ensure USI had the best person for the job,” said Calloway. “This was by no means an easy decision. All of the finalists were well qualified for the position. I also want to thank Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, the search firm that assisted us throughout this process.”
Rochon’s academic and professional career has focused on advocating for educational excellence, access, equity and equality. He has taught classes on the history of American Education, culturally relevant and responsive teaching practices within pre-K through 12 schools, and organizational leadership within higher educational settings. His body of work has centered on the needs of diverse learners within underserved schools and communities as well as their integral contributions to the larger society.
“My love for this institution comes directly from my love of teaching, and I’m proud that USI has some of the best educators at any university in the country,” said Rochon. “The relationship between our faculty members and our students is crucial to our success, and I am excited to see what the next generation of Screaming Eagle role models will do when they come to campus and experience that relationship for themselves.”
Prior to coming to USI, Rochon served as the inaugural dean of the School of Education and associate vice president for Teacher Education and professor at Buffalo State. He was director and co-founder of the Research Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, as well as interim associate dean and director of the school of education. In 2010, Rochon also served as chair of the Board of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (Washington, DC). His professional teaching career has included work at Texas A & M University, Washington State University, and University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. Rochon earned a bachelor’s degree at Tuskegee University and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His doctoral work was in educational policy studies, with an emphasis in educational history and policy analysis.
Rochon will assume the duties of president on July 1, succeeding Dr. Linda L. M. Bennett who will retire on June 30 after nine years as president. He resides in Newburgh with his wife, Lynn, and two children.