Winter 2017| Posse National Newsletter


Posse Alumna Named President of Ithaca College

Dr. Shirley Collado has been named the next president of Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. A member of the inaugural Posse that matriculated at Vanderbilt University in 1989, Shirley is currently serving as executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer at Rutgers University-Newark.

She begins her tenure as president on July 1, becoming Ithaca’s first president of Latina heritage in the institution’s 125-year history.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to become Ithaca College’s ninth president,” says Shirley. “When I think about this incredible opportunity, my academic career, and where I started, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of my Posse experience. Twenty-eight years ago, Posse took a chance on me, and from that one opportunity sprang so many others. My family and I are forever grateful.”

Shirley, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Duke University, grew up in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, the only girl in a traditional, immigrant family from the Dominican Republic. With parents who worked long hours—her father as a cabdriver and her mother as a clothing factory worker—Shirley spent much of her adolescence taking care of her two younger brothers and working at the local pharmacy to contribute to the household.

Posse President and Founder Deborah Bial believed Shirley could thrive both academically and socially at Vanderbilt University and selected Shirley to be a part of the first cohort of Posse Scholars. At Vanderbilt, Shirley excelled in the classroom and quickly assumed leadership positions on campus. She founded the Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic Students and the Sexual Assault Support Group. Shirley’s achievements and those of her Posse peers helped pave the way for the Posse cohorts that followed.

“Shirley’s story is so powerful, not just as an example for others hoping to forge a similar path, but also in its ability to inform the way we think about student potential in higher education,” says Deborah. “Her story—and the stories of thousands of Posse alumni—shows what is possible when students receive educational opportunities that match their great potential. We could not be more proud of Shirley.”

As a Ph.D. student at Duke University, Shirley studied trauma and dissociative disorders in multicultural populations. Much of her subsequent pedagogical and administrative work in higher education has focused on alleviating broad systemic issues caused by inequities in educational opportunity.

Shirley has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including New York University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, The New School, Middlebury College and Lafayette College. Prior to assuming her current position at Rutgers, she served as vice president for student affairs and dean of the college at Middlebury College.

Top Image Photo Credit: Kelsey O'Connor/The Ithaca Voice

View other stories in the Posse National Quarterly