Dean of CMC's Robert Day School Selected as 17th President of Ursinus College
Diane Lee | May 10, 2015, 9:08 p.m.
Brock Blomberg, Dean of Claremont McKenna College’s Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, will be leaving the college to become the 17th president of Ursinus College, a 146-year old liberal arts college located 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia. He will begin July 1.
Ursinus, which has a student body of 1,650, had been looking for a permanent president after its 15th president Bobby Fong died unexpectedly September 8, 2014. Since then, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Lucien “Terry” Winegar, considered the 16th president, had been serving as Interim President.
Blomberg said that the past week since the announcement has been “surreal.”
“It’s been crazy but everybody has been so generous," Blomberg said. "I just received so much affirmation from people in social media sending me emails: alums here, the students here, the faculty, staff here, the people over there at Ursinus too. It really warms me.”
Ursinus Trustee Michael Marcon, who served as the chair of the search committee, wrote in an email to TSL that the committee looked for a candidate who had “an appreciation of the liberal arts; an appreciation of the 'Ursinus DNA'—we are not a school of privilege and have many first time college attendees as well as a very 'blue collar' student body; someone who could work within our existing initiatives of a strategic plan and a capital campaign; someone with outside experiences; someone with energy.”
Blomberg said that he feels that he can personally relate to the Ursinus students, many of whom are first-generation college students or Pell grant recipients, because, according to the Ursinus press release, he didn’t attend a premier Ivy League college and his foster, later adopted, parents “weren’t trained in the intricacies of college counseling.” But his undergraduate experience at the University of Tampa “changed [his] life forever.”
“I think when people are typically looking for leaders of institutions, they want to make sure you understand who they are so you can articulate the values associated with the institution,” Blomberg said. “And what better way to know who you are than by being the same person?”
Blomberg visited Ursinus last week to participate in its celebration of a new president and met with members of the community from the students to the trustees. Marcon wrote that he hopes Blomberg will continue to drive the college forward.
“The college has a great trajectory," Marcon wrote. "We need a pilot with energy and a 'long runway.' We are thrilled with the very positive impact Brock has already had on campus. He is infectious.”
CMC President Hiram Chodosh wrote in an email to TSL that Ursinus is “extremely fortunate to have him."
“As Dean of the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, and as an economics professor in our PPE program, Brock has made many important contributions to the College,” Chodosh wrote. “We wish him all the very best in his new exciting role.”
Blomberg first came to CMC in 2003 as an associate professor for the college’s Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) track and became the interim dean of Robert Day School in July 2010, soon becoming the permanent dean of the school, which had been founded in 2007 with a grant from Robert Day CM '65.
During his time as dean, Blomberg successfully launched a master’s degree program at the Robert Day School, developed the Global Economic and Leadership Program in Asia, started the Economic and Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in Silicon Valley, and helped grow the Robert Day Scholars program.
Faculty Chair of Robert Day School and Professor of Economics Heather Antecol noted Blomberg’s extensive work for students.
“I have worked closely with Dean Brock Blomberg over the last four years," Antecol wrote in an email to TSL. "His focus has been on student outcomes and satisfaction with the programming in the Robert Day School … both during their tenure at CMC and after graduation.”
Blomberg said that he is very “proud” of the work he has done at the Robert Day School and has learned a lot from having been in the roles of both a professor and an administrator as well as from working with “fantastic faculty [and] fantastic students” and from observing various administrators at CMC.
“The mission of the Claremont Colleges was always to add a new college to where they are, and it’s not like I’m adding a new college because Ursinus has been here a long time, but I’d like to think that there is going to be some kind of adoption because I’m adopted. I think there is a little relationship there; a partnership that people here should feel like it’s also a little piece of CMC that’ll be over there,” Blomberg said.
As per his new job, Blomberg said that he hopes to continue to uphold and further the mission of Ursinus and help "lead them where they’re destined to go."
"If all things go well, I’ll be there during their 150th anniversary in 2019," Blomberg said.