The Inauguration of President Nicola Pitchford

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Dominican University of California will celebrate the inauguration of President Nicola Pitchford as the University’s 10th president on January 16 with an intimate, livestreamed installation ceremony. On January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Dominican will honor the Reverend Dr. King's legacy with a day of engagement with the broader community.

The inaugural events are designed to reaffirm the University’s commitment to the enduring Dominican values of community, study, service, and reflection while also highlighting President Pitchford’s focus on teaching for ethical action. 

Additional details and updates will be posted on the Inauguration page.

The January 16 installation ceremony begins at 1 p.m. in Angelico Concert Hall with an introduction by ASDU President Hannah Roitman and a welcome address by Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Carolyn B. Klebanoff.

Dr. Yvette Christiansë, the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of English and Africana Studies and Co-Chair of the Africana Studies Department at Barnard College, also will address the audience. President Emerita Mary B. Marcy will present the presidential medal to President Pitchford.

President Pitchford’s term began on July 1, 2021. She is deeply committed to carrying  forward President Emerita Marcy’s vision for a distinctive, equitable educational model with comprehensive student support. Today, that model is nationally recognized as the Dominican Experience.

Built around evidence-based practices and the University’s institutional strengths, the Dominican Experience is designed to improve outcomes for an increasingly diverse student body, which Dominican is privileged to serve. President Pitchford served on the original design team for the Dominican Experience, which was developed over the past decade in consultation with the campus community.

In 2014, President Pitchford co-chaired the Dominican Experience Task Force, working with nearly 30 faculty and staff. Their charge was to align and expand Dominican’s academic and co-curricular strengths within the principals of engaged learning. The Dominican Experience places the University among a small group of institutions transformed around a clear vision of hands-on learning, personalized mentoring, and community engagement.

In her first five months in office, President Pitchford has articulated a goal around teaching for ethical action: to advance Dominican’s mission by preparing students and the University to respond to the crises of climate and natural resources, racial inequity, and economic disparity. She has identified two additional interconnected goals: to cultivate a flourishing campus community and to position Dominican for financial health and adaptability.

 “I believe the core task of higher education in our changing world is the education of the whole person, nurturing habits of critical thinking and flexible intelligence that equip our students to engage ethically and carefully with others and to adapt their skills to both existing and emerging community challenges and career opportunities,” President Pitchford says.

“I remain compelled by the vision of an institution that makes available a high-touch, intimately scaled, liberal-arts based education to students who have never been able to access this in the past.”

President Pitchford joined Dominican in 2011, serving first as Dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (now the School of Liberal Arts and Education) and, beginning 2014, as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty. In 2018 she stepped in as Dominican’s interim President while President Emerita Marcy completed a research sabbatical.

Before joining Dominican, President  Pitchford served as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Chief Academic Officer at Fordham University from 2009-2011. She joined the faculty at Fordham in 1995 as an Assistant Professor of English and received tenure in 2001. She also served as Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English, Co-Director of the Literary Studies Program, and as Chair of the Department of English.

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