Rita Bornstein served as 13th president of Rollins College from 1990 to 2004, the first woman to hold that office. In 2001, she was named to the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair of Distinguished Presidential Leadership when Rollins received a $10-million gift for the first endowment of a college presidency in the nation. At the conclusion of her 14-year presidency, she was named president emerita and appointed to the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair of Philanthropy and Leadership Development.
Under President Bornstein's leadership, Rollins focused on strengthening its commitment to excellence, innovation, and community. Standards were raised for faculty evaluation, student selectivity, and all aspects of administration. Average SAT scores for entering Arts & Sciences students rose more than 65 points and Rollins' place in U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of "America's Best Colleges" climbed from #6 regional university in the South to No. 2, and No. 1 in Florida. That trajectory continued—Rollins is currently No. 1 in the South. Innovation was encouraged and rewarded, and programs were added in film studies, international business, and sustainable development, as well as the signature Rollins College Conference for first-year students. The College's commitment to building strong communities was enhanced through programs of intellectual discourse, civic engagement, international study, and service learning.
In 1997, Rollins reaffirmed its role as a leader in the national conversation on liberal education, hosting key educators for a conference entitled The Rollins Colloquy Toward a Pragmatic Liberal Education: The Curriculum of the Twenty-First Century. The resulting book, Education and Democracy: Re-imagining Liberal Learning, published by The College Board, remains an important document in the conversation about the liberal arts curriculum.
President Bornstein also oversaw Rollins' most ambitious fundraising effort. Widely considered to have transformed the College, The Campaign For Rollins secured $160.2 million, providing support for academic programs, scholarships, faculty chairs, and facilities, and significantly strengthening the College's financial health. Thanks to the generosity of donors, including the largest gift in Rollins' history—alumnus George Cornell's $93.3-million bequest—and astute financial management, the College's endowment more than quintupled during Bornstein's presidency.
A recognized leader in higher education, Bornstein regularly consults on issues of leadership, governance, and fundraising in the nonprofit sector. She is also the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters and two books, including Legitimacy in the Academic Presidency: From Entrance to Exit, published in 2003. Bornstein may be contacted at email@example.com.