October 01, 2015
At Susquehanna, Rick Dorman ’75 fell in love with the liberal arts. Now, as president of Westminster College, a highly-regarded liberal arts institution in New Wilmington, Pa., he is one of the field’s greatest proponents.
“The liberal arts gives you a much broader appreciation of the full richness of life,” says Dorman, a voice major who put himself through college by working four jobs to support himself, including being a gas station mechanic and a choir director for two local churches simultaneously while studying at Susquehanna.
After completing his undergraduate education, he served as the director of choral activities at Red Lion (Pa.) Senior High School, then earned his master’s degree in student personnel services and a doctorate in higher education administration from Penn State University. After a brief career detour in the private sector, he went into higher education administration and never looked back.
While studying at Susquehanna, Dorman says he learned a lot of skills he finds helpful in his career today. “My education at Susquehanna helped develop both the objective and subjective aspects of working with others in a concerted fashion—a key skill, I found, in serving in the academic presidency.”
Prior to becoming Westminster’s president in 2008, Dorman served as associate executive director for alumni relations with the Penn State Alumni Association, and as head of development for the Health Sciences Center at the University of Louisville. For 12 years, he served as vice president for institutional advancement at Ohio’s Otterbein University.
His achievements at Westminster include completing a comprehensive campaign that raised a record $53 million. Westminster has also been ranked fourth nationwide in graduation rate performance by U.S. News and World Report and has received several “best value” ratings, including “Best College in America for Women in S.T.E.M.” by Forbes.com. Recently, Dorman co-authored the best-selling book Leadership and Governance in Higher Education (Stylus Publishing), along with his mentor Robert Hendrickson and two other colleagues.
Despite these successes, Dorman says his proudest moments are, “When I stand on the dais at graduation waiting for the next graduate to get his or her diploma, and I see their face filled with excitement and anticipation. That’s priceless.”