RMU's Dell'Omo drops bid for La Salle University presidency

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When the day began Thursday, Robert Morris University president Gregory Dell'Omo was expected to be selected as president of La Salle University in Philadelphia.

But by the afternoon, Robert Morris issued a statement saying Mr. Dell'Omo, who has been president of Robert Morris since 2005, had withdrawn his name from consideration after he and the La Salle board "failed to come to terms."

Robert Morris spokesman Jonathan Potts declined to elaborate.

La Salle spokeswoman Karen Muldoon Geus confirmed the board was meeting Thursday, but did not return later phone calls.

Both Mr. Dell'Omo and Gary Claus, chairman of the RMU board, were positive about Mr. Dell'Omo staying at Robert Morris.

In a news release, Mr. Dell'Omo said, "I wish La Salle University the very best as their search continues. It was gratifying to know that the progress that's been made here at RMU caught the attention of this institution and led them to invite me into their recruitment process.

"At this point, I'm glad to get back to work with my great team at RMU to take us to the next level."

Also in the news release, Mr. Claus said, "Greg Dell'Omo is an outstanding university president, and, without question, his leadership and vision have been instrumental in propelling Robert Morris to become a university of choice."

Mr. Dell'Omo was being considered to replace Brother Michael McGiniss, who is stepping down in May after 15 years as president.

La Salle is a private, Catholic university.

Since 1863, La Salle has been headed by a Christian brother except for a two-year interim presidency in the late 1990s.

According to his official biography on the Robert Morris website, Mr. Dell'Omo's accomplishments include growth in the endowment from $16 million to more than $30 million, a fundraising campaign that exceeded its $40 million goal by $4 million; enrollment growth of 15 percent; and new construction, including buildings for the School of Business and School of Communications and Information Systems.

They also include the creation of the student engagement program and transcript; increases in both students studying abroad and international students at Robert Morris; an expanded honors program; and new online programs.

He serves on a number of local boards, including the Magee-Womens Hospital Foundation, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Economy League of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Mr. Dell'Omo has a bachelor's degree in economics from Montclair State University, a master's degree in industrial relations from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in industrial relations/human resource management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.

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