Aquinas College celebrates the inauguration of Alicia Córdoba, D.M.A.
Surrounded by family, friends, colleagues, and a large, loving Aquinas community, Alicia R. Córdoba, D.M.A. was inaugurated as the ninth president of Aquinas College on October 7, 2022 at the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center. Notably, Dr. Córdoba is the first female president of Aquinas.
October 7th was specifically chosen by Dr. Córdoba to celebrate this landmark occasion in her life and that of Aquinas College because it is the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary. Dr. Córdoba has a long tradition and commitment to the Holy Mother, and of course our Dominican Sisters, who founded Aquinas College in 1886 and recognize the tradition that in 1208 a rosary was given to St. Dominic by Our Lady of the Rosary in the church of Prouille. Today, we see our rich Catholic and Dominican heritage come full circle ... from St. Dominic and Our Lady of the Rosary in 1208, to our Dominican Sisters who founded the school in 1886, to our newest leader invested in her office here today in 2022.
Reflecting on the path that led her to Aquinas, Dr. Córdoba said, "With all humility, I believe God has been preparing me to serve you. At various points throughout my career, my mentors, friends and family would point to my abilities to organize, bring people together, to have a vision and make it a reality, and most importantly my desire to serve others in order to help them make their own hopes and dreams come true."
Replays of live video
News coverage of the Inauguration
Grand Rapids Business Journal: Aquinas College inaugurates new president
Dr. Córdoba's First Days as President
May 5, 2022
As I begin my tenure at Aquinas College, my first order of business is to thank Provost Steve Germic for his incredible service as Interim President of Aquinas College since December 2021. His steady hand has led the College through a challenging seven months. His honesty and good humor have infused hope in faculty, staff, students, volunteers and supporters, and inspired a renewed enthusiasm for the good work of the College. Additionally, Provost Germic continued his leadership and support of faculty as they undertook a major academic overhaul from a three-credit to four-credit course model. Over the past month, I am deeply grateful for his diligent efforts to seamlessly transition presidential responsibilities to me. I now look forward to supporting the Aquinas faculty and Provost Germic as they pursue innovative models and opportunities to serve our students with even greater excellence.
Alicia R. Córdoba D.M.A.
Below here you will find two videos of Dr. Córdoba introducing herself and sharing her vision for the future of Aquinas College. One video is in English, one video is in Spanish.
Welcome video from Dr. Alicia Córdoba (English)
Welcome video from Dr. Alicia Córdoba (Spanish)
Córdoba brings more than two decades of experience in Catholic higher education, both as a faculty member and administrator, to her new role leading the nationally ranked liberal arts institution. A mission-driven and motivational leader, Córdoba has broad expertise in strategic planning, financial management and stewardship, curriculum and program design, fundraising, marketing, team building, process improvement and related areas.
A native of the Chicago suburbs, Córdoba spent 19 years in faculty and administrative positions of increasing authority at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. She recently served as associate vice president and Beirne director of the Center for Catholic Studies at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
A graduate of The Juilliard School where she was the first woman to receive a doctor of musical arts in English horn performance, Córdoba has performed oboe and English horn with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
President-elect Córdoba begins her tenure at Aquinas College on July 1.
“On behalf of the board of trustees, I am delighted to welcome Dr. Córdoba as the ninth president of Aquinas College,” said Board Chair Marcie Hillary, ’97. “After a rigorous national search, extensive on-campus interviews and prayerful discernment, President-elect Córdoba was the clear and unanimous choice to lead Aquinas College at this pivotal time in higher education.
“Alicia is a servant-leader who brings decades of experience in higher education leadership, demonstrated fundraising success and stewardship, and strong financial acumen within the higher education business model. Her skill set is a perfect match for the criteria we have established for our next president and will be a strong complement to those of our current leadership team.”
Honored, humbled, feeling at home
“I am genuinely humbled and honored to have been selected by the trustees as the ninth president of Aquinas,” President-elect Córdoba said. “From the moment I stepped foot on campus last month, I felt right at home – and I feel equally confident we are going to accomplish many great things together.
“I look forward to supporting Provost Stephen Germic and faculty as they redefine a truly distinctive educational experience for our students. Working with the entire campus community, we will strengthen our commitments to inclusion and equity, sustainability and service, following the example of our Dominican Sisters’ traditions and that of Catholic social teaching and the Catholic intellectual tradition.”
Highlights of President-elect Córdoba’s academic accomplishments include:
- Leading strategic planning, development and implementation as the inaugural Bierne director to create the Center for Catholic Studies at St. Mary’s, which hosts more than 50 annual programs. Secured national and international recognition for the new initiative within its first four years.
- Maintaining more than $5.4 million in endowed funds for the Center for Catholic Studies, raising funds to ensure continued mission integration throughout the university.
- Serving as chief mission officer of Benedictine University, which had campuses in Illinois and Arizona, satellite sites throughout the U.S. and class sites in China and Vietnam.
- Creating a framework as the inaugural director of the Center for Mission Identity at Benedictine University to bring together all Benedictine universities for an annual conference to discuss the Benedictine hallmarks embedded in the curriculum of each.
- Serving as a tenured professor of music and chair of both the Department of Music and the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Benedictine University.
- Serving as university liaison to the Dicastery of Human Development as Laudato Si’ University for St. Mary’s, which placed it among the initial cohort of Catholic universities with the Vatican.
Extremely active professionally, Córdoba writes and presents regularly on topics ranging from mission integration and strategic planning to music curriculum and using the arts to develop critical thinking skills. She holds leadership positions with professional organizations, serving as vice president of the Kappa Gamma Phi Catholic Honor Society and on the National Network Board of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts and on the board of Collegium.
- Press Release on the naming of Dr. Alicia Córdoba as President (English)
- Press Release on the naming of Dr. Alicia Córdoba as President (Spanish)
- Dr. Alicia Córdoba biography
- Press Conference Video on the naming of Dr. Alicia Córdoba as President
- Learn more about the search for the ninth President of Aquinas College
- Learn more about the AQ 2030 Strategic Plan