Ross Gittell
Ross Gittell, Ph.D., is the ninth President of Bryant University.
Bryant University Board of Trustees introduces economist and former CCSNH Chancellor Dr. Ross Gittell as Bryant's ninth president
Jun 29, 2020, by Staff Writer

SMITHFIELD, RI – (June 29, 2020)  On behalf of the Bryant University Board of Trustees, Bryant Presidential Search Committee co-chairs William J. Conaty ‘67, Chair of the Board, and Dr. Patricia O’Brien P ’15, Chair of the Bryant Board of Trustees Academic and Faculty Committee, are pleased to announce a virtual week of welcome introducing Bryant’s ninth President Ross Gittell, Ph.D.  Dr. Gittell previously served as Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH). A distinguished economist and economic development expert, Gittell is Vice President, Board Member and Forecast Chair for the New England Economic Partnership. He succeeds Ronald K. Machtley, who will step down on June 30 after 24 years of transformative accomplishment.

President Gittell takes office July 1 during an unprecedented period in the history of higher education and in our nation. The Coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on almost every facet of university instruction and student life. Throughout the month of June he has worked with outgoing President Machtley and a team of faculty and staff to plan for the safe reopening of Bryant’s campus and an early start to fall semester classes on August 25.

"We are fortunate to have Dr. Gittell leading Bryant to a safe reopening."

The virtual week of welcome will take place Monday, July 6, through Friday, July 10. Highlights include launch of a dedicated Bryant University presidential website that will be used to share information going forward; virtual greetings from students, Bryant’s National Alumni Council, faculty and staff, and community representatives; videos and news articles to introduce Dr. Gittell; and an online guest book. All members of the community are encouraged to contribute to the guestbook by offering words of welcome and sharing Bryant remembrances.

According to Conaty, “Most university presidential transitions present challenges, but a transition during a worldwide pandemic is a real curve ball. We were extremely fortunate to have a seasoned veteran like Ron Machtley at the helm during the start of this crisis, and now we are fortunate to have Dr. Gittell leading Bryant to a safe reopening."

“As President of Bryant University, I am excited to be working with the University’s dedicated faculty and staff on plans that build on our commitment to academic excellence and culture of innovation,” said Dr. Gittell. “We are addressing historic challenges by working together and drawing on our institution’s strengths, including our focus on students’ success and our strongly committed faculty and staff. The Bryant community’s response to the pandemic will further differentiate Bryant.”

“We are addressing historic challenges by working together and drawing on our institution’s strengths, including our focus on students’ success and our strongly committed faculty and staff."

With an extensive background in university teaching, strategic planning, and management, Gittell’s focus has been on applying economic, organizational, and management theory to regional, state, and community economic development issues. Gittell has frequently served as an expert resource for government, non-profit, and business leaders in New Hampshire and nationally on topics including economic policy, workforce development, job creation strategies, community development, and the business climate.

A teaching career of more than twenty years

Dr. Gittell holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University, Dively Fellow; a master’s in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, Beta Gamma Sigma; and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Chicago, Phi Beta Kappa. Prior to his appointment as CCSNH Chancellor, he was the James R. Carter Professor in the Department of Management at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire.

His teaching career spans over 20 years and includes, in addition to the Whittemore School, teaching at the Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, and in the School of Education, Economics Department and Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Dr. Gittell is active on numerous boards and commissions and is extensively published. Beyond the academic arena, his background includes senior economic consulting for corporate and public sector clients.

Founded in 1863, Bryant University today is the result of 157 years of continuous innovation and evolution. Transitioning from a regional business college to a respected university in 2004, over the last decade Bryant has garnered growing national recognition as a pioneer in student-centered learning delivered through a distinctive combination of academic knowledge and character-building learning opportunities including highly competitive NCAA Division I Athletics.

Building on an upward trajectory

The University’s unique academic model integrates business, the liberal arts, sciences, and high-impact pedagogies. The University’s academic programs have been nationally recognized by organizations including the Davis Educational Foundation and Hanover Research. Bryant’s student learning outcomes and return on investment are recognized among the best in its peer group. A survey of recent graduates confirmed that 99% percent are employed and/or enrolled in post-graduate study within six months, with a median salary of $60,000.

As the President of Bryant University, Dr. Gittell will build on Bryant’s upward trajectory while setting the course for the University’s next chapter. Since its founding, Bryant has inspired excellence in an ever-changing world, developing moral and ethical leaders who exemplify a global perspective. The University is also pleased to welcome Dr. Gittell’s accomplished wife, Dr. Jody Hoffer Gittell, and daughters Rose and Grace, into the Bryant community.

Bryant’s Presidential Search Committee co-chairs were Conaty, Senior Vice President (retired), Corporate Human Resources General Electric Company; and O’Brien P '15, Chair of the Bryant Board of Trustees Academic and Faculty Committee and Associate Provost for Budget & Planning at Boston University. As the human resources leader for over 300,000 GE employees worldwide, Conaty was widely acclaimed for his track record of innovation and the architect behind many of GE's HR practices in the areas of workforce differentiation and succession planning. Dr. O’Brien previously served as Deputy Dean of Harvard College, Dean of the Simmons College School of Management, and on the faculty of the Harvard Business School.

For 157 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. Located on a contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant enrolls approximately 3800 undergraduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, College Factual, and Barron's. Visit

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