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During his 23-year tenure, Machtley has transformed the institution with bold vision and accomplishment.
SMITHFIELD, RI - In a letter to the Bryant University community, Ronald K. Machtley announced today his retirement date as president of the University. He will continue to serve as president through the 157th Commencement for the Class of 2020 on May 16, 2020. Machtley became Bryant's president in 1996. Under his leadership, Bryant has experienced unprecedented growth in all areas including academic excellence, enrollment, facilities and campus expansion, and endowments.
“It has been an honor to serve as president of Bryant University and Kati and I are extremely grateful. We love this institution, its faculty, staff, and students.”
In his letter Machtley stated, “It has been an honor to serve as president of Bryant University and Kati and I are extremely grateful. We love this institution, its faculty, staff, and students. It is simply time to start a new chapter in life. Kati and I would like to pursue creative interests and travel while we’re still in good health, rekindle old friendships, and spend much more time with our children and grandchildren. After 49 years of a working career that included service in the US Navy, the practice of law, service in the US Congress and now 23 years as president of this great institution, it is time to pause and pass the mantle of leadership to another.”
Machtley continued, “We have made historic progress at Bryant, from new academic programs to a transformed campus, to international initiatives that have resulted in 47 percent of all Bryant students going abroad for academic credit and our establishment of a new school in China. We are financially very strong. Most important, Bryant is equal to any institution in graduating outstanding students who are prepared for leadership roles around the world. There are likely many university presidents more accomplished, but I can’t imagine there are any who have cherished more the opportunity I was given to strengthen a learning community and help improve the lives of students.”
“Ron Machtley has been a catalyst in transforming Bryant from a regional business college to a nationally-ranked, world-class university. For 23 years he has ignited and sustained growth at Bryant... He has excelled in every aspect of the job.”
“As I prepare to depart in a year, I know I will never look back and think that Kati and I could have given more. We gave Bryant our very best, and I hope that is the legacy that students, faculty, alumni, parents, and staff remember because it’s true of all of us- the entire Bryant community,” Machtley added.
Chair of the Bryant University Board of Trustees William J. Conaty ’67 stated, “Ron Machtley has been a catalyst in transforming Bryant from a regional business college to a nationally-ranked, world-class university. For 23 years he has ignited and sustained growth at Bryant – in academic offerings, enrollment, student programs and athletics, and campus facilities. He has excelled in every aspect of the job.”
“One of the things that make Ron’s tenure so remarkable is its longevity; the average college president serves 6-7 years. In every one of his years of service, Ron Machtley established and then met important goals. Building new facilities, creating new majors, going to Division I in athletics, establishing global partnerships and study-abroad programs. Ron and his wife, Kati, have made a tremendous commitment to this community and we can’t thank them enough for their dedicated service,” Conaty noted.
“One of Ron’s most impressive strengths has been his ability to communicate with all Bryant constituents, including board members, faculty, students, their families, alumni, staff, and neighboring communities. That’s not easy.”
“One of Ron’s most impressive strengths has been his ability to communicate with all Bryant constituents, including board members, faculty, students, their families, alumni, staff, and neighboring communities. That’s not easy. In fact, it’s quite complicated because everyone has a unique perspective and often different priorities. Ron and Kati have defined presidential and first lady in every sense of word – as leaders who listen, as leaders who genuinely care about people, and as leaders who set a great example. From the Women’s Summit, which Kati created and has been so successful over the past 22 years, to the architectural beauty of the campus, their legacy will long endure,” stated Board Vice-Chair, M. Anne Szostak ‘02H.
Under President Machtley’s leadership, Bryant grew from a college to a leading university with demonstrated results that include:
. An endowment that has increased to approximately $180 million from $96 million;
. A record-breaking capital campaign currently exceeding its stretch goal of $100 million, including a $1 million commitment from Ron and Kati Machtley, with several months still to go. More than 22,000 constituents have participated;
. Establishing the College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences, elevating Bryant from a college to a university;
. A move to highly competitive NCAA Division I athletics;
. Doubling undergraduate applications, from approximately 3,900 in 2003 to more than 7,700 from across the country and around the world in 2019 - higher than any point in Bryant’s history;
. Prestigious positions earned in national rankings, including a U.S. News & World Report regional ranking jump from #24 to #10, with nationally-ranked programs in International Business and Marketing;
. Establishing the School of Health Sciences and its first clinical program, the fully accredited MSPAS Physician Assistant program;
. Hiring 102 additional full-time faculty and staff to serve a full-time student population that grew from approximately 2,200 in 1996 to over 4,500 undergraduates in 2019;
. Increasing the percentage of students employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation to 99% in 2018. At $60,000 annually, the median first-year earnings for members of the Class of 2018 tops that of Bryant’s peers;
. Redeveloping Bryant’s campus by adding almost 500,000 square feet of academic, library, residence hall, athletic, and other facilities, with twenty new facilities including the award-winning Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center and the Bulldog Strength and Conditioning facility.
“Kati and I have given our very best to our cherished roles and we never backed away from challenges along the way. I could not have asked for a better partner in this endeavor.”
“Kati and I have given our very best to our cherished roles and we never backed away from challenges along the way. I could not have asked for a better partner in this endeavor. Aside for long nights and weekends, year after year, she created one of the most successful Women’s Summits in the country, acted as a surrogate mom to many students, and provided heartfelt support and encouragement to so many staff and faculty when they needed help,” added Machtley.
“When visitors look around the campus today, appreciating the new buildings and beautiful grounds and the positive attitude of students and staff, they are admiring the results of the Machtley years. As an alumnus, I’m proud of Bryant, and so grateful that Ron came to us at the right time. He made bold changes on all fronts, and clearly for the better. Ron and Katie will be a tough act to follow,” said Board member David M. Beirne ’85.
“While we realize the challenge in finding an outstanding successor, Ron has left the University in such great condition that it will help us convince highly qualified candidates Bryant would be a wonderful community in which to live and work. We expect to start the search fairly soon and conclude the process before next year’s 2020 graduation,” added Chair Conaty.
Prior to assuming his duties at Bryant, President Machtley served as a United States Congressman for the State of Rhode Island from 1989 to 1995. Before serving in Congress, he was a practicing attorney. A 1970 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Machtley earned a juris doctorate in 1978 from Suffolk University Law School. He served on active duty in the U.S. Navy and retired as a captain from the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1995 after 25 years of service.
Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. The University's 3,900 undergraduate and postgraduate students study in an intensive and immersive learning environment that has been purpose-built for high achievement. Bryant’s groundbreaking academic programs have been nationally recognized by organizations including the Davis Educational Foundation and Hanover Research. Founded in 1863, Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, College Factual/U.S.A. Today, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Barron’s. Visit www.bryant.edu to learn more.