Before an arena packed with thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and distinguished guests from across the country, on Saturday, Nov. 4.
Collado is the second woman to hold the office, and the first person of color. She is also the first Dominican American to be named president of a college in the U.S.
Board of Trustees Chair Tom Grape ’80 formally installed Collado, placing the symbolic medallion of office around her neck.
In her inaugural address, Collado envisioned an Ithaca College that continues to be a trailblazer in the shifting landscape of higher education and empowers all of its students to learn, grow and serve the public good.
“All of us here have the power to create an exceptional future for higher education and for this country,” Collado said. “This is an incredible opportunity, and we cannot let it pass us by. Let’s work together to advance a vision that affirms our humanity. Let’s be daring. Let’s be confident. And let’s step arm in arm, boldly into the future.”
throughout her address, Collado drew connections between Ithaca College’s past, present and future. The key to its continuing success, she said, lies in the three educational elements emphasized at the college’s founding in 1892 as the Ithaca Conservatory of Music: theory, practice and performance.
Collado described theory as the underpinning of the pursuit of knowledge. The college’s identity as an intimate, residential college and learning community sets it apart from larger institutions. “Here, we don’t simply study theory. We live it,” she said.
Practice, Collado explained, requires the ability to take risks and challenge long-held assumptions. She said that when institutions of higher learning fail to take risks or broaden their scope, they fail society, perpetuating narrow world views and disengagement.
“In our country right now we are seeing what happens when people hide,” Collado said. “When they act on their fear, their bias, their rigidity of thought. In these situations, there is no creative practice. There is only dogma.”
She noted that many students, such as participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, first-generation college students, LGBTQ+ students and women in traditionally male-dominated fields, must fight harder for a seat at the table. Ithaca College, then, must provide a “brave space” for all students to practice intellectual inquiry. She called upon the college to build an educational model that tears down barriers to access, as well as barriers to dialogue and shared learning.