Danielle N. Ripich, Ph.D., assumed the University of New England presidency on July 1, 2006. She was previously the dean of the College of Health Professions, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), as well as a professor in the University’s College of Medicine, Department of Neurology.
Soon after her arrival, President Ripich initiated the strategic planning process, resulting in a 10-year strategic plan that has guided UNE to unprecedented growth.
Over the past six years, student enrollments have grown 70 percent, and UNE has expanded to include a new campus in Tangier, Morocco, seven new buildings on our two Maine campuses, and three new colleges. Under President Ripich’s leadership, the University has embraced a commitment to educate and prepare UNE students for a global society.
President Ripich led the launch of UNE’s College of Pharmacy in 2009, and the UNE College of Dental Medicine, the only dental school in Northern New England, enrolled its first class in 2013. The new Oral Health Center, which also opened in 2013, is the clinical home of the College of Dental Medicine teaching clinic and dental simulation facility, and will provide space for UNE to explore new models of interprofessional health care education and practice.
President Ripich has also overseen the construction of UNE's new campus in Tangier, Morocco, which opened in January 2014 on the campus of the American School of Tangier. This latest campus allows UNE to expand students' knowledge of the world and its cultures, which is becoming increasingly essential to achieving professional success in a vast number of fields. In addition, President Ripich has led the expansion of the Biddeford Campus, including the Pickus Center for Biomedical Research, UNE’s first research-only building; Morgane Hall, an academic building; the George and Barbara Bush Center and Library; and the 300-bed Sokokis Residence Hall.
In December 2010 the University received the largest gift in its history—$10 million from the Harold Alfond Foundation—and in September 2012 the University opened the $20 million Harold Alfond Forum, an athletics and student life center.
Centers of Excellence
Under President Ripich’s direction, the University has also created Centers of Excellence in Research and Scholarship that build on UNE’s strengths in marine sciences, neuroscience, humanities, interprofessional education and teaching.
As the largest educator of health care professionals for the state of Maine, UNE has taken the lead in advancing an interprofessional model for health education.
For its many contributions to the region’s economic vitality, the University was honored with the 2009 Economic Achievement Award from the City of Portland, and the 2010 Robert R. Masterton Award for Economic Development from the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce.
President Ripich earned a Ph.D. in speech pathology from Kent State University, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech pathology from Cleveland State University. She served as chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University before joining MUSC.
She is internationally known for her language research, particularly her work in child language and with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. She has written extensively in her field, including edited books, several book chapters, manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, and has served as an editorial consultant to numerous medical and language journals.
President Ripich serves in numerous professional association leadership positions. She chairs the executive board of the Maine Higher Education Council and is a board member and former president of the Greater Portland Alliance of Colleges and Universities. She is a past president and treasurer of the Maine Independent College Association, a past member of the board of directors at the Maine Development Foundation, and also served with the NCAA Division III Presidents/Chancellors Advisory Group.
President Ripich has received numerous honors, awards and fellowships, including a Congressional Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
She was named a Fellow by the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions in 2009 in recognition of her significant contributions and leadership in allied health education.
A May 2011 cover story in MaineAhead magazine called her “the powerhouse behind Maine’s largest private university,” and Mainebiz named President Ripich a 2011 “Woman to Watch.” She speaks nationally about topics in leadership, higher education and allied health.