Tom Rochon, Ithaca College's president. (Courtesy of Adam Baker of Ithaca College)
Tom Rochon, Ithaca College’s president. (Courtesy of Adam Baker of Ithaca College)
Tom Rochon, Ithaca College’s president. (Courtesy of Adam Baker of Ithaca College)

Tom Rochon has been the president of Ithaca College since July 2008.

Rochon, a former assistant professor in the politics department at Princeton University, has been instrumental in initiating the IC 20/20 plan (more below).

Rochon has also been the director of Tompkins Financial Corporation since January 2009 and its chairman since May 2014.

The 8th President of Ithaca College, Rochon was inaugurated on April 17, 2009, almost a year after he took the office of President on July 1, 2008.


Click any of the following 9 questions to learn more about Ithaca College Tom Rochon.

1 – Why did Rochon become a political scientist?
2 – Where did he graduate from?
3 – What did Rochon do before going to IC?
4 – Why was he criticized for changing a policy for IC student journalists?
5 – What’s Rochon’s biggest initiative? 
6 – What was Rochon’s response to calls to boycott Israel?
7 – What has Rochon written?
8 – What are some of his hobbies?
9 – What’s a day in the life of Rochon like?

(Did we miss an important issue? If so, email me at jstein@ithacavoice.com and we’ll get it fixed.)

1 – How did Rochon decide to pursue political science?

Rochon was born in Virginia, but grew up in Michigan, where he ended up going to college.

He has cited a three-week bicycling trip in Germany during the summer before his senior year of high school as a main factor in his decision to study “the political parties and movements of European democracies.”


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2 – Education

Rochon attended the University of Michigan, where he received a doctorate and bachelor’s degree in political science.

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3 – Administrative history

Before becoming Ithaca College’s 8th president, Rochon worked at the University of St. Thomas, Claremont Graduate University and Princeton University.

At St. Thomas, he was a professor of political science and also the school’s Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer.

At Claremont Graduate University, he was an associate professor in the School of Politics and Economics and the Dean of the school of Politics and Economics..

While an associate professor at Princeton University’s Department of Politics, Rochon was a member of the school’s Budget Priorities Committee and assistant of Dean Mathey College, where he counseled students and developed academic and campus life programs for freshmen and sophomores.

Rochon has completed research in both Japan and Holland. He served as a research associate at the Netherlands Organization for Pure Scientific Research at the University of Leiden. In Japan, Rochon held the position of Fulbright lecturer at Kobe University.

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4 – Uproar over media access policy

In 2012, Rochon unveiled a new media policy that requires all members of student media to first contact the college’s office of media relations to not only set up interviews with administrators, but also to decide which administrator would be the right candidate for said interview.

Dave Maley, associate editor of media relations, defended the policy, stating that it is the best way to answer questions by directing members of the student media to the most appropriate source.

Ithaca College student Carly Sitzer was one of many students who criticized the policy, however. She called it “a threat to journalistic integrity,” according to an article published by the Huffington Post.

Following some national press coverage and student protests, Rochon rescinded the policy, USA Today reported.

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5 – IC 20/20 and criticism

Buzzsaw magazine, an IC student publication, described ten major changes that IC 20/20 will bring about. Those include a requirement of completing at least one minor to graduate, giving all students the ability to study abroad, more online courses, and a requirement that every student take classes in a second language.

Rochon was criticized by the Ithaca College Student Government Association in 2012 after it claimed that the college’s administration was not listening enough to students’ input about IC 20/20.

During a meeting with the SGA, Rochon said that the majority of changes would not be seen by current students. An editorial in The Ithacan countered that “current students … will feel the effects as they forever carry the Ithaca College name.”

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6 – Israel boycott

In late 2013, the American Studies Association endorsed an academic boycott of Israeli higher education institutions because, it said, of Israel’s denial of human rights and academic freedom to Palestinians.

This boycott was met with heavy criticism from several university presidents from around the U.S., including Ithaca College President Tom Rochon, who said the boycott would inhibit the free exchange of ideas.

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7 – Books

Rochon has written several books. His best known may be, ““Mobilizing for Peace: The Antinuclear Movements in Western Europe,” which discusses “the sources of support for the peace movement in public opinion, the types of people who joined or supported the movement, and proposals they offered for a non-nuclear defense policy.”

His most recent book, “Culture Moves: Ideas, Activism, and Changing Values,” examines feminism, civil rights and environmentalism, and also delves into the French Revolution and the abolition of slavery.

Both of these titles were named by Choice Magazine as outstanding academic books. For “Culture Moves…,” Rochon also received a Distinguished Scholarship Prize from the American Sociological Association.

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8 – Personal facts

Since Rochon was a child, he has collected baseball cards. He is an active user of eBay, too.

9 – A day in the life of Rochon

Kyle Friend

A senior at Cornell University, Kyle covers the affordable housing crisis for the Ithaca Voice. Reach him through e-mail: kyleafriend@gmail.com.