Dr. Jack R. Warner Named 11th President of Rhode Island College

President Jack Warner, dressed in full academic regalia, speaks at a podium during Commencement

The decision by the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education was unanimous in favor of the leader who has served in an interim role since 2022.

On February 14, the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education voted unanimously to name Dr. Jack Warner as the president of Rhode Island College. The vote and announcement cap a nation-wide executive search, led by a diverse executive search committee guided by AGB, a nationally renowned executive search firm that performs searches for colleges and universities, and with the counsel and participation of a community advisory committee.

“Dr. Warner is a deeply experienced postsecondary education expert with administrative and teaching expertise and as interim president of Rhode Island College he has delivered significant achievements,” said David Caprio, chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “The quality of the individuals that had applied for this position was impressive, making it a very difficult decision. There’s certainly demonstrated momentum by the State of Rhode Island and its leadership’s focus on education from K-12 through the college years.”

"Dr. Warner has been a tremendous partner to the state, especially with his leadership over the last two years at Rhode Island College," said Governor Dan McKee. "Jack knows Rhode Island and has laid down a strong foundation for the college, the board, and its students to build upon. I congratulate him, his family, and all of Rhode Island College on Dr. Warner's well-deserved appointment and I look forward to the continued success he will bring to RIC."

As interim president, Dr. Warner balanced a considerable structural budget deficit in FY23; stemmed enrollment decline by enrolling 18% more freshmen and transfer students; worked with Governor McKee and the R.I. General Assembly to fund a Cybersecurity Center and the Hope Scholarship; built a strong and collaborative leadership team; improved campus communications and strengthened the campus community; raised the college’s profile by implementing a communications and engagement strategy with the business community and the broader community; launched a comprehensive strategic planning process; and made continuous system improvements to make life easier for students and employees

“This search attracted a highly competitive pool of candidates for the RIC presidency, and we are confident that Jack Warner is — and remains to be — the best person to lead Rhode Island College at this moment in its history,” said Chairman Caprio.  “On behalf of the council, I’d like to thank Bishop Jeffery Williams and Attorney Rachelle Green who devoted a great deal of time and expertise heading up the search committee, as well as all the members of the search committee and the members of the college community who contributed to the search process.”

Dr. Shannon Gilkey, Rhode Island’s Postsecondary Education Commissioner said, “Dr. Warner, in the last 22 months, has performed superbly as interim president in laying a foundation for RIC’s future success. Under his leadership, RIC can continue to scale up its strengths, deploy a winning business model, and ensure that it is delivering education so that its students leave as engaged citizens and prepared for the changing economy.”

“I’m honored to be entrusted by the Council on Postsecondary Education, the State of Rhode Island and our campus community to steward the proud history, dynamic present and bright future of Rhode Island College," said President Warner. "I have said since the beginning of my interim tenure that I am all in on RIC, and I look forward to doubling down on the momentum we’ve built now that I have the privilege of leading this institution for the long-term. There is much work ahead of us to continue building an anchor institution for the state that is Responsive, Innovative and Collaborative. With the talented leadership team we have in place, I’m confident that this will be an exciting time for our state’s first and oldest institution of public higher education.”