On April 3, Ithaca College announced that a new presidential residence will be constructed to replace the Fountain Place house, but this time the residence will be on campus. The college is hoping to start construction by this fall, with the projected move-in date of Fall 2019. Having a college’s president live in a house on campus is common in the U.S., with an estimated 72 percent of college presidents required to live on campus as per their contracts, according to data from Inside Higher Ed. Considering Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado’s goals of having a more connected, communicative relationship with the college community, moving the presidential residence to campus seems to be the next step.
College presidents across the country host a number of events at their on-campus presidential residences. The president of the University of Richmond hosts a picnic for first-year students at his house, and he teaches an introductory history course from his house as well. The president of Johns Hopkins University hosts regular lunches at his house and gives tours of the property to students. Events like these at Ithaca College may have been logistically impossible before, with the Fountain Place property being all the way on East Hill. Now, it will be so much easier for students to attend events hosted by the president.
Not only is all of this beneficial, but at the very least, moving the presidential residence is a wise financial move. Fountain Place is a costly property to maintain — as a 120-year-old mansion, the building is in need of frequent, costly repairs. Moving the presidential residence to any more modern building should help the college financially.
There are, of course, some drawbacks to having a college’s president living on campus. Presidential residences are often opened up to the greater campus community to build better connections with the campus community, but it could come at the cost of making a college president feel that they live in a public meeting space rather than a house. Considering how “public” and how close the presidential residence will be to the rest of the campus, it is important for students to remain respectful and mindful once the final space is built.
Moving on campus is perfectly in line with Collado’s mission of being more connected to the campus community. It will create a stronger relationship between not only Collado and the campus, but between the campus and all future presidents as well.