Leading The Digital Revolution In Higher Education
For seventeen years, Dr. Lombardi has provided visionary leadership for Maryville University. Nationally, he is recognized as a thought leader in the higher education revolution and is frequently called upon to address Maryville University’s significant advances in educational access, learning technology, DEI, data analysis and A.I., and developing an individualized path for students learning and success. He is also co-author of the book Pivot: A Vision for the New University (2019).
Personal Statement About Higher Education
“I believe in a new model for higher education, which removes barriers to learning. The Digital Age has brought the greatest democratization of knowledge since the renaissance. Universities must harness the tools of this age to create access and opportunity for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or socio-economic status. At Maryville, we are driving this dynamic model to transform higher education at a pace more common in the entrepreneurial world than in academia. Using the power of data analytics and Artificial Intelligence, we focus our efforts on putting the student at the center of the learning process. We not only tailor academic experiences based on students’ abilities and learning styles, but we also provide “Amazon-like” service leading to proven graduation and career success outcomes.”
During Dr. Lombardi’s tenure, enrollment at Maryville University has more than tripled to over 10,000 students, hailing from 50 states and 52 countries. The Chronicle of Higher Education has named Maryville the 2nd fastest-growing private university in the nation, in 2023. In 2013 and 2014 U.S. News & World report named Maryville the #1 Over-performing University in the United States. In addition, Maryville has also been ranked in the top 15 percent of universities nationwide for ROI three consecutive years. Six academic programs are nationally ranked, and 98 percent of Maryville graduates have a job in their chosen field or enroll in graduate programs within six months of graduation. Apple has thrice named Maryville an Apple Distinguished School for its innovative leadership. Lombardi has also overseen over $150 million in capital improvements including two new residence halls, The Walker College of Health Professions, state of the art outdoor athletic fields and a new dining facility.
The University engages in deep strategic partnerships with corporate entities such as Apple, Salesforce, BurstIQ, Brado, Robots and Pencils and Capacity. In addition, Maryville is the dominant Esports collegiate program in the United States, winning seven of the first twelve collegiate National Championships.
For 37 years, at three different institutions, Dr. Lombardi has served as a faculty member, department chair, director of international programs, vice president for Academic Affairs, provost and president. He has also served as executive director of the U.S.- Africa Education Foundation. Dr. Lombardi has significant teaching experience in U.S. foreign policy, U.S.-Soviet relations, African politics and global issues. He was named the youngest tenured full professor in the history of the University of Tampa.
Dr. Lombardi has given over 200 interviews in print and video media on issues ranging from US foreign policy to the future of higher education. He has also spoken over fifty times throughout the United States at national conferences on such topics as the future of higher education, revolutionizing student learning, managing culture change and innovative leadership.
Dr. Lombardi earned his doctorate and master’s in political science and international relations from The Ohio State University and his bachelor’s in political science from Purdue University.
Dr. Lombardi recently completed six years as chair of the St. Louis Sports Commission. He also serves on the Executive Council of Greater STL. He is the past chair of the Board of Governors NCAA Committee to Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as a longtime participant in the NCAA Pathways program. He currently serves on the President’s and Chancellor’s Leadership Council for the Minority Opportunities in Athletics Association (MOAA). He also serves on the Great Lakes Valley Conference Council of Presidents (Chair, 2013-2017). Previously, he served as a board member with The Lifelong Vision Foundation, Boys Hope Girls Hope, Wells Fargo, Rotary, the Foreign Affairs Council and the US-Africa Education Foundation. Dr. Lombardi has been honored by the Sigma Foundation and the N.A.A.C.P. for his community engagement.
Notable Publications and Media Placements
Dr. Lombardi is the author of numerous articles and the co-author of four books, including:
Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Global Issues (10th edition 2019)
The Unfolding Legacy of 9/11 (2004)
Perspectives on Third World Sovereignty: The Post-Modern Paradox (1997)
Pivot: A Vision for the New University, Personal Statement About Higher Education (co-author), (2019)
President to President: The Digital Transformation Age Means Personalized Learning for All (contributing author) (2020-21)
Areas of Expertise
Higher education innovation and leadership
Higher education access
The future of higher education
Leadership and change management
Diversity in HED
Managing HED to fiscal stability and student success