SIEDC Member of the Month

Dr. Richard Guarasci

President, Wagner College
SIEDC Member of the Month, August 2017


Dr. Richard Guarasci is the 18th and longest-serving president of Wagner College. He also holds the rank of professor of political science, and he teaches in the areas of democracy, citizenship, and American diversity. He previously served as Wagner’s provost and senior vice president.

During the past 15 years, Wagner College has seen tremendous growth and success. The College is featured in exclusive guides such as the Princeton Review’s Colleges That Create Futures and was ranked #6 on a list of “value-added colleges” in the New York Times. 

The College endowment has grown from $5 million to more than $80 million. Wagner’s architectural signature building, Main Hall, underwent a complete exterior restoration, and the first new residence hall in 41 years, Foundation Hall, was opened in 2010. Wagner students go on to lives of high achievement in many areas, including business, healthcare, the sciences, and the arts. Three have been named Fulbright Finalists. PayScale ranked Wagner graduates’ salaries in the top 14 percent nationally.

Under Dr. Guarasci’s leadership, Wagner College facilitated the founding of the Port Richmond Partnership. This collaboration encourages sustainable relationships among members of the Port Richmond and Wagner College communities to enhance student learning and raise civic awareness, while also supporting collaborations that address significant challenges and establish measurable impacts in five high-need areas: arts, education, health, economic development, and immigration. Mayor Bill De Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina declared the partnership between Wagner College and Port Richmond High School a model for college-community civic engagement.

Dr. Guarasci is a leader in higher education nationally, especially in the field of civic engagement. He currently serves as vice chairman of the Association of American Colleges and Universities board of directors, chairman and secretary of the board for Campus Compact, and president emeritus of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. He is a former chairman of the New American Colleges & Universities and the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.

At Wagner, Dr. Guarasci founded the Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts, the four-year curriculum for all undergraduates, which draws together a substantive liberal arts core into a series of learning communities and experiential learning tutorials.

Dr. Guarasci holds a bachelor of science degree from Fordham University. He earned his M.A. in economics and his Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University. Before Wagner College, he was the dean of the college and professor of political science at Hobart College; and he served as dean and founding director of the First-Year Program at St. Lawrence University, a nationally celebrated model program of democratic living and learning required for all first-year students. St. Lawrence University awarded him an honorary doctorate on May 21, 2017.

Contact Information

Mailing Address: One Campus Road, Staten Island, NY 10301
GPS: 631 Howard Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10301

  • This private liberal arts college is located in the borough of Staten Island, New York City.

  • The College was founded in 1883 in Rochester, N.Y. In 2018, we will celebrate 100 years on Staten Island.

  • Wagner College’s beautiful 105-acre campus is home to a close-knit community of approximately 2,200 bright students.

  • Wagner College offers 55 undergraduate programs of study (including majors, minors, and pre-professional programs).

  • Master’s programs are available in business administration, education, microbiology, nursing, and physician assistant studies. The Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing also offers the Doctorate of Nursing Practice.