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Economist Brock Blomberg is 17th President

S. Brock Blomberg, Dean of the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, Calif., and notable scholar of the economics of terrorism, was named by the Ursinus College board of trustees as the college’s 17th president.

A widely published political economist who has held positions in such policy-driven agencies as the Federal Reserve and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, Blomberg is a proponent of global education and an advocate for the liberal arts.  He told faculty, staff and students on Ursinus’s Collegeville campus today that his personal emphasis on civic engagement and economic access align with Ursinus’s historic commitment to those values. “Ursinus is a college that changes lives,” he said. “It’s something so many colleges wish they could be but lack the commitment.”

Blomberg was selected for his scholarship, his innovations as dean, his leadership capabilities and his connection to the values of Ursinus, said the head of the presidential search committee, Trustee Michael Marcon ’86. “Our objective was to discover someone who could embrace the Ursinus DNA, our values and what we are about, who is passionate about the liberal arts, and comes with highly regarded leadership experience. From the first meeting I could sense Brock’s energy and enthusiasm.”

Alan Novak ’71, chair of the board of trustees, said Blomberg impressed him as charismatic, and that students could relate to him as someone who has forged his own path. “The liberal arts changed his life, even as a young associate professor, and created in him the desire to instill that passion in others,” Novak said. “His leadership style is collaborative but decisive and, in both academia and in policy circles, he’s been successful in getting people to rally behind a vision and work together in creative and effective ways.”

Blomberg will lead a 146 year-old college with a long-standing emphasis on the liberal arts. Its historic legacy ensures that liberal education is provided through an academic program that empowers the intellect, awakens moral sensitivity, and challenges students to improve society. Blomberg, who says this mission is what first appealed to him about Ursinus, will join a college community that has raised its national profile while remaining true to its focus on the undergraduate experience and research. It is also about to embark on the leadership phase of its sesquicentennial campaign, “Promises to Keep.”

Blomberg, who served in different roles in the military for eight years, also was on the faculty at Wellesley College and was a visiting scholar at Harvard University before arriving at Claremont McKenna in 2003. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Tampa and received his master’s degree and doctorate in Economics from Johns Hopkins University.

Blomberg has served as a senior economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and was the U.S. Representative to the Economic Committee for Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation. He also served in various capacities with such organizations as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

His scholarship on the economics of terrorism involves the study of consequences, the life-cycle of terrorist organizations and their roots, and the relationship between violence and international investment. In addition to dean, Blomberg is currently the senior research fellow for CREATE (Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events) at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, which has become known for its research on the impact of 9/11.  He is widely quoted among business, financial and national publications for his expertise and has published more than 40 articles and book chapters in top economic journals.

He leaves a legacy of accomplishment at Claremont McKenna. “As dean of the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, the Barker chair in economics and a Roberts Fellow, Brock has made a real mark at Claremont McKenna,” said the college’s president, Hiram E. Chodosh. “He led the development of our signature Robert Day scholars program, served as an outstanding scholar-teacher in our exemplary PPE major (philosophy, politics, and economics) and cultivated a strong advisory board for the school. On behalf of the CMC community, I want to thank him for his many important contributions to the college, and we all wish him the very best as he takes this exciting new post at Ursinus College.”

He also implemented the first master’s degree offered at his college; developed the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance BA/MA program which allows advanced students to complete a B.A. and M.A. in finance in four years; and developed the Global Economic and Leadership Program in Asia. He also created an economic and entrepreneurial leadership program in Silicon Valley to enhance student outcomes.

Blomberg said that he relates to the Ursinus commitment to first generation families, and as a college that changes lives. “I didn’t go to a premier Ivy League college,” he told the campus. “My foster parents, later my adopted parents, weren’t trained in the intricacies of college counseling. And yet, my undergraduate experience changed my life forever.” 

“This story is told here at Ursinus every day, only better. I look forward to working with the Ursinus community to take the college from being a place of opportunity to the place of opportunity.”

A native of El Paso, Texas, Blomberg is the son of a military family and as such, spent his childhood in different locations. He has four children, three of whom will be in college this upcoming fall.

He succeeds the college’s 15th president, Bobby Fong, who died unexpectedly Sept. 8, 2014, and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Lucien “Terry” Winegar, considered the 16th President, who has been serving as Interim President. President-elect Blomberg will take office July 1.