The 17th President of Ursinus College, Brock Blomberg is a force of positivity and a passionate advocate for the liberal arts. A macroeconomist with expertise in the economics of terrorism, Blomberg’s work forges connections between economics, politics, and philosophy.
Since becoming president of the college in July 2015, Blomberg has embarked on a brisk course of strategic change. He has worked to spark innovation and entrepreneurship at the college through a number of projects, including the Innovation and Discovery Center (IDC), which infused policy, entrepreneurship, and science with a postdisciplinary approach to education. The $29 million facility houses several science departments, as well as research on policy and entrepreneurship. He has championed the college’s three interdisciplinary Centers: U-Imagine, the Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good, and the Melrose Center for Global Civic Engagement. He created the Philadelphia Experience, which allows Ursinus students to take a full semester of coursework with Ursinus faculty members while living and completing internships in Philadelphia. He created the Institute for Student Success focusing on retention and academic support.
In his first year at Ursinus, he signed a transfer agreement with Montgomery County Community College and spoke out about the importance of counseling services to students.The college also signed an agreement with Villanova University’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing that allows Ursinus graduates to additionally earn an accelerated bachelor of science degree in nursing from Villanova.
Dedicated to improving quality of life on campus, he has championed the building of the Commons. Set to open in Winter 2020, it will offer meeting and event spaces, a new home for the college bookstore, an office suite for Ursinus admission staff and counselors, and a coffee house designed with an eye for vibrant and diverse programming. He continues to build an inclusive campus climate, appointing a Presidential Adviser for Inclusion and Equity, strengthening the college’s commitment to recruiting and retaining students from underrepresented groups, and launching the college’s Institute for Inclusion and Equity to coordinate programming and dialogue around diversity and social justice. President Blomberg created the position of Vice president for College and Community Engagement to continue the fostering of strong relationships with the surrounding communities and serve as an important linchpin between academic affairs and student affairs. This position also focuses the efforts of the college’s many inclusion, diversity and equity initiatives.
Under Blomberg, the college also embarked on an ambitious strategic plan, Ursinus 150. Generated by the community through a series of town halls and small-group discussions, the three pillars of the plan—Learning, Living Together, and Building Lifelong Connections—affirm the ethos of the college. This comprehensive plan provides concrete approaches to strengthening the college’s commitment to lifelong learning, diversity and inclusion, supporting people and infrastructure, and fiscal sustainability. As a physical complement to the strategic plan, the campus master planning process will direct approaches to the sustainability, utility, and design of the campus for coming decades. The college’s comprehensive campaign, Keep the Promise, which is nearing achievement of our $100-million goal, will ensure the fiscal health of the campus for the next generation of the Ursinus community.
He has published over 30 articles and book chapters in such top economics journals as the American Economic Review, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Monetary Economics, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Public Economics and the Review of Economics and Statistics. His research shows that terrorism has a modest but statistically significant impact on the economy and trade is one area particularly sensitive to attacks. He estimates the cost of the September 11 attacks to be approximately $60 billion. The responsiveness of policy-makers and the resiliency of the United States economy are two reasons these impacts are not larger.
Before arriving at Ursinus, Blomberg was dean of the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif., where he also served as the Peter K. Barker Professor of Economics and the George R. Roberts Fellow. An internationally known scholar and author of more than 40 articles and book chapters, Blomberg is a political economist with deep roots in national and global economic policy. He was on the faculty at Wellesley College and served as a visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs before arriving at Claremont McKenna in 2003.
Blomberg was a senior economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, and was the U.S. Representative to the Economic Committee for Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation. He also served with such organizations as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Blomberg served in the military for eight years. 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.