Cornerstone University’s board of trustees unanimously appointed Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño as its 12th president.
The announcement comes after the university conducted a six-month nationwide search. Moreno-Riaño succeeds Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, who retired last month after serving as the school’s president for 13 years.
“The board of trustees is incredibly excited to welcome Dr. Moreno-Riaño as our 12th president,” said Carole Bos, chair of the Cornerstone board of trustees. “He possesses the academic experience, vision and profound faith in Christ that will propel Cornerstone into the next decade and beyond. As an institution, we anticipate a future of immense possibilities and growth under Gerson’s leadership.”
Before being named Cornerstone’s 12th president, Moreno-Riaño was the executive vice president for academic affairs and the chief academic officer at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for seven years. He also served as a tenured professor of government.
During his tenure at Regent, Moreno-Riaño provided strategic leadership for 10 undergraduate and graduate schools and the University Library, along with the enrollment management team and its call center.
Moreno-Riaño, a Colombia native, also served as the dean of the Regent’s College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the government department.
He led a multiyear strategic growth initiative that led to the creation of Regent’s School of Nursing, the founding of the College of Healthcare Sciences and an increase of the university’s academic programs by 60%. This growth initiative led to Regent becoming one of America’s fastest-growing universities, almost doubling its enrollment from 5,881 students in 2014 to over 11,000 students in the 2020-21 academic year.
Moreno-Riaño also led a reaffirmation of the university’s 10-year institutional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is the highest level of accreditation possible.
“Cornerstone University has a rich history of educating students to influence the world for Jesus Christ,” Moreno-Riaño said. “I believe that my selection as president was a true move of God for both the committee and for myself, and I am honored and privileged to have been called to continue building upon the outstanding Christ-centered, student-focused and academically excellent foundation driven by the board of trustees, Dr. Joseph Stowell and Cornerstone’s rich eighty-year history of building lives that matter.”
Prior to joining Regent University, Moreno-Riaño was an associate professor of political science at Cedarville University in Ohio.
“In the changing climate of higher education, Cornerstone requires a leader that understands the minutiae of day-to-day operations as well as long-term goals of a university,” Bos said. “Gerson has time and again exemplified his competencies in both realms. He is uniquely qualified to navigate Cornerstone through the challenging landscape of Christian higher education.”
The new president is versed in political science, philosophy and history. He has published six books, numerous articles and book chapters. He is a member of Société Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale — an invitation-only scholarly society for the study of medieval intellectual history.
He has secured fellowships with The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, the Lehrman American Studies Center hosted at Princeton University by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the Center for the Study of Democratic Citizenship at the University of Cincinnati and more. He also received the John Witherspoon Lecturer Award and the Templeton Enterprise Award (2nd place) from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
“Christ-centered higher education is one of the highest callings and noblest endeavors in which a follower of Jesus Christ can serve,” Moreno-Riaño said. “It is faithfulness to this type of higher education and its visionary and compelling application to today’s educational landscape that will distinguish Cornerstone University as the destination of choice for leading-edge Christian higher education in the years ahead.”
Moreno-Riaño earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science and pre-seminary biblical studies from Cedarville University and his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.