White man in his 60s dressed in a suit talks with a diverse group of six male and female college students on steps of historic building.
President Chris Ames talking with students in front of the Science Hall on the Troy campus.

Russell Sage College President Christopher Ames has announced he will retire on June 30, 2024, at the close of a seven-year tenure that led to the financial stabilization of the College and positioned it to be a leading institution for social mobility that meets the needs of today’s students with forward-thinking programs.

A national search will be conducted for the college’s next president this academic year.

“Russell Sage College is an inspiring place to work, and I am privileged to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such talented people to move the institution forward,” Ames said. “With an exciting set of new academic programs launching, this is the right time for a new leader to guide Sage in writing its next chapter as a leader in affordable and accessible private education that helps students succeed.”

Ames arrived at Russell Sage in July 2017 from Shepherd University, a public institution in West Virginia, where he served as provost. What followed was an intense period of change that moved Russell Sage from a once precarious financial position to five consecutive years of budget surpluses and fundraising efforts that yielded more than $30 million to advance the College. In 2020, under his leadership, the College, divided into an all-women’s college in Troy and a co-educational college in Albany, merged and rebranded into one institution under the Russell Sage College name. It is now a co-educational institution with dynamic campuses in Albany and Troy, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs to more than 2,100 students.

Russell Sage has been repeatedly recognized among national universities by U.S. News & World Report as a Top Performer on Social Mobility (ranked 15th for 2024) and Best Value School (ranked 35th for 2024).

In addition, Ames introduced the Women’s Institute and the Thrive@Russell Sage initiative, added six athletic teams, developed six new graduate programs, managed a safe and judicious response to the COVID-19 pandemic with no employee layoffs, and built a creative and experienced leadership team to help guide the college into the future.

“I’m not sure many colleges and universities can say their president is as widely respected by the campus and broader community as Chris Ames is,” said Caroline Leavitt DeCota, chair of the College’s board of trustees and a 1984 Russell Sage graduate. “Chris has worked to strategically position RSC for the future, managed effectively through a pandemic, and communicated openly and honestly with all constituencies. On behalf of the board of trustees, we could not be more grateful for his service. We know that this is the right time in Chris’s life to make this change, and his legacy and the culture he created will be felt for years. We wish him nothing but the best.”

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