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Meet Cornerstone's 12th President

Educating Global Influencers for Jesus Christ.

“Our university finds itself at this very moment with the greatest missional opportunity in its 82-year history. Never has our university had such an opportunity to be as compellingly distinctive than at this very moment. Never has our university had such an opportunity to prepare and educate tomorrow’s Christian influencers for our communities, churches, marketplace, and world.” – Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño


Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño has served in the vineyard of Christian higher education, as he calls it, for over two decades as a faculty member and tenured professor as well as holding numerous leadership posts including dean, executive vice president and now the 12th president of Cornerstone University. He is a teacher at heart who is committed to shepherding his students to love God with all of their minds, to follow God’s son, Jesus Christ, with all of their hearts and to love God’s word, the holy scriptures, for it is the inspired word of almighty God.

Besides his love for teaching, Dr. Moreno-Riaño is a scholar and intellectual, a man of ideas who believes that no idea is benign, since all ideas have consequences. His areas of expertise include the history of political philosophy with a special emphasis in early modern political ideas, democratic theory, and political theology and ethics. He is a member of the American Political Science Association and the foremost society for the study of medieval philosophy and intellectual history, the Société Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale – a by-invitation only scholarly society.

Moreno-Riaño’s distinguished scholarly career has included serving as a fellow in the Lehrman American Studies Center – hosted at Princeton University, an academic fellow in the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a fellow in the Center for the Study of Democratic Citizenship at the University of Cincinnati, and a visiting professor in the Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University (Budapest).

Moreno-Riaño received the 2011 John Witherspoon Lecturer Award from the Family Research Council, gave the inaugural Iwata Distinguished Lectures in Politics, Economics and Christian Ethics at Biola University (2008) and also was honored with a 2nd place Templeton Enterprise Award from the Templeton Foundation and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, based on his research in economics and natural law ethics.

He has presented both invited and accepted scholarly papers at Peking University, University of Cambridge, University of Oslo, University of Bergen, University of East Anglia, University of Helsinki and numerous scholarly societies including the American Political Science Association, the Renaissance Society of America, the International Medieval Congress, the International Political Science Association and the American Psychological Association.

Moreno-Riaño has published six books and numerous book chapters and scholarly articles in such prestigious academic journals as History of Political Thought and the American Review of Public Administration. His book, The Prospect for Internet Democracy (2009) (co-authored with Michael Margolis), was nominated as the Book of the Year in 2010 by the Information Technology and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Moreno-Riaño also has been featured in numerous television, radio, and print interviews and publications through such outlets as The Washington Post, The Washington Examiner, CBN News, Fox News, Inside Higher Education, Virginia Business, Voice of America Radio, American Family Radio, and others.


  • Ph.D. Political Science, University of Cincinnati
  • M.A. Political Science, University of Cincinnati
  • B.A. Political Science and Pre-Seminary Biblical Studies, Cedarville University


  • History of political philosophy
  • Government
  • Political theology


Vision and Focus

For decades, Dr. Moreno-Riaño has been a champion for Christian higher education that is Biblically-centered, growth-minded and measurably excellent. Together with the entire Cornerstone University community, he is committed to helping the institution become the Destination of Choice amongst American Christian universities and has set a prayerful, collaborative, visionary course for the future to honor Jesus Christ.


Destination of Choice Distinction

Pursue distinctive excellence. A humble pursuit of compellingly distinctive academic excellence and student experience will expand Cornerstone’s mission, ministry, community and marketplace value and impact in Michigan and beyond.



Prepare and educate tomorrow’s courageous Christian influencers for our communities, churches, marketplace, and world to foster human flourishing.


Mission-centered Growth

Develop a mission-centric enrollment growth focus across the university that creates market and ministry-ready graduates who are academically trained and spiritually formed to make Jesus Christ preeminent in their life, work, ministry and community.


Fiscal Flourishing

Invest boldly in growth. A thriving university must create an operational enterprise that is agile, measurably effective, fiscally strong and purposeful in pursuing mission-centric growth to ensure a vibrant future.

Destination of Choice Initiatives

Dr. Moreno-Riaño passionately believes that Cornerstone University can flourish and become the Destination of Choice university in Christian higher education in America, if rooted upon the LORD and a courageous, vibrant, and resilient mission-centric unity. He developed new initiatives to establish a distinctive foundation of academic excellence, Biblical Worldview, collaboration, and community service to influence and serve students, alumni, ministries and the marketplace in Michigan and beyond. Pivotal new programs include:

  • Pastors and Church Outreach: Serving pastors and the church community is a vital priority that must flourish for generations to come.  New partnerships have formed and new investments were made to expand the Urban Ministry Cohort Program, create a first ever Pastors-in-Residence program and establish a President’s Pastoral Advisory Council to collaborate with churches and their leadership in greater measure.
  • CU Ahead Together:  Several inaugural programs were launched through CU Ahead Together to facilitate campus-wide collaboration, unity, shared learning and shared conversations to strengthen campus culture and academic excellence. Praise the LORD for the vibrant momentum and outcomes that emerged with some immediate implementations as well as future planned launches focused on academics, spiritual life and formation, and outstanding student experience initiatives.
  • Foundational Value Statements: A historic outcome of the campus-wide CU Ahead Together initiative is three board-affirmed essential foundational value statements reflecting commitments to a Biblical Worldview of God’s vision for the world.  These significant commitments will serve alongside the CU Confession to ground the community in the preeminence of Jesus Christ and scripture and include:  Christian Worldview Statement, Academic Vision Statement, Beautiful Christian Community Statement.
  • Wisdom Conversations:  Aimed at creating a shared, respectful, thoughtful community dialogue to address pressing societal divisions and a fraying social fabric, Wisdom Conversations launched in spring and fall 2022 to bring national thought leaders and influencers to Cornerstone to discussion significant issues affecting America.  Nearly 1,000 campus and community attendees participated in these historic events that will help position Cornerstone University as a leader in Christian higher education.

Books by Dr. Moreno-Riaño

The Prospect of Internet Democracy

A rich exploration of the implications of the internet and related information and communication technologies for democratic theory.

A Companion to Marsilius of Padua

An international group of scholars provide a guide both to the life and works of Marsilius of Padua as well as to the interpretive debates surrounding one of the great thinkers of the Latin Middle Ages.

The World of Marsilius of Padua

Presents a compendium of scholarly contributions to the understanding of Marsilius, his life and times, and his lasting impact on Western thought.

Time and Eternity

Wrestles with the complex and difficult subject of time and eternity in the medieval period, reflecting different scholarly approaches.

Political Tolerance, Culture, and the Individual

Investigates the study of culture’s relationship to political tolerance, particularly on the attempt to conceptualize culture in such a way so that its influence on tolerant attitudes can be measured.

Tolerance in the 21st Century

Investigates key philosophical and practical dilemmas surrounding the implementation and realization of tolerance in the 21st century: the political, social, moral, religious, global, and philosophical issues integral to discussions in our current era.

Messages from Dr. Moreno-Riaño

Gerson Moreno-Riaño speaking from a wooden podium on the stage of Christ Chapel at Cornerstone University

Christ’s Example of Friendship
11.1.23, President’s Chapel

The Demands of Friendship
10.25.23, President’s Chapel

Christianity in America: Declining Towards Insignificance or Resurging Toward Revival?
10.5.23, Wisdom Conversations

9.6.23, President’s Address

Christ, Our Greatest Friend
8.31.23, President’s Chapel

The Beautiful Christan Community Part III
4.12.23, President’s Chapel

The Beautiful Christian Community Part II
3.16.23, President’s Chapel

The Beautiful Christian Community
2.15.23, President’s Chapel

Cultural Conversations In Scripture
11.9.22, President’s Chapel

How Should We Live Today?  God, the Bible and Human Flourishing
10.27.22, Wisdom Conversations

Gratitude Day
9.28.22, President’s Chapel

9.7.22, President’s Address

Christ the Greatest Influencer
8.31.22, President’s Chapel

5.7.22, President’s Address

Jesus Calling His First Disciples
10.6.21, President’s Chapel

Committed to Christ

When Dr. Moreno-Riaño was in third grade, his parents enrolled him in an Assemblies of God school—not because of its emphasis on faith, but because of its reputation. Nevertheless, he accepted Christ during a chapel service at the school, and then recommitted his life to Christ at 14. It was then that God called him to full-time ministry. God used Dr. Moreno-Riaño’s love for learning and growing interest in government and political science to fuel what would become a career in teaching students how Christ is moving in a broken world and how they can become influencers for Him.

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