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Cornerstone University
Selects Gerson Moreno-Riaño
as Its 12th President

News May 27, 2021

The Cornerstone University board of trustees announced today it has unanimously appointed Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño as its 12th university president. Moreno-Riaño succeeds Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, who retired this month after 13 years.

Moreno-Riaño joins Cornerstone after serving for over seven years as executive vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. There, he was also a tenured professor of government.

The selection of Moreno-Riaño comes after a six-month, nationwide quest coordinated by executive search firm Carter Baldwin. The exploration produced 70 viable candidates which, after extensive interviews, was narrowed to three names, of which the board unanimously chose Moreno-Riaño.

“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.”

During his tenure at Regent, Dr. Moreno-Riaño provided strategic leadership for 10 undergraduate and graduate schools and the University Library, along with the entire enrollment management team and its call center. He led a multi-year strategic growth initiative that led to the creation of Regent’s School of Nursing, founding of the College of Healthcare Sciences and 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. Other key accomplishments include successfully leading a reaffirmation of the university’s 10-year institutional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)—the highest level of accreditation possible—as well as Regent being ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top national universities and the #1 online bachelor’s degree program in Virginia for close to a decade.

“Cornerstone University has a rich history of educating students to influence the world for Jesus Christ,” said Moreno-Riaño. “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 80-year history of building lives that matter.”

Before serving in his latest role at Regent, Moreno-Riaño served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the government department at the university. He also previously taught as an associate professor of political science at Cedarville University.

“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.”

Moreno-Riaño is a scholar of political science, philosophy and history—with a keen understanding of how Christianity has influenced and been influenced by these systems. He has published six books, numerous scholarly articles and book chapters and has given invited scholarly papers at many prestigious universities and scholarly societies throughout the world. He is a member of several scholarly societies including the prestigious Société Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale—a by invitation only scholarly society for the study of medieval intellectual history.

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. 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 has 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,” added Moreno-Riaño. “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 was born in Colombia, South America, and moved with his family to Rochester, New York at the age of nine. He is blessed to be the husband to Ellen and father to Isaac, Victoria, Abraham, Emma, Abigail and Zachariah.

Learn More

Audrey Wierenga

Audrey Wierenga (B.A. ’18) is the copywriter for Cornerstone’s Marketing & Communications Office. She graduated from Cornerstone in 2018 with a degree in broadcast communication. Audrey also serves on the Young Alumni Council.

In her spare time, Audrey enjoys working on her own full-length work of fiction, co-hosting a podcast about the Academy Awards and participating in local theatre productions.

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