Milo Riverso Settles in as Manhattan College’s Next President

By Kyla Guilfoil, Managing Editor

Manhattan College students returned to campus with a new face welcoming them from the president’s office: Milo Riverso, ’81, Ph.D., P.E. 

Riverso was announced as the college’s next president in a statement released in late June, just days before officially starting his role on July 1. He came into office right as Daniel Gardner, FSC, fulfilled his position as interim president after serving throughout the previous school year. 

According to a statement from the college, the presidential search took place over the course of four months and was led by a 10-person search committee composed of trustees, faculty and administrators. 

Stephen Squeri, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said in the college’s statement that he is confident in the committee’s decision. 

“Dr. Riverso is a visionary leader with a passion for education,” Squeri said in the statement. “He is the ideal person to lead Manhattan College into the future. I am confident that he will build on the College’s strong foundation and continue to advance its mission of providing a high-quality education to students from all backgrounds.”

Riverso, a MC graduate from the class of 1981, accepted the role of president after a long, successful career in construction engineering.

Riverso told The Quadrangle that after graduating with his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Manhattan in 1981, he went on to complete his master’s degree and doctorate degree in civil engineering in 1982 and 1984 respectively. Riverso said he was just 23 years old when he completed his graduate degrees at Purdue University. 

Riverso moved back to New York City to begin working in construction. He told The Quadrangle that his first job was working as a project manager on the Rockefeller University building on FDR Drive. 

Riverso went on to work as president and CEO of the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA), where he oversaw capital improvements and new construction of New York City public schools. Riverso spoke about the growth he saw under his leadership. 

“I grew [the organization] in five years from 200 million a year to 3 billion a year instituting all sorts of reforms in the organization,” Riverso told The Quadrangle. 

Following his work at SCA, Riverso eventually ended up at STV Group Inc., where he served as president and CEO for nine years. At STV, Riverso worked on notable projects such as the Freedom Tower, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum complex and the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport. He retired from construction in 2020. 

Beyond his extensive work in the field of construction and development, Riverso has remained passionate about education. He told The Quadrangle that he served as an adjunct professor in the School of Engineering for several years in the 1990s. 

Further, Riverso remained active at MC by serving in the Engineering Curriculum Review Committee for 25 years and by serving on the Board of Trustees’ Facilities and Development Committees since 1999. 

Riverso himself has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2015 and was awarded the De La Salle Medal in 2014 in recognition of his dedication and leadership at the college. 

He emphasized the importance of student support at the college and explained that he helped establish the mentor program, which came to fruition due to a low retention rate in the engineering program. 

Riverso said that it seemed many incoming students were discouraged by the pure STEM-based classes such as calculus, chemistry and physics, which were necessary for freshman engineers. 

Riverso said the mentor program brought in professionals to inspire and connect with these students and show them what was beyond the difficult courses. 

“We came up with the idea that we could bring the students into our office in their freshman year and show them the pot at the end of the rainbow,” Riverso said. “That they won’t be doing calculus, chemistry and physics when they come into engineering. They’ll be designing buildings and airports and bridges and tunnels and mechanical systems and things like that.”  

Currently, Riverso is looking to develop MC in new ways. In particular, his construction expertise has led to his passion for renovating MC’s facilities. 

Riverso addressed Overlook Manor, the upperclassmen dorm on 238 Street that was sold earlier in spring. 

He told The Quadrangle that the college took the money from selling Overlook and has reinvested in rebuilding Chrysostom Hall and Horan Hall on the main campus. 

Chrysostom was shut down due to a steam leak that caused extensive damage, Riverso said, but reopened with full renovations last spring semester, in order to shut down Horan for its renovations. 

Riverso told The Quadrangle that the college hopes these renovations will draw more students to living back on campus rather than in nearby apartments off campus. 

Beyond housing, Riverso is also focused on updating the college’s academic facilities. 

“I’ve been walking different buildings each day and we have a lot of deferred maintenance,” Riverso said. “I walked through classrooms that haven’t changed since I was here in ‘77 and I’m scared they haven’t changed since my father was here in 1947.” 

Riverso said that he is working to solidify funds to update classrooms and upgrade academic rooms across campus. 

With hefty facility demands across campus, Riverso also faces questions about enrollment trailing and faculty shifting but said he plans to uplift both. 

Gardner told The Quadrangle he wishes Riverso well in taking over the presidential role, and acknowledged the many needs the college is now facing. 

“The next president will face many challenges but I’m confident that he will provide the leadership necessary to ensure the College’s continued success in the years to come,” Gardner wrote in a statement to The Quadrangle. “I wish Dr. Riverso well in his new role.” 

Despite the challenges ahead, Riverso maintained that he is hopeful and positive about the future of Manhattan College. He told The Quadrangle he is excited to be in the role. 

“I’m very happy to be here and I love to meet [everyone],” Riverso said. “I thrive off of the energy of students. And throughout my entire career, I’ve always maintained an interest in the students and their education, [which] absolutely matters.”