Past Presidents | Robert Morris University

Robert Morris University was founded in 1921 in downtown Pittsburgh as the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy. The school’s founder, educator and accountant Andrew Blass, rented classroom space in the Blackstone Building. In 1935, the institution changed its name to the Robert Morris School of Business in honor of the Founding Father popularly known as the "financier of the American Revolution."

After leasing space at several Pittsburgh locations, including the William Penn Hotel, the school purchased a building of its own in 1959 at 600 Fifth Ave. Soon after that, in response to a new requirement that Pennsylvania accounting students have a college degree in order to become CPAs, Robert Morris became a nonprofit institution and junior college.

At the same time, responding to a development boom near the new airport and Parkway West, Robert Morris acquired Pine Hill Manor, the Moon Township estate of Oliver Kaufmann, and began building a residential campus in 1963. The first students on campus lived in the Kaufmann mansion, where today sits Massey Hall. By the end of that decade, Robert Morris had become a four-year college.

The school continued to grow and expand, joining the NCAA Division I for interscholastic athletics in 1977 and adding graduate degree programs and more bachelor’s programs as well. For decades, some students commuted or lived on the Moon campus and took classes there exclusively, while others studied entirely at the downtown building, usually in the evenings after work. The Fifth Avenue building was sold in 2010, though the university still offers classes in the Golden Triangle at its RMU Downtown location.

In 2002, following approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the college became Robert Morris University. While alumni from the early days may still recognize some of the original buildings, a spate of recent and ongoing new construction — from academic buildings to residence halls to the football stadium — ensure that the institution continues to provide students with a vibrant, attractive residential campus community for living and learning.


Andrew Blass 1921-1929
Founded the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy in rented space in downtown Pittsburgh, using curriculum similar to what he had overseen as dean of the Pace Institute in Washington, D.C.


C.W. Salmond 1929-1935
Oversaw expansion to add business and secretarial studies as the school became the Robert Morris School of Business.


Richard Khuen III 1935-1948
Relocated the institution to the William Penn Hotel and trimmed the name to Robert Morris School.


John McCartan 1948-1966
Bought the Oliver Kaufmann summer estate, Pine Hill Manor, in Moon Township for a suburban campus, and transformed the business into a nonprofit organization to acquire junior college status.


Charles Sewall 1967-1989
Quickly achieved four-year status as Robert Morris College, then added M.B.A. program and competitive NCAA Div. I athletics.


Edward Nicholson 1989-2005
Added more expansion, including the first doctoral program, and led the institution in its final transition to Robert Morris University.


Gregory Dell'Omo 2005-2015
Led the push for accreditations including AACSB, and oversaw a boom of new construction on the Moon campus and sale of the Pittsburgh building to Duquesne university.