Reed Pays Tribute to Bryant University President Ronald K. Matchley
Madam President, I rise to join my colleague from Rhode Island in celebrating the career of a distinguished national servant and university leader, the Honorable Ronald K. Machtley, who is retiring from Bryant University after serving as its president for 24 years.
Today, marks President Machtley’s final day at the helm of Bryant University. He has been an extraordinary leader and has placed the university on a path for continued growth and innovation. President Machtley brought a deep commitment to public service to Bryant University. A graduate of the Naval Academy, he retired as a captain after 25 years in Active Duty and the Reserves. He was elected to the House of Representatives to represent the First Congressional District of Rhode Island in 1988, where he served for three terms. Two of these terms, we served side by side. In 1996, he was selected to be the eighth president of then-Bryant College, an institution founded in 1863 to provide business education to working people, especially Civil War veterans.
When he arrived at Bryant College, President Machtley found an institution struggling to survive. Enrollment was low, with five empty dormitories, and the budget was in deficit. He began the painstaking work of restoring the college’s confidence, finances, and educational programs. By 2004, Bryant College was ready to become Bryant University.
Today, applications to Bryant are at alltime highs, and enrollment stands at 3,500 undergraduate students compared to only 2,200 in 1996. President Machtley also led successful capital campaigns and oversaw the transformation of campus facilities, including the 2016 opening of the state-of-theart Academic Innovation Center. He expanded Bryant’s reach around the globe, opening a campus in Zhuhai, China. These investments in the university have paid off. Bryant has climbed in the national rankings, and Bryant graduates are highly competitive. Recent data show that 99 percent of Bryant University students have jobs or are in graduate school within 6 months of graduation.
Bryant University will also miss the contributions of Mrs. Kati C Machtley, who has served as an ambassador for the university and spearheaded important campus initiatives. Since 1997, Mrs. Machtley has led the annual Women’s Summit at Bryant, which has provided a forum to inspire, empower, and advance women. The Machtley’s have helped lay the foundation that will launch Bryant University into the future. Now that future is in the good hands of the faculty, administration, students, and alumni. They continue to inspire us all with their example. I thank them for their service and wish them well in retirement.