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Richard J. Helldobler

"Northeastern is not just a place that profoundly transforms all those who come to the University. It is also a mindset -- a spirit of resilience and perseverance that embodies all of our University Values. I lead with this optimistic spirit, inspired by the dedicated service of Northeastern faculty and staff for the benefit of all of our students."

Dr. Richard J. Helldobler was unanimously appointed Interim President by the University's Board of Trustees in July 2016. Since joining Northeastern in 2013 as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Helldobler has spearheaded a number of significant initiatives at the University, including the creation of academic programming for Northeastern’s El Centro location, which opened in 2014. He also established the Center for College Access and Success, which partners with teachers, parents and neighborhood communities to improve educational equity and excellence for students so that they will succeed in college and beyond. A million-dollar marketing campaign, which he worked in cooperation with other departments to launch, has helped to raise the profile of excellence of Northeastern students and faculty.

Promoting student success has also been one of his top priorities. Under his leadership, the University’s Student Success Programs have been reorganized to more closely align with the academic mission of the University, leading to growth in retention and graduation rates. 

Dr. Helldobler, who was a first-generation college student, celebrates the diversity of our University Community. New admissions policies introduced under his leadership have created greater diversity within our incoming classes, and his partnership work with Student Affairs peer-mentoring programs through the Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs has provided additional opportunities for student success.

Professional History

As the University’s chief academic officer he held responsibility for all matters related to academics, including the oversight of four colleges, the library, admissions, recruitment and other areas. Prior to Northeastern, he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Shepherd University as well as Associate Provost/Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at California University of Pennsylvania.


Dr. Helldobler earned his Ph.D. in Theater and a Master of Arts in Speech and Theater from Bowling Green State University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from The University of Toledo.

University Leadership

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