H-SC Offers Howard One-Year Extension

Published 3:07 pm Tuesday, April 1, 2014

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY — Hampden-Sydney College announced Tuesday morning, April 1, that the board of trustees has approved a one-year contract extension offer for president Dr. Christopher B. Howard.

The contract, however, has not yet been negotiated or finalized.

In a statement, the College notes that “one of the primary responsibilities of the Board of Trustees of the College is to appoint and evaluate the president. Through a resolution adopted on March 31, the Board has elected to offer President Christopher Howard a one-year contract for 2014-15.”

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The current contract with Dr. Howard, who was emailed by The Herald but chose not to comment, expires on June 30 of this year.

“The one-year contract for the president is similar to those that have been offered to prior Hampden-Sydney presidents after their initial terms of service,” the statement continues. “In defining the specific terms of the agreement for 2014-15, the Board will develop a set of goals, expectations and recommendations for the president and for the strengthening of the College.”

The statement quoted board chairman Tom Allen as saying, “I’m delighted with the board’s decision and I look forward to working with Chris Howard moving forward.”

Howard, the college’s 24th president and the first African-American to lead H-SC, is a US Air Force Academy graduate and Rhodes Scholar, who earned his Doctorate in politics at Oxford University and an MBA with distinction from the Harvard Business School.

Monday’s announcement is the next chapter in the contract extension story, which initially saw Dr. Howard tell The Herald in February that his contract had been extended for five years, only to say a few days later that he had misspoken and that it had not been finalized by the board of trustees.

College spokesman Tommy Shomo explained then that the board and Dr. Howard would be working on that contract extension in March.

H-SC posted the full March 31 board of trustees resolution on the college’s website Tuesday morning and it notes that “as part of its annual duty to elect officers of the board, President Howard, a board member, was elected president of the college on February 8 of this year. The election was a procedural matter required by the by-laws. It acknowledged the sitting president but did not require the board to offer the president a new contract for 2014-15.”

The board has now voted to offer that one-year contract extension.

On March 4, according to the H-SC board resolution, the trustees passed a resolution authorizing “its officer to conduct a performance review in consultation with third-party expertise, to evaluate alternatives consistent with best practices in higher education and the mutual interest of the parties, and to present their findings and recommendations to the board for consideration and vote no later than April 30, 2014.”

The resolution notes that the officers “engaged the consulting services of Dr. Richard Morrill, former president of the University of Richmond, to assist with this year’s annual president’s performance review.”

Dr. Morrill, the resolution states, “recommended that there be an agreement to extend the contract for one year before undertaking the performance review.”

Thus, the board has authorized its officers to negotiate a one-year contract extension with the goals and expectations for that year to be determined upon the board’s consideration of the performance review and to present the findings and recommendations of the performance review to the board no later than June 30, 2014.

Dr. Morrill, according to the resolution, has been engaged to assist in the performance review process, and will be on campus for about 10 days in April and May to conduct interviews associated with that process.

“We are pleased that he is available to assist the college,” the resolution states, “and we look forward to welcoming him to campus.”

In 2011-12, with Dr. Howard at the helm, H-SC jumped 17 places in the rankings by US News & World Report’s list of the top 100 liberal arts colleges, the largest jump of any of those institutions of higher learning.

Dr. Howard’s many achievements and honors include being a 2012 honoree of Dominion Power’s Strong Men and Women: Excellence In Leadership Series and being named a 2010 African-American Trailblazer in Virginia History by the Library of Virginia.

A founder, former chairman and current trustee of the Impact Young Lives Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarship and travel opportunities for South African university students of color, Dr. Howard is also a member of the National Council of Advisors of the Center of the Study of the Presidency and Congress.