Howard named President of Robert Morris University

Published 3:51 pm Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dr. Christopher B. Howard has been named the eighth president of Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Howard, 46, the president of Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC), will join RMU on February 1, 2016, according to an RMU news release.

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“The Robert Morris University Board of Trustees is pleased to appoint Dr. Christopher Howard as RMU’s next president,” said Gary Claus, chair of the university’s board of trustees. “Dr. Howard is a high-energy, charismatic and visionary leader who believes in the power of mentorship — a perfect fit for RMU.”

H-SC’s board of trustees will immediately initiate a presidential search with the goal of naming the next president on March 1, 2016. Dr. Dennis G. Stevens, provost and dean of the faculty, will serve as interim president

following Dr. Howard’s departure.

Dr. Howard became the 24th president of H-SC on July 1, 2009, making him one of the youngest college presidents in the United States.

Howard“served as “a great motivator and inspiration” to Buckingham resident Matt Allen, ‘13.

“Chris Howard has the ability to be successful in whatever field he chooses,” Allen said of Howard’s departure. “The fact that he remembered me and my story of transferring [from Washington and Lee University] all those years will always leave an impact on me,” he said.

“Chris has been a good friend over the years and I think he’s done an outstanding job at Hampden Sydney,” said Farmville resident Scott Harwood Sr., a H-SC alum. “And I really hate to see him go. He’s done a lot; he’s brought in a lot of money. But I understand wanting to advance [his] career.”

“In the future, it is those higher education institutions truly committed to providing the foundational tools of critical thinking, written and oral communication and a deep understanding of the world we live in, coupled with the opportunity to delve deeply into the professions, that are poised for success,” Dr. Howard said. “RMU is an ‘all of the above’ university bolstered by an exceptional faculty, able staff, engaged alumni, dedicated board, supportive friends and bright and motivated students.”

Before his appointment as president of H-SC, Dr. Howard served as Vice-President for Leadership & Strategic Initiatives at the University of Oklahoma, where he also served as the director of the Honors College Leadership Center and a President’s Associates Presidential Professor.

Richard Harshman, chair of the RMU’s Presidential Search Committee and vice chair of the school’s board of trustees, said RMU’s growth and transformation over the past 10 years attracted outstanding candidates from across the nation.

“The search committee was impressed with the way Dr. Howard was able to build on the traditions of his current institution and to translate those traditions to contemporary and more diverse generations of students,” Harshman said. “He expressed early insights on how RMU’s distinctive culture and core values can foster an even stronger, common bond between students and graduates of different eras and demographics. This will be essential as RMU continues to evolve in order to achieve its next level of success.”

Dr. Howard is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he earned a BS in political science. A Rhodes Scholar, he earned his doctorate in politics at Oxford University and an MBA with distinction from the Harvard Business School.