I remember it well. It was an overcast March afternoon and I was walking back to my dorm room after my last class of the day when the sky opened up and buckets of rain began to fall upon my umbrella-less head. Right on cue, a white Ford Taurus pulled up beside me and the grey haired man inside cracked the window and told me to get in. I recognized the voice before I ever saw the familiar face. The driver was the president of my small college. He was beloved by all, but that day he made an indelible impression on me. He knew my name, what dorm I lived in, and (most importantly) that I had just lost my father a couple of weeks prior. He drove me back to my dorm and sat and talked to me for almost an hour! Almost ten years later that conversation is still fresh in my mind as one of the most genuine and caring human interactions I’ve ever experienced. This is what great college Presidents do!
Throughout the country at schools small and large there are men and women who are devoted to the cause of higher education. They do tireless work to ensure the success of their school and their students. TheBestSchools.org has compiled a list of The 20 Most Interesting College Presidents to spotlight these amazing men and women who are striving to make a difference in higher education.
Many will remember the scenes the morning of 9/11. The iconic moment of President George W. Bush being informed that the attacks on the World Trade Center had just occurred. The man delivering that message was White House Chief of Staff, Andrew H. Card, Jr. Since that day Card has become the president of Franklin Pierce University. He is an ordained minister in the Methodist church and has served on the board of the Union Pacific Railroad.
Great college presidents lead by example to encourage their students to overcome adversity. Jane Fernandes, President at Guilford College is a shining example. Despite being born deaf, Fernandes holds advanced degrees in French and comparative literature. Her work at Guilford has included promotion of diversity and inclusion.
Rhodes scholar, Air Force veteran, All-American high school football player, and college president. That’s an impressive résumé. These all describe Christopher B. Howard, president of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia from 2009-2016. Howard co-founded Impact Young Lives, a non-profit group that provides scholarships and travel opportunities to college students of color in South Africa. As of February 2016, Howard is now the president of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
These are only a few examples of the outstanding leadership in our college and university system. TheBestSchools.org has highlighted twenty such presidents who are some of the most interesting people you will ever encounter. Check out the full list.