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55 Top U.S. College and University Presidents

Written by College Cliffs Team At, our team, comprising seasoned educators and counselors, is committed to supporting students on their journey through graduate studies. Our advisors, holding advanced degrees in diverse fields, provide tailored guidance, current program details, and pragmatic tips on navigating application procedures.

Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: February 23, 2024, Reading time: 44 minutes

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No analog in the modern corporate world best describes the role of the college president! It consists of facing a dizzying group of stakeholders and subordinates on- and off-campus.

We are talking about the student’s parents who are too involved in their child’s education, community officials who persistently influence the institution’s role, the alumni who seek to preserve their experience, and government leaders who stipulate broader accountability despite the plummeting state support.

College and University Presidents

Filling a college president’s position necessitates administrative and financial astuteness, fundraising expertise, and political skills. Presidents must be receptive and accessible, and restrained and calculative in this age manipulated by round-the-clock news coverage and the provocative nature of social media.

Presidents must learn to balance society’s aggressiveness to boost the return on investment of education at their school and administer the persuasion from community and government leaders regarding crucial issues.

With that said, bigger colleges and universities significantly rely on the president’s capabilities to handle such massive responsibility of running an entire administration. Unlike in smaller colleges where a Dean may serve as an academic entrepreneur, the President acts as the Chief Executive Officer and regularly reports to the Board of Trustees, which consists of individuals externally connected to the institution.

Roles and Responsibilities

College and University Presidents

The kind of President a college or university requires is primarily dependent on the institution at that exact moment. However, institution-based considerations can vary tremendously. Some situations demand a change agent, while others seek a stabilizing leader. At times, a school may need an internally focused academic leader or an outward-looking superior and fundraiser.

Alumni status is also essential as a disciplinary background. There are many possibilities; establishing a framework of the required profile is the trustees’ responsibility.

Essentially, presidents must obtain the boards’ complete trust and support to formulate and carry out a vision for the school. A President’s vision is crucial since it conveys a message of the institution’s journey from then on and where it’s headed.

Although the President’s role is to give voice to the vision, they do not formulate the vision alone. This process is done together with the members of the school community being accountable for its development.

One of the primary aspects of the President’s role is emblematic. The President is the representative of the institution as a whole. Presidents can steer the administration of the college toward a provided direction. Ultimately, the President serves as the mediator, the liaison, and the consensus maker for internal and external issues in the school.

Differences Between a Dean and a President

College and University Presidents

Internally, a college president’s job is to ensure that the school’s operation runs seamlessly. Most of them work with an advisory cabinet that consists of vice presidents, deans, and other key personnel who ensure that the school’s objectives and vision are carried out systematically.

On the other hand, deans deal primarily with the academic side of things. There are several types of deans; some handle administrative tasks, such as hiring department chairs who provide management oversight to bureaucratic procedures within the division.

Deans also have associates who work for them and perform the responsibilities delegated to them. Deans are uniquely positioned to drive institutional change.

College and University Presidents

College and university presidents are being hauled in various directions. Chief among their responsibilities are transformational developments that will ensure a long-running impact on the future. Ultimately, it means serving today’s diverse student community, redesigning academic programs, and reevaluating finance structures. To fulfill all these, presidents must exploit the analytics revolution on behalf of the school community.

Check out our profiled list of the country’s well-renowned college and university presidents. We celebrate their passion and dedication toward their craft as we highlight their remarkable achievements!

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Joseph I. Castro

California State University, Fresno

Joseph I. Castro, a Professor of Educational Leadership, is the first Californian to become the President of California State University. Dr. Castro is a brilliant scholar in several fields of leadership and public policy. The gifted professor has mentored some of the university presidents and senior school officials.

For more than two decades, Dr. Castro had served the University of California System before getting the presidency appointment in 2013. One of his significant contributions to the system was during his time as a professor; he spearheaded the school’s programs that served the educational and healthcare needs of the student community. The UCSF bears an exemplary reputation in the health science discipline.

Dr. Joseph Castro is a graduate of political science and has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley. He attended Stanford University to earn his Ph.D. in higher education policy and leadership. During his time at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, he finished three advanced seminars on presidential leadership.

College and University Presidents

Michael M. Crow

Arizona State University

Dr. Michael M. Crow is the multi-talented President of Arizona State University (ASU). He is an educator, enterprise architect, and science and technology policy scholar. After his appointment in July 2002, he helped the school achieve the title of one of the best public metropolitan research universities.

Throughout his leadership, ASU has opened many new transdisciplinary schools and introduced trailblazing multidisciplinary programs like the Biodesign Institute, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and the PLuS Alliance.

Furthermore, Dr. Crow has brought other school achievements such as record-breaking freshmen quality and retention, online and foreign student enrollment, and diversity. Consequently, the school earned rankings as one of the most prestigious universities worldwide by Times Higher Education.

Dr. Crow went to Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, to earn his Ph.D. in Public Administration (Science and Technology Policy).

College and University Presidents

Dr. Elwood Gordon Gee

West Virginia University

Dr. Elwood Gordon Gee has steered higher education institutions for more than 30 years. His recent recognition earned him the title of the nation’s top university president by the website Great Value Colleges. Hence, he is one of America’s most elite university leaders.

It is West Virginia University that brought Dr. Gee his first stint as university president in 1985. He led prominent institutions such as the University of Colorado, Brown University, Vanderbilt University, and Ohio State University. Dr. Gee’s pursuits as a leader include prioritizing students all the time, developing the school’s research projects, fostering relationships with local communities, and ensuring that most West Virginia residents recognize West Virginia University as their university.

Dr. Gee earned his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Utah and completed his J.D. from Columbia University Law School. A year later, he got his Ed.D. from Columbia University.

College and University Presidents

Dr. Elsa M. Núñez

Eastern Connecticut State University

With over two decades of senior administration experience, Dr. Elsa M. Núñez is the current President of Eastern Connecticut State University. She successfully led the school’s role as the only public liberal arts university in Connecticut.

Dr. Núñez is responsible for designing a one-stop Academic Success Center that offers a comprehensive range of academic support services to most students yearly. She also developed data models that help the institution predict academic progress and promote retention.

Eastern Connecticut State University has received several noteworthy national recognition under the leadership of Dr. Núñez. The U.S. News and World Report named the school as one of the top 35 public regional universities in the North and five consecutive years, as the Great College to Work For by a known newspaper, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Her commitment to access has gained the school the highest percentage of minority faculty among other higher education institutions in Connecticut.

College and University Presidents

Ray L. Watts, M.D.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

A visionary leader in education, research, and patient care is what the current President of the University of Alabama (UAB) at Birmingham is known as Ray L. Watts. He is responsible for the school’s most extensive strategic planning process with campus and community-wide partnerships.

Under his leadership, the school made significant moves to keep its mission, including developing novel scholastic programs, considerable improvement in research funding, and the institution’s international competitiveness.

Before his presidency appointment, he served as the John N. Whitaker Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology. He spearheaded the interdisciplinary research program, which triggered the translation of scientific breakthroughs into innovative therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. It also had a significant part in building the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center.

Dr. Watts holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He later earned his degree in Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and graduated top of his class.

College and University Presidents

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III has been leading the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as the President for more than two decades. He focused his research and literary works on science and math education, underlining minority participation and performance.

Hrabowski is a prominent academic leader who bears numerous accolades for his work during his tenure at the University of Maryland. The U.S. News & World Report recognized him as one of America’s Best Leaders and brought the school as the nation’s no. 1 Up and Coming University for six consecutive years. He earned his title from TIME magazine as one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents and belonged to the list of 100 Most Influential People in the World.

President Hrabowski got his degree in mathematics with the highest honors at Hampton Institute. He also earned his master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

College and University Presidents

Darryll J. Pines

University of Maryland

Darryll J. Pines is the current President of the University of Maryland, College Park, and serves as the Martin professor of Aerospace Engineering. Before his recent appointment, Pines was the dean of the Clark School of Engineering. Pines and his ties with the school go way back to 1995 when he was hired as an assistant professor.

President Pines has an aggregate of academic recognition and research achievements that significantly advanced its standing both locally and abroad. A year before becoming the President, the National Academy of Engineering recognized his exceptional leadership and contributions to the engineering discipline.

Furthermore, he appeared before Congress and testified regarding K-12 STEM education’s essence and headed the launching of a unique pre-college course on engineering principles and design. The National Science Foundation grant is the source of funds for the program, Engineering For US All.

College and University Presidents

Michael A. McRobbie

Indiana University

Indiana University, one of the most prominent universities in the country, is under the leadership of Michael A. McRobbie. He is appointed as the 18th president of the institution and has been in service since 2007. Before that appointment, McRobbie was the first vice president of information technology and chief information officer.

During his tenure, the institution has seen notable achievements like a significant expansion in the student community’s size, quality, and diversity. Indiana University implemented the most significant academic restructuring in its history and built over 100 major new facilities.

McRobbie also managed the development of The Bicentennial Strategic Plan for the school, an extensive list of strategic initiatives for all the campuses under the Indiana University system, and became the foundation for the next century of growth and distinction.

College and University Presidents

Santa Jeremy Ono

University of Cincinnati

Santa Jeremy Ono is a Canadian biologist currently serving as the 15th President of the University of British Columbia. He is also the Vice-Chancellor and assists on the Board of Directors of the Universities Canada. Ono is a member of various major academic organizations.

Before moving to the University of British Columbia, Dr. Ono has also been appointed as the University of Cincinnati president and held a senior post at Emory University. He taught at Johns Hopkins, Harvard University, and the University College London. He also acted as an advisor to national and regional governments on higher education and mental health.

Dr. Ono’s significant scholastic achievements and connections with reputable academic institutions paved his way to becoming an outstanding educational leader today.

He is an exemplary product of the University of Chicago, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in biological science. He finished his Ph.D. in experimental medicine at McGill University in Montreal.

College and University Presidents

Amy Gutmann

University of Pennsylvania

Amy Gutmann, named one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune magazine in 2018, will soon be the longest-serving president of the University of Pennsylvania. The institution has been relishing her dauntless and driven vision, which consists of three core values—innovation, inclusion, and impact. This inspiration, which she presented during her 2004 inaugural address, positioned the institution at the same level as other top-caliber universities.

The school’s all-grant policy for financial assistance is the biggest in the country and acts as the core foundation for inclusion initiatives. Through Gutmann’s vision for innovation, she created Pennovation Works and its flagship Pennovation Center incubator and laboratory, which have helped rank Penn No. 4 on Reuters’ “World’s Most Innovative Universities” list for the past years.

The development of partnerships with external agencies led to the formation of major university-wide initiatives and underlined the school’s impact on society and the world.

Gutmann graduated from Radcliffe College of Harvard University. She earned her master’s degree from the London School of Economics and her doctorate from Harvard.

College and University Presidents

Dr. Chris Howard

Robert Morris University

Dr. Christopher B. Howard, a former U.S. Air Force officer, is currently the President of Robert Morris University. Before his appointment, he was a decorated soldier who earned his Bronze Star for serving in Afghanistan.

Dr. Howard brought the school to become an exemplary strategic partner for major firms, organizations, and professions. His current initiative improved retention and graduation rates and helped the newly-graduates land lucrative careers.

President Howard is an outstanding graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a degree in Political Science. He attended Harvard Business School for his M.B.A. and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford.

College and University Presidents

Walter M. Kimbrough

Dillard University

Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough has been serving Dillard University for almost a decade now. His appointment came in 2012, right after he did a similar position at Philander Smith College. Besides that, Dr. Kimbrough had exemplary performance in running the administration for top universities, such as being the V.P. for Student Affairs at Albany State University. He actively pursued handling the student affairs department at Emory University, Georgia State University, and Old Dominion University.

President Kimbrough is known for his research and literary contributions to HBCUs and African American men in college. He’s been using social media platforms proactively to promote his advocacies. The Chronicle of Higher Education has recognized him as an avid user of social media.

One of his remarkable achievements is becoming part of the most coveted Ebony magazine Power 100 list of influential individuals in the African American community. He shared the spotlight with the Obama couple, Jay-Z, and Tyler Perry.

College and University Presidents

Anthony G. Collins

Clarkson University

Anthony G. Collins is known for his advocacy of higher education-industrial partnership that combined research discovery and engineering innovation. He is the 16th president of Clarkson University. He actively promoted his pursuit of commercialization and economic development throughout his leadership, concentrating on applying sustainable energy solutions and environmental technology innovation.

President Collins has exhibited excellence as an academic leader since he was appointed to run various higher education institutions. He also became an active member of prestigious academic organizations. He earned his undergraduate studies in civil engineering from Monash University and finished his postgraduate studies at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

College and University Presidents

Christina Hull Paxson

Brown University

Christina Hull Paxson is currently holding the highest academic administration position as the 19th president of Brown University. She has relentlessly secured the reputation of Brown University as the leading research institution highly recognized for its excellence and innovation in undergraduate programs, its transformational vision in instigating economic development, and its commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

Under her leadership, the school established the School of Public Health, maintaining undergraduate financial assistance by offering more scholarships to low-income households and other initiatives that cultivate entrepreneurship and collaborate with the students and faculty.

Over the years, Paxson acquired several institutional ties; she was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and held a position in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

She finished her degree in Economics at Swarthmore College and her postgraduate studies at Columbia University.

College and University Presidents

Robert Gerald Turner

Southern Methodist University

Robert Gerald Turner has served as Southern Methodist University’s incumbent President for more than two decades. Since his appointment, he piloted programs that garnered unprecedented achievements for the school. One of these significant milestones is raising over a billion dollars for student scholarships, faculty endowments, academic programs, capital projects, and new facilities.

At present, S.M.U. Consistently maintains its position as the leader in teaching and research. The school has been part of the list of best national universities by U.S. News & World.

Before his appointment, he had substantial experience in academic leadership. He was the V.P. of the University of Oklahoma and the Chancellor of the University of Mississippi. Turner was named the youngest university president at the age of 38. Five years ago, he was listed as one of the highest-paid private university presidents in the U.S.

President Turner finished his degree in psychology from Abilene Christian University and his postgraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

College and University Presidents

Joseph Elie Aoun

Northeastern University

The past dean of the University of Southern California’s College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, is currently serving as the 7th president of Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He is famous for his insightful views on global and experiential education; he orchestrated experiential learning to provide more research, work, service, and international study in over 100 countries.

During his tenure, the school formed six campuses in America, Canada, and the U.K. This milestone came from his ambitious vision of a global university system that would open more opportunities for lasting education and collaborative research. Today, Northeastern University has continuously attracted a pool of talented students and increased its recognition in the research department.

President Aoun earned his advanced degrees from the University of Paris VIII and Saint Joseph University in Beirut, London. He got his Doctorate in linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

College and University Presidents

Peter Salovey

Yale University

Peter Salovey, a social psychologist who pioneered emotional intelligence research, is the incumbent President of Yale University. He had been affiliated with the school even before his appointment. He served as the school’s Provost and became the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Yale College.

Under his leadership, he impressively opened new programs and facilities all over the school, such as building new residential colleges, increasing the institution’s enrolment rate, and restructuring the Faculty of Arts and Sciences leadership. Ultimately, President Salovey is dedicated to improving the accessibility of Yale education to students globally, regardless of their financial standing.

Apart from his ties with Yale University, he also had affiliations with the National Science Foundation, the Society for General Psychology, the National Institute of Mental Health, and other major academic organizations. President Salovey finished his degree in psychology and master’s in sociology from Stanford University, while his Ph.D. in psychology was from Yale University.

College and University Presidents

David W. Leebron

Rice University

David W. Leebron became Rice University’s seventh president in 2004, a period of growth and transformation for the institution.

Early in his presidency, Leebron engaged in extensive consultations that produced the Vision for the Second Century (V2C), a plan for Rice’s growth and advancement as one of the world’s premier research universities. As Rice enters the next phase of strategic planning, the Vision for the Second Century/Second Decade (V2C2), the university is well positioned for its second hundred years.

Undergraduate enrollment has increased by 30 percent since 2004. Applications received for fall 2018 set a record at approximately 21,000. International applicants have increased fivefold, and undergraduate and graduate students come from 90 countries.

Much like Rice’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, Leebron has a powerful international vision and has reached out to Asia and Latin America. New study-abroad programs in Argentina and India have been added, along with study and research opportunities in China, Europe, Brazil, and Turkey.

Leebron also has strengthened the university’s local presence with programs that connect students and faculty with the Greater Houston community, such as Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, home to the Houston Area Survey.

Under Leebron’s leadership, the campus has added two new residential colleges; the 10-story BioScience Research Collaborative, where scientists and educators from Rice and other Texas Medical Center institutions work together; a new recreation and wellness center; an additional food servery; a central campus pavilion that serves as a meeting and study place; an updated sports arena; a new physics building; the Moody Center for the Arts; and the Public Art Program, a presidential initiative that has added beautiful art across campus.

Before taking the helm at Rice, Leebron was dean of Columbia Law School. A native of Philadelphia, he is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was elected president of the Law Review in his second year. After graduating in 1979, he served as a law clerk for Judge Shirley Hufstedler on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Los Angeles. He began teaching at the UCLA School of Law in 1980 and at the NYU School of Law in 1983.

In 1989, Leebron joined the faculty of Columbia Law School, and in 1996 he was appointed dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. Leebron also served as a visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg, Germany, and as the Jean Monnet Visiting Professor of Law at Bielefeld University. He is currently part of the political science faculty at Rice and has authored a textbook on international human rights.

In 2006, Leebron was awarded France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre national du Mérite, and the Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel La Catolica by the government of Spain. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate from Nankai University. In 2010, Leebron and his wife, University Representative Y. Ping Sun, were selected by the Greater Houston Partnership as the city’s International Executives of the Year for helping make Houston a center of international business.

Leebron and Sun have two children, Daniel and Mei.*

* text provided by featured college/university president

College and University Presidents

John Joseph DeGioia

Georgetown University

John Joseph DeGioia is the incumbent and longest-serving President of Georgetown University. He is also the first lay president of the institution. He is committed to intensifying the school’s history of academic excellence, its responsibility to its religious identity, its involvement with the local community, and its worldwide mission.

During his tenure, the university became the leader in carving the future perspective of higher education and has successfully attained over a billion dollars worth of campaigns intended to improve the lifelong value of a Georgetown education.

President DeGioia was a faculty member and senior administrator before his appointment. Although he is already the President, he still teaches a seminar every fall, which is included in the program intended for first-year students, allowing them to experience distinct courses of study influenced by the Jesuit educational theme.

He is a product of Georgetown University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English and his Ph.D. in philosophy.

College and University Presidents

Andrew T. Hsu

College of Charleston

Two years ago, the College of Charleston selected Andrew T. Hsu to be its President. A few months after the appointment, he was officially the 23rd president of the college. President Hsu had an accomplished track record as an academic leader before moving to Charleston.

He held an executive position and became the provost of the University of Toledo in Ohio. The school was able to attain student success, through research, scholarly programs, and fundraising projects. Its retention and graduation rates essentially improved together with the research award and fundraising initiatives. His other academic positions were serving at San Jose State University as the dean of engineering, associate VP for research, and dean at Wright State University Graduate School.

President Hsu has a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, which he finished at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

College and University Presidents

Dr. Kimberly Dale

Western Wyoming Community College

Western Wyoming Community College found a competent leader and entrusted Dr. Kimberly Dale to be their 8th president. She was recognized as an exceptional faculty and academic leader for more than a decade. Her college career began with the Colorado Community College System as a business faculty and eventually became the dean of instruction and outreach; then, she worked as a professor at the University of Colorado Denver. Before she came to Wyoming, her last stint was filling the role of Executive VP and Chief Academic Officer position at Western Nebraska Community College.

Dr. Dale finished her bachelor’s degree in business education from Metropolitan State College of Denver and her postgraduate studies in management and organization from the University of Colorado Denver. She went to Colorado State University to earn her Ph.D. in educational leadership and human resource studies.

College and University Presidents

Dr. Jesús Roberto Rodríguez

Texas Southmost College

Dr. Jesús Roberto Rodríguez has been appointed as the President of Texas Southmost College. His impeccable achievements from his previous assignment as the dean for the Business Center of Excellence at Houston Community College steered him to his current position. TSC’s administration was impressed with his dynamic leadership, valuable economic development experience, and expertise in forming community and business partnerships.

President Rodríguez’s vision is to navigate TSC toward the level of becoming a community college in the Valley. At present, the school continues to be the catalyst for economic success by producing quality graduates and forming partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies.

Dr. Rodríguez earned his degree in management at Sam Houston State University and finished his master’s in international trade at Texas A&M International University. He completed his Ph.D. in educational administration at the University of Texas at Austin.

College and University Presidents

Dr. Henry Shannon

Chaffey College

Dr. Henry Shannon, a known advocate for student and student success, is the incumbent President of Chaffey College. With his significant higher education administration experience, he managed to elevate its recognition level to be the nation’s center of learning.

At present, Chaffey College continues to reap the rewards of Dr. Shannon’s strategic leadership and a strong sense of community. One of the school’s achievements was the rates of retention, and completion have soared since 2012. Together with supportive stakeholders, Dr. Shannon opened accelerated learning opportunities and launched student support initiatives to help students achieve their academic aspirations.

Dr. Shannon was a product of Harris-Stowe State University, where he completed his bachelor’s degree, while his master’s and Ph.D. were both from Washington University in St. Louis.

College and University Presidents

Kenneth Adams

LaGuardia Community College

Kenneth Adam is the newly appointed President of LaGuardia Community College. He assumed the role last August 17th, 2020.

Before his recent appointment, he served at Bronx Community College as the dean of workforce and economic development for four years. Under his leadership, he carved pathways for students to infiltrate fast-growing sectors in the city. He was also responsible for securing more than a million worth of grants and contracts for the college. Hence, the City University of New York (CUNY) believed in his impeccable leadership.

He started his academic career as a high school teacher and youth service coordinator. The Brooklyn-raised President completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Middlebury College.

College and University Presidents

Dr. S. David Wu

Baruch College

President S. David Wu of Baruch College is the first Asian American to run a City University of New York (CUNY) college. He garnered a unanimous vote from the Board of Trustees, which led him to be the college’s 8th president, and he recently assumed the post last July 1st.

Dr. Wu’s opportune arrival at Baruch College transcended a positive attitude toward the institution since it is developing new teaching modalities, student services, and campus safety protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic. He proactively formed a task force that will exploit the lessons acquired from the pandemic and integrate them with the school’s innovation to initiate a paradigm shift in college education.

Baruch College will experience Dr. Wu’s audacious and visionary leadership, which he obtained from his past academic affiliations. Before his selection, he was the provost and executive VP of George Mason University, where he managed to bring in remarkable growth in innovative educational programs. He was also the dean and professor at Lehigh University.

Dr. Wu went to Pennsylvania State University to complete his master’s and Ph.D. degrees.

College and University Presidents

Thomas Greene

American River College

The American River College has been under the leadership of Thomas Greene for four years now. He is the 7th president of the institution. Before he joined the college, he held another executive position at Lake Tahoe Community College. He brought milestones during his time as the Vice President, Academic Affairs & Student Services.

Through his judicious leadership, he was able to foster major partnerships with K-12 and university counterparts. Furthermore, he was embedded in various community engagements as an active member and chair.

President Green was also part of the administration at Sacramento City College as the associate VP of Student Services. His focus was to offer several enrollment management programs and other improvement projects.

Green went to the University of Texas, Austin, to finish his Ph.D. in educational administration and community college leadership. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in counseling from Northern Illinois University.

College and University Presidents

Dr. Ric Neal Baser

Northwest Vista College

Dr. Ric Neal Baser, an accomplished instructor and administrator, is the President of Northwest Vista College and the Higher Education Council of San Antonio. He is a committed leader and advocate of student success. During his tenure, he highlighted the importance of community building among students. As an exceptional educator, he provided opportunities for a brighter future.

Before he began his service as President at Northwest Vista College, he served at Tulsa Community College as the VP and Chief Academic Officer. President Baser is also a multi-awarded academic leader and earned recognition from major academic award-giving bodies.

Dr. Baser earned his bachelor’s degree in drama at the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Oklahoma State University.

College and University Presidents

Lloyd A. Holmes

De Anza College

Dr. Lloyd A. Holmes, a highly recognized administrator, is the newly appointed President of De Anza College. He officially assumed the post last July 1st. As an experienced school administrator, Dr. Holmes values student success and stable partnerships both on and off campus.

Before his presidency, Dr. Holmes was the VP of student services at Monroe Community College under the SUNY system. He was also tasked to lead the SUNY system by mentoring other institutions about a student success project and overseeing the task force for student hunger.

Dr. Holmes finished his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees at the University of Mississippi.

College and University Presidents

Philip J. Hanlon

Dartmouth College

Philip J. Hanlon, the New York-born mathematician and a graduate of Dartmouth College, is the incumbent President of his alma mater. He is a known mathematician and outstanding educator who has been running the Ivy League research university since 2013.

Throughout his leadership, he inaugurated various projects to form interdisciplinary strength over global challenges, augmented experiential learning opportunities, and opened funding initiatives to finance avant-garde research and pursuits. He is behind the formation of the Society of Fellows, a community for postdoctoral scholars intended to incorporate research and teaching.

Aside from Dartmouth, he had ties with the University of Michigan. He was the provost and executive VP for academic affairs. Hanlon was also part of their faculty for more than two decades. However, he started his academic career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hanlon is a product of top universities, from Dartmouth College to California Institute of Technology, where he earned his doctorate.

College and University Presidents

Michael J. Smith

Berkeley College

Michael J. Smith, the current President of Berkeley College, has been an instrumental leader in the institution since his appointment in 2015. He’s a devoted administrator who focuses on student success as one of his advocacies. With that said, he is behind the projects that made graduation an institutional priority, therefore driving students toward successful careers.

President Smith also promoted diversity among the communities, particularly the Latino and African-American groups. He fostered inclusivity and made significant community service contributions.

Berkeley College has always been home to President Smith. Before holding the highest post, he served in several positions, which made him competent to run the entire college. However, he wasn’t just involved in the education sector; he was also a formidable public servant.

President Smith completed his degree in accounting from Fairfield University and went to Fordham University to finish his master’s degree in finance.

College and University Presidents

Paula Wallace

Savannah College of Art and Design

Paula Wallace, named one of the most influential Georgians, holds the highest post in Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD) as the incumbent President. The college has been known as the most comprehensive art and design institution in the US. For the last two decades, Wallace has maneuvered the school to an incredibly high enrollment rate of growth. She also upheld numerous popular events every year, such as the Sand Arts Festival, SCAD a TVfest, and more.

SCAD garnered major recognition under President Wallace’s leadership. Three years ago, the school made it the first in the US and the second university in the Americas and Europe. Design Intelligence’s annual rankings also named the college as the No. 1 undergraduate and graduate interior design program.

Wallace went to Georgia State University to earn her degree at Furman University and received an honorary Doctor of Law from Gonzaga University.

College and University Presidents

Michael Sorrell

Paul Quinn College

Paul Quinn College has been under the leadership of Michael Sorrell for the last 13 years. He is the President and the longest-serving in the history of the school. Paul Quinn College collected major awards during President Sorrell’s tenure, such as the HBCU of the Year, the HBCU Business Program of the Year, and the HBCU Student Government Association of the Year.

Also, President Sorrell is an accomplished administrator. He was one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders named by Fortune Magazine and President of the Year by Education Dive. Time Magazine put him on the list as one of the 31 People Changing the South.

Even when he was still completing his degree, Sorrel was already making an exemplary reputation as a member of the Journal of Gender Law & Policy and acted as the Duke Bar Association’s VP. He finished his law degree at Duke University and completed his bachelor’s at Oberlin College.

College and University Presidents

Mary Schmidt Campbell

Spelman College

Spelman College has been in the top tier of liberal arts institutions since the leadership of Mary Schmidt Campbell started in 2015. She is the 10th president of the college and has successfully given the school the reputation as the nation’s top producer of Black women scientists.

Apart from her brilliant academic career, she was a significant force in New York City’s cultural life. She had several demanding roles, such as serving at the Studio Museum in Harlem for a decade and her appointment by Former President Obama as the vice-chair of his Committee on the Arts and Humanities. During this time, she actively pursued the reaffirmation of arts as the essential element to successful public school education.

Dr. Campbell went to Swarthmore College to complete her bachelor’s degree in English literature and went to Syracuse University for her master’s in art history and Ph.D. in humanities.

College and University Presidents

Dr. Utpal K. Goswami

Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College has found an erudite leader with more than 30 years of higher education experience in Dr. Utpal K. Goswami. He recently assumed his post in January 2020. He was the former President of Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City, where he primarily focused on good governance and student success. These will also be included in one of his many pursuits for Santa Barbara City College.

President Goswami strongly believes in empowering individuals to establish talented teams to produce positive outcomes for learners. During his time at Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods, he incredibly boosted student completion, created an honors program, improved diversity projects, and broadened community education programming.

Dr. Goswami holds an impressive educational background, a master’s and Ph.D. in economics from Southern Methodist University, and another master’s degree in development economics from Boston University.

College and University Presidents

Maud S. Mandel

Williams College

The English major from Oberlin College, Maud S. Mandel, is the 18th president of Williams College. She is a known professor and dean at Brown University. Once she assumed the post three years ago, she actively promoted free speech and inclusion by launching significant projects.

She encouraged collaboration with students, faculty, and staff to introduce her vision for the college. She led a community-wide planning initiative for the school’s future that involved the entire community. Furthermore, she urged the administration to prioritize transfer students as part of their diverse campus community.

During her time at Brown University, she started as their visiting assistant professor in History. Mandel was the chair of the Judaic studies when she became a full member of the faculty. When she eventually became the dean, she focused on the school’s advising programs and undergraduate curriculum.

President Mandel completed her master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.

College and University Presidents

Clayton S. Rose

Bowdoin College

The 15th president of Bowdoin College, Clayton S. Rose, has perpetually highlighted the significance of liberal arts education to the student community and how it can have a meaningful impact on their lives. Since his appointment in 2015, he has emphasized the school’s commitment to providing access to quality education regardless of its financial status.

He’s devoted to creating a reputation for Bowdoin College as an institution with a strong sense of equality and countless opportunities for students of all economic standing.

President Rose had a lengthy profession in finance that lasted for two decades. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He was also a faculty member of Harvard Business School and taught ethics and moral leadership before moving to Bowdoin College.

College and University Presidents

Laurie L. Patton

Middlebury College

Laurie L. Patton, an accomplished author, and poet is the first woman to serve as Middlebury College president. She firmly stressed the essence of forming a resilient domain and nurturing opportunities for informed exchange and dispute regarding the latest pressing matters.

Following her appointment, President Patton piloted an institution-wide discussion about the school’s strategic and academic direction. She introduced various initiatives to develop a connection among campuses that belonged to their system.

Furthermore, President Patton gathered an incredibly huge sum of money for scholarships and launched a series of projects that championed inclusivity in school. At present, Middlebury College has achieved carbon neutrality, which was once her ambitious environmental objective a few years ago.

Patton went to Harvard University for her bachelor’s degree and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.

College and University Presidents

Shirley Ann Jackson

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Shirley Ann Jackson, the first woman appointed by former president Bill Clinton as Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is the incumbent President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. With her exemplary credentials, she paved the way for the institute to be a top-notch technological research university. Hence, the meaningful change in the school’s rankings among national universities.

Dr. Jackson’s vision of remodeling the institute was translated into a forceful strategic program called The Rensselaer Plan. With the substantial amount of funds invested in this initiative, the campus has been changed by world-class research platforms. Through these efforts, it amassed sponsored research awards and funding and increased the number of tenured faculty positions.

She was the first African-American woman to finish a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

College and University Presidents

Nariman Farvardin

Stevens Institute of Technology

Dr. Nariman Farvardin, the 7th president of Stevens Institute of Technology, has remarkably transformed the rankings and generated a dramatic increase in enrollment growth since he assumed the post in 2011. Furthermore, the school is on its way to fulfilling its 10-year strategic objective, which is to be the leading student-focused technological research university. This initiative was introduced in 2012 following Dr. Farvardin’s appointment.

The graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute president extensively served the University of Maryland as a faculty member. He was later promoted to higher posts as senior VP for Academic Affairs and then to Provost. The university experienced Dr. Farvardin’s visionary leadership and successfully achieved its strategic plan of transforming to higher expectations.

College and University Presidents

Henry C. Foley

New York Institute of Technology

Henry C. Foley, an accomplished research scientist, and educator, is the incumbent President of the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). He officially took office last June 2017, following his service at the University of Missouri-Columbia as interim chancellor. His high-level strategic planning background helped the institute achieve an eminent stature and raised its resource management and global outreach.

Before holding an executive position at NYIT, he was with The Pennsylvania State University’s administration as VP for research and dean. He was also a faculty at the University of Missouri, Penn State, and the University of Delaware.

Dr. Foley is a chemistry graduate of Providence College. He went to Purdue University to complete his master’s degree and eventually got his Ph.D. at Penn State.

College and University Presidents

Alan W. Cramb

Illinois Institute of Technology

Alan W. Cramb, a multi-awarded author, is the 9th president of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He has meaningful experience as an academic administrator and educator for more than two decades of service. His ties with the institute started back in 2008 when Cramb became the Provost. Before that, he was the dean and professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

President Cramb has several academic affiliations and recognition, such as being the Posco Chair at CMU, the American Iron and Steel Institute Medal recipient, and the Bessemer Gold Medal. He authored over 200 publications and held two patents.

Cramb is a graduate of metallurgy at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. He finished his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.    

College and University Presidents

Robert A. Coons

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Before Robert A. Coons was named President of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, he had been an asset to the leadership team for almost three decades. From being the senior VP and chief administrative officer to the interim President, Coons is ripe to be the key leader of the institute, according to the Board Chair, Niles Noblitt. The trustees have high respect for him as well as the rest of the school community.

President Coons played a significant role in building the framework for the goals and strategies of the school’s Strategic Plan in the previous years. Over the years, he confidently implemented these objectives and consistently guided the administration to stay on course. He had various major academic affiliations, including the Indiana Association of College and University Business Officers, for which he was appointed as President.

Coons is a certified public accountant and a graduate of the Harvard Institute for Educational Management (IEM), provided by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

College and University Presidents

Ángel Cabrera Izquierdo

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology has found a valuable academic leader in Ángel Cabrera, the former George Mason University president. He is the first Spanish-born to lead an American university. When he was at George Mason University, he doubled the enrollment growth in Virginia, multiplied the student outcomes, and became one of the top-tier research institutions in the Carnegie Classification.

Apart from George Mason University, he had a meaningful run as President with the Thunderbird School of Global Management, which is now under Arizona State University. And before that, he was in Madrid, serving as a dean at IE Business School. President Cabrera played a crucial role in developing professional ethics, corporate social responsibility, and internationalization back when he was teaching business.

President Cabrera went to Georgia Tech to finish her master’s and doctorate degrees as a Fulbright Scholar. He graduated from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer and electrical engineering.

College and University Presidents

Timothy D. Sands

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Timothy D. Sands, a researcher and materials engineer, is the 16th president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is responsible for introducing a visionary plan for the school to be a global land-grant institution, facing the commonwealth’s, the nation’s, and most challenging issues.

He envisions the potential of Virginia Tech to shape the academic experience with the demands and opportunities that come from the evolution of economies and the changes in higher education’s landscape. Furthermore, President Sands has introduced a program about inclusivity and diversion within the school community.

Aside from being a researcher, he was also a competent educator. He started as a professor at the University of California Berkeley and moved to Purdue University as a faculty member. Later in his career, the university entrusted him to be the Executive VP and Provost.

He is a loyal graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where he completed his bachelor’s in engineering physics, master’s, and doctorate degrees in material science and engineering.

College and University Presidents

Paul C. Johnson

Colorado School of Mines

Colorado School of Mines, the world-class institution that produces top-notch scientists and engineers, is under the leadership of Paul C. Johnson. He is the 17th president whose vision is to offer more distinctive learning experiences, improve student success, and promote diversity in the school community.

President Johnson was impressed and encouraged to join the Colorado School of Mines because of its solid history, impressive industry partnerships, use-inspired research initiatives, outstanding graduates, and extensive alumni affiliations. President Johnson didn’t stop being an educator; he continued to lead research efforts, teaching, and mentoring while serving his higher post.

Johnson completed his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, then went to Princeton University to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees.

College and University Presidents

Joel Bloom

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Joel Bloom has been with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) for almost three decades. Since 2011, he has become NJIT’s president. Before that, he was the Dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College and also became Vice President.

During his tenure, he led the NJIT to be in the Top 100 National University list, multiplied the enrollment rate, and formed a pre-collegiate program for underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines. The school also received an R1 rating from the Carnegie Classification.

President Bloom went to Hunter College of the City University for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He also was a product of Columbia University, where he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees.

College and University Presidents

Robert C. Fisher

Belmont University

Before becoming president of Belmont University in April 2000, Robert C. (Bob) Fisher had previously served as vice president for academic affairs at Arkansas University and dean of Henderson State University School of Business.

Fisher holds a BSBA degree from Henderson State University. He earned his MBA from the University of Memphis and got his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas.

Fisher’s leadership contributed much to Belmont’s financial success. In the fall of 2019, the school’s enrollment increased by more than 300%, from 2,970 to 8,400. He was instrumental in the addition of new undergraduate majors in several curricula, including social entrepreneurship, publishing, worship leadership, songwriting, music therapy, public relations, and motion pictures. Fisher also made possible the opening of new doctoral programs in pharmacy and law.

In 2008, the state of Tennessee named Fisher Tennessean of the Year, and two years after, its capital city gave him the Nashvillian of the Year award.

After 21 years, Fisher retired as president of Belmont University in May 2021.

College and University Presidents

Sandy Shughart

Valencia College

Serving Valencia College as the fourth president of Valencia College for 21 years, Dr. Sanford “Sandy” Shugart is one of the best-performing college and university presidents in the country. Known for its high graduation and job placement rates and for serving more than 70,000 students per year, Valencia College was a national laboratory and model for best practices in pedagogy.   

Dr. Shugart approached educating on the philosophy that anyone can learn anything under the right conditions. It made Valencia produce impressive results making the school one of the most successful community colleges in the country.

It was under Dr. Shugart’s watch when Valencia College won the first Aspen Prize for Excellence. A few years later, Dr. Shugart won the prestigious McGraw Prize for innovation in education.

Shugart retired as president of Valencia College in June 2021.

College and University Presidents

James Bruce Harreld

University of Iowa

James Bruce Harreld may be the only person in the country to be given the post of a university president without any experience in the management and operation of an educational institution. He was a successful manager who transformed IBM from a struggling company into an efficient, financially stable business organization.

Despite the objections from several faculty members, the University of Iowa endowed Harreld with their trust and proceeded to take him in as president, and they were right. Through Harreld’s leadership, the university’s earnings increased from $515.8 million to $554 million. 

During Harreld’s term, UI got a record-breaking $662 million in total external funding. Harreld was also instrumental in UI’s 2019 $115 million external research award from NASA.

Harreld earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree at Purdue University and completed his Master of Business Administration at Harvard University. His term as UI president was supposed to end in 2023, but he retired in May 2021.

College and University Presidents

Eric J. Barron

Pennsylvania State University

Before his term as the 18th president of Pennsylvania State University began, Eric James Barron served as the 14th president of Florida State University. He also worked as director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research based in Boulder, Colorado. His term as president was supposed to end in 2018. However, the Penn State leadership decided to renew his contract until 2022 after he successfully raised $660 million and initiated several programs that improved student retention rates.

Barron accomplished several successful programs at Penn State. He played a massive role in several school programs, such as recognizing student veterans, making Penn State more affordable, bolstering the university’s research undertakings, and making the university a center for entrepreneurship and innovation in the commonwealth states.

Barron graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He also holds a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Miami.

College and University Presidents

Michael K. Young

Texas A&M University

Before he began his term as the president of Texas A&M University in 2015, Michael K. Young was already a top-performing president of the University of Washington. As its president from 2011 to 2015, Young made UW an outstanding public university in areas of research and fundraising. 

As the 25th president of Texas A&M University, Young had several accomplishments. Among them is the significant growth of the university’s global reputation as a top research institution and his critical role in the “Lead by Example” fundraising campaign that raised $4.25 billion for the benefit of students, faculty, and university staff. Under his leadership, Texas A&M garnered more than $1 billion in annual research funds. 

Michael K. Young graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and completed his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School. He retired as president of Texas A&M on May 31, 2021.

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