Christopher B. Howard
BS '91, United States Air Force Academy; MPhil '94, DPhil '96, University of Oxford
A Rhodes Scholar with a doctorate in politics and a decorated U.S. military veteran, Christopher Howard is an experienced university president dedicated to helping students achieve their aspirations.
Since 2016 Howard has served as president of Robert Morris University, home to more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Previously, he was president of Hampden-Sydney College, one of the country’s oldest liberal arts colleges, and vice president for leadership and strategic initiatives at the University of Oklahoma.
“I am the great-great-grandson of an enslaved person, yet I have served as the first African American president of two American universities. My life’s work has been about service to and service within our civil society. I have always sought to improve the institutions that underpin democratic principles and thus improve opportunity for all.”
A retired Air Force Reserve lieutenant colonel, he served as a helicopter pilot, an intelligence officer, and a reserve air attaché to Liberia. In 2003 he returned to active duty in Afghanistan, earning a Bronze Star. While at the Air Force Academy, he received the Campbell Trophy as the country’s top football scholar-athlete.
He serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including the American Council of Education and the Impact Young Lives Foundation, which he cofounded to create global leadership opportunities for students from South Africa.
A recipient of Harvard Business School’s Alumni Achievement Award, Howard has worked for General Electric and Bristol Myers Squibb, where he served on a team that managed a $100 million HIV/AIDS initiative in southern Africa.