Dr. Chris Howard is the eighth president of Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He is a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and earned a doctorate in politics as a Rhodes Scholar from the University of Oxford. He also has an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School, and in 2018 he received the school's Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Howard's service to his country began as a helicopter pilot, then as an intelligence officer, where he was assigned to the elite Joint Special Operations Command. He served in Afghanistan in the Air Force Reserve and was awarded the Bronze Star. He also served as the Reserve Air Attaché to Liberia.
Dr. Howard aims to make RMU the preferred strategic partner for corporations, organizations, professionals, and aspiring professionals in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. The university is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report and in 2019 opened the UPMC Events Center, the new home to the university's NCAA Division I basketball and volleyball teams. That project is part of the RMU 100: Ready to Rise fundraising campaign, which will raise $100 million by the time RMU celebrates its centennial in 2021. RMU 100: Ready to Rise surpassed its goal a year ahead of schedule, and the university is continuing to build upon the campaign’s success.
Before coming to RMU, Dr. Howard was President of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, and vice president for Leadership & Strategic Initiatives at the University of Oklahoma. Previously he worked in General Electric's Corporate Initiatives Group and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Corporate Associates Program. Dr. Howard has served on the National Security Education Board, appointed by President Barack Obama, and the MyVA Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
He is a member of the board of directors of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Young Presidents Organization. He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of Sigma Pi Phi, the oldest African- American fraternity in the United States.
Dr. Howard won the Campbell Trophy, the nation’s highest academic award for a senior college football player. He is a member of the CoSIDA Academic All-American Hall of Fame and a winner of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award. He also is a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and a former member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. Dr. Howard is the founder and a trustee of the Impact Young Lives Foundation, a nonprofit organization that brings South African college students of color to the U.S. for summer educational and cultural tours. His wife, Barbara Noble Howard, is the foundation's executive director and a native of South Africa. The Howards have two adult sons, Cohen and Joshua.