Preferred Introduction

Dr. Chris Howard is the eighth president of Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

He is a distinguished graduate of the US 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 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. Dr. Howard concluded his career as a Reserve Military Attaché to Liberia, Africa.

Under Dr. Howard’s leadership, RMU has become a 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 was part of the RMU 100: Ready to Rise fundraising campaign, which has raised over $110 million to date, surpassing its $100 million goal a year ahead of schedule. In 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranked RMU No. 48 on the magazine’s list of Best Value Schools, a reflection of RMU’s high academic quality and affordable price.

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 served on the National Security Education Board, appointed by President Barack Obama, and the MyVA Advisory Committee for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

He is a trustee on the Harvard University Board of Overseers and also serves on the Board of Directors of AvalonBay Communities, a publicly-traded real estate corporation. Dr. Howard is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Young Presidents Organization, the Aspen Strategy Group and Trilateral Commission, and 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 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 supports South African youth. His wife, Barbara Noble Howard, serves on several philanthropic boards and hails from South Africa. They have two adult sons, Cohen and Joshua.

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