Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Arizona State University Public Enterprise; Former Football Player; United States Air Force Academy

Dr. Christopher Howard is a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, where he was a running back on the Falcons football team. He earned a doctorate in politics from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and he has an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School. 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. After 9/11, 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 won the Campbell Trophy, the nation’s highest academic award for a senior college football player. He is a member of the Verizon Academic All-American Hall of Fame and a winner of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award. He is one of 13 members of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, and is a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, the NCAA Honors Committee, and the National Football Foundation Awards Committee.

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, which also rates RMU among the top 10 percent of universities for online bachelor’s degree programs in the nation. In January the university announced it would build the UPMC Events Center, part of a $50 million capital project, the largest in RMU’s history.

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. He has previously 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 has received honorary degrees from Centre College, Ripon College, Christopher Newport University, and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

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 US 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 sons, Cohen and Joshua.

Through more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across five academic schools, Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa. enrolls more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 48 states and 39 countries. A nationally ranked, doctoral degree-granting research university, RMU offers fully online courses as well as a traditional residential college experience at its campus on 230 scenic acres 17 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. The Colonials compete in 16 NCAA Division I sports, including football, basketball, volleyball, ice hockey, and lacrosse.