Dr. Christopher Howard
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Arizona State University; Former Football Player; United States Air Force Academy.
Chris Howard is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Arizona State University. Howard works closely with President Crow and the other executive vice presidents to coordinate enterprise-wide initiatives and advancement, oversee ASU Enterprise affiliates, advance new enterprise relationships and opportunities, and integrate ASU Enterprise planning and strategy.
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. 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.
Howard concluded his career as a Reserve Military Attaché to Liberia, Africa.
Previously, Howard served as the eighth president of Robert Morris University, a nationally ranked doctoral granting university in suburban Pittsburgh, beginning on February 1, 2016. Under Howard’s leadership, RMU became a preferred strategic partner for corporations, organizations, and professionals in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. RMU also completed the largest capital project and comprehensive campaign in the university’s 100-year history. 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 serving at RMU, Howard was President of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. During Howard’s tenure at Hampden-Sydney College, the college grew enrollment, improved diversity, boosted retention, and raised its endowment.
Howard also served as 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. 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. 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.
Howard won the Campbell Trophy, the nation’s highest academic award for a senior college football player. He is a former member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.
Howard is the founder and a trustee emeritus of the Impact Young Lives Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports South African youth.
His wife, Barbara Noble Howard, serves as an Arizona State University Fellow for nonprofit leadership. She also serves on several philanthropic boards and hails from South Africa. They have two adult sons, Cohen and Joshua.