By Donna Reish
College presidents are the figureheads of college institutions. They participate in fundraising, oversee administrative procedures and make changes for the greater good of the students, faculty and staff. These men and women have dedicated their lives to educating our next generation of leaders and improving higher education. Here are the 10 best college presidents of all time:
- E. Gordon Gee: E. Gordon Gee ,The Ohio State University President, has graced the number one spot on Time's best college presidents list in 2009. Under Gee's guidance, The Ohio State University has become one of the largest research campuses in the world, with an operating budget greater than the state of Delaware. The success of the University is a reflection o the tireless efforts of this extremely interesting personality. Gee is an Eagle Scout from Utah, received his JD from Columbia, clerked for United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Berger, and once faked his own death! A colorful character indeed, Gee has helped establish The Ohio State University's reputation as a preeminent university, and seeing as though he is the highest paid university president in the United States, it's likely that he'll continue to do so well into the future.
- Richard C. Levin: Richard C. Levin has served as the President of Yale University since 1993 and holds the title as the longest-serving Ivy League president of all time. Under Levin's guidance, Yale has seen a revitalization in both the overall number of applicants to the university and the level of qualification of applicants. In fact, Yale's most recent admissions cycle featured the highest standardized testing scores of all time. Yale's prestige, infrastructure and endowment have all grown extensively under Levin's control and all of his Provosts have gone on to head other universities. Mr. Levin's work at Yale is one of the reasons why this university is one of the most celebrated academic institutions in the world.
- Ruth Simmons: Ruth Simmons is currently the president of Brown University and is the first African-American president of any Ivy League university in history. She was named best president by Time in 2001 and is the first female to serve as the president of Brown University. These accomplishments are incredible achievements for any person, let alone one of 12 children from the small Texas town of Grapeland. Ruth's achievements as president of Brown are just as remarkable, having secured the largest single donation in Brown University history and dramatically expanding Brown's medical school. Brown University is lucky to have such an accomplished and dedicated individual leading the university into the future.
- John Sexton: John Sexton began is the president of New York University. He began his long career with NYU as the dean of the school of law, and in this position he authored many publications, from books to scholarly articles, regarding the Supreme Court. Under his guidance, the school of law rose to prominence in the U.S. News Rankings, a prestigious symbol of competitive faculty and student body. When he was named president, his ability to bring NYU into the same category as Ivy League universities solidified his reputation as one of the best university presidents in the nation.
- William G. Durden: William G. Durden is the president of Dickinson College, one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the world. He received his bachelor's degree at Dickinson and went on to become a Fulbright scholar before returning to the university with both a master's and a PhD form John's Hopkins University. Since his tenure as president has begun, he has championed many educational initiatives designed to make liberal arts education more practical. He has also advocated for alternative measures of collegiate prowess besides the U.S. News rankings, which he has passionately argued should be checked by an alternative measure of status that allows education in the arts to weigh more heavily in determining the best schools.
- Juliet Garcia: Juliet Garcia is the president of the University of Texas at Brownsville and is the first female Hispanic university president in the nation's history. The University of Texas at Brownsville sits only a few blocks from the U.S./Mexico border and has an enrollment of predominately Hispanic, bilingual and first generation college students. Juliet believes that this is the blueprint for the future of Texas universities and could represent the landscape of Southern universities in the near future. Juliet's passionate advocacy on behalf of Hispanics nationwide has earned her a spot as one of the nation's best university presidents.
- Stephen Joel Trachtenberg: Stephen Joel Trachtenberg was the 15th president of The George Washington University for nearly 20 years and currently holds the title of President Emeritus and university professor of public service. Before his historic role at GWU, Trachtenberg served as president of the University of Hartford for 11 years and as vice president for academic services and academic dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Stephen has created five new schools within George Washington University since beginning his tenure there and he has also played an instrumental role in growing the University's reputation around the country.
- Scott Cowen: Scott Cowen is the president of Tulane University and is one of the most renowned business scholars in the world. He has written over 100 scholarly articles on various business topics. Scott was recruited to play football at the University of Connecticut after high school by the great Lou Holtz. He also served in the military in Turkey before returning to embark on an incredibly successful career as a businessman and educator. After Hurricane Katrina devastated Tulane's New Orleans campus, Cowen was critical of FEMA's response to the disaster and advocated strongly for Tulane to receive emergency funding to improve its hospital and medical center in the event of another catastrophe. This advocacy and his incredible success in business make shim one of the best university presidents in the nation.
- Mary Sue Coleman: Mary Sue Coleman is the president of the University of Michigan, one of the most prestigious public universities in the United States. Under her guidance, the University raised more than $3 billion for scholarship, construction of new facilities and faculty incentives. This is the largest amount ever raised by a public university. Dr. Coleman has built her career on the foundations of scientific research and holds a PhD in biochemistry teaching positions in the college of chemistry and biology. She is formerly the president of the University of Iowa and has distinguished herself throughout her career as one of the best university presidents in the United States.
- Freeman Hrabowski: Freeman Hrabowski has been the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County since 1992. Freeman received his doctorate at the age of 24 and has long been recognized as a genius level mathematician. He is a highly renowned African-American educator, and although his career is only beginning, he is already recognized as one of the brightest stars in the higher education system. We will be hearing much more from Mr. Hrabowski in the future.
Quick Degree Finder