portrait of Chris Howard

Dr. Chris Howard

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Arizona State University

In his role as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Chris works closely with President Crow and the other executive vice presidents to coordinate enterprise-wide initiatives and advancements, oversee ASU Enterprise affiliates, advance new enterprise relationships and opportunities, and integrate ASU Enterprise planning and strategy.

He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. 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. Chris’s service to his country began with his role 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. Chris concluded his career as a Reserve Military Attaché to Liberia, Africa.
Previously, he served as the eighth President of Robert Morris University, a nationally ranked doctoral granting university in suburban Pittsburgh, beginning on February 1, 2016.

Before serving at RMU, Chris was President of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. He 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. He also served on the National Security Education Board, appointed by President Barack Obama.

Chris is a trustee on the Harvard University Board of Overseers, and he also serves on the Board of Directors of AvalonBay Communities. He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and 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.

In college, Chris 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.

Chris 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.