All the Presidents Men and Women

Northwestern alumni of all stripes serve as college and university leaders throughout the land.

by Ed Finkel

It's a group of alumni that includes a cardiologist and jazz musician, a sociologist and family therapist, an education policy researcher, a former senior research consultant to Roots author Alex Haley and the head of a national corporate diversity forum.

In addition to Northwestern degrees, most of these 14 alumni have at least one other characteristic in common: They rose through the ranks along the traditional academic path to become college or university presidents or systemwide chancellors. (All served in that capacity during the 2006-07 school year, and three retired this summer.) And they are just a small number of countless other alumni who have worn presidential robes at schools across the United States and around the world.

Although their Northwestern degrees typically were not specifically designed to prepare them for such roles, almost all of them can cite skills and knowledge they learned in Evanston and Chicago that have proved useful in often unexpected ways.

What follows is a too-brief synopsis of who they are and where they came from.

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