Recapping Chris Howard’s five year run as Robert Morris President


Robert Morris President Dr. Chris Howard addresses crowd at Matriculation. Photo Credit: (Ethan Morrison)

Former Robert Morris University president Dr. Chris Howard had a controversial tenure as the university’s eighth president. Howard did many things to grow the university in more ways than one, but he also had a controversial end to his five-year tenure as president.

Howard was named the university’s eighth president on February 1, 2016, succeeding former president Gregory Dell’Omo. Over his almost six-year tenure, Howard had overseen the university’s growth through a variety of different projects that set Robert Morris apart from other schools in the region. 

He oversaw the construction of the UPMC Events Center that opened in 2019 that houses the school’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs. He also oversaw the John Jay Center’s renovation, adding more classrooms, office space, and laboratories.

Robert Morris also became higher education partners with the Pittsburgh Penguins, which provided leadership development for the Pittsburgh Penguins staff and allowed Robert Morris Students to participate in internships with the team. Over his tenure, the university also partnered with many other organizations, corporations, and professionals across the Pittsburgh region.

 The school has also been nationally ranked in the 2022 US News and World Report as the 187th best university in the country and the 48th ranked “Best Value” school among national universities.

One of the more questionable decisions of his tenure was when Howard and the RMU Board of Trustees decided to cut both the men’s and women’s hockey programs when the university released their strategic course in their “Beyond 100” plan. The move was puzzling to many after the women’s team was fresh off a trip to the NCAA tournament and the men’s program also enjoyed recent success in their conference over the past several years. 

The programs were later allowed to raise funds and raised over $1 million to bring back both programs for the 2023-24 season, which was announced in December 2021.

Robert Morris begins its search for the next president of the university as it prepares for the 2022 Spring semester.