Outstanding CEOs and Top Executives winner: Chris Howard, RMU
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Chris Howard has had a long, distinguished career in the military and corporate world, but it’s his present role as president of Robert Morris University that he sees as the most important.
“I’ve had wonderful opportunities in the military, government and corporate sectors,” he said. “But there was no better place for me to lead, serve and grow than higher education. I enjoy helping people achieve their hopes, dreams and aspirations, whether it’s faculty, staff or students. To do that every day, and in every way, is a real honor.”
For Howard, a great leader is one who is humble, takes risks and displays empathy.
“I don’t know everything, and I’m not afraid to admit that,” he said. “Selfawareness and intellectual curiosity are also important – you have to learn new things. You need courage. When you know something is important to the organization, you have to be willing to risk something such as political capital or financial standing. Finally, you need empathy — the ability of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.”
One accomplishment he points to with pride is the 161,000-square-foot UPMC Events Center and 50,000-square-foot student recreation center that will soon be part of RMU’s Moon Township campus. In addition to hosting home games for three NCAA Division I teams, the center will be a venue for public speakers, conventions, expos, concerts, graduation ceremonies and family entertainment options.
“The university and western Pennsylvania airport corridor will benefit from the center,” Howard said. “But this is our accomplishment – not mine. The board, faculty and staff, along with our partners, UPMC and Peoples Gas, all worked together to make this happen.
“It takes a team to be successful, and the leaders who came before me worked with great teams,” he added. “There’s a great Sir Issac Newton quote: ‘If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.’ I’m merely standing on the shoulders of many giants who have come before me, and I’m honored to be leading Robert Morris.”
— Daniel Casciato
Originally published by the Pittsburgh Business Times.