2018 Recipient: Dr. Chris Howard


Dr. Chris Howard, an Air Force veteran and Robert Morris University president, has been selected as the seventh recipient of Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

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“Dr. Howard has distinguished himself as collegiate football player, an Air Force veteran and now as a college president where he continues to be active in the sport along with providing guidance with those men and women that serve our country,” said  Executive Director Brant Ringler.  

Becoming the eighth president of Robert Morris University in suburban Pittsburgh in February 2016, Dr. Howard is a 1991 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy.  As a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a doctoral degree from the University of Oxford before graduating with an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.

In 1990, Dr. Howard received the Campbell Trophy, the highest academic award in the nation presented to a senior college football player, and he was inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame.  He is a recipient of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, which recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their collegiate athletic careers.

“Dr. Howard has distinguished himself as collegiate football player, an Air Force veteran and now as a college president where he continues to be active in the sport along with providing guidance with those men and women that serve our country,”

Dr. Howard is a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, the College Football 150th Anniversary Committee, and the NCAA Honors Committee.

A retired Air Force reserve lieutenant colonel, Dr. Howard served as a helicopter pilot and then became an intelligence officer for the elite Joint Special Operations Command.  He served on active duty in Afghanistan in 2003 and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.  Dr. Howard also served as the Reserve Air Attaché to Liberia.

As RMU president, Dr. Howard has opened the Center for Veterans and Military Families.  RMU recently announced that it is partnering with the SEAL Future Fund to help active-duty and retired Navy SEALs transition to civilian careers.  RMU also offers its MBA program at a deep discount to service members stationed at any of the four military bases located near its campus.


Click any image below to learn about other recipients.