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Robert Morris University

President Howard Honored With Armed Forces Merit Award

RMU President Chris Howard has been chosen as the seventh recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America.

Dr. Howard

For his distinguished service in the military, his football playing career, and his work as a college president to promote college football, President Chris Howard is the seventh recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America.

The RMU president was chosen from a list of 56 nominees for the award, which honors an individual or group in the sport of football. A seven-person committee from the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl and the Football Writers Association of America selected Howard for the honor.

“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 Brant Ringler, director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

"Dr. Howard has had remarkable career across the board. He embodies what this award is all about,” said Steve Richardson, executive director of the Football Writers Association of America.

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, Howard is a 1991 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and received the Campbell Trophy, the highest academic award in the nation presented to a senior college football player. 

He is a retired Air Force reserve lieutenant colonel and was a helicopter pilot and then an intelligence officer for the elite Joint Special Operations Command, serving on active duty in Afghanistan in 2003 and receiving the Bronze Star for his service. Howard is also a former Rhodes Scholar and earned a doctoral degree from the University of Oxford and an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School.

"I am humbled and honored to receive this award, which is as much a testament to what we've achieved at Robert Morris University as it to me personally,” he said. “The lessons in leadership and character that I learned on the football field served me well as an Air Force officer, and that in turn has shaped my success in business and education, as well as the nonprofit and government sectors.”