2006.04.11: April 11, 2006: Headlines: COS - Malawi: University Administration: Hartford Courant: Malawi RPCV Leo Higdon is new President of Connecticut College

Peace Corps Online: State: Connecticut: February 8, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Connecticut : 2006.04.11: April 11, 2006: Headlines: COS - Malawi: University Administration: Hartford Courant: Malawi RPCV Leo Higdon is new President of Connecticut College

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Malawi RPCV Leo Higdon is new President of Connecticut College

Malawi RPCV Leo Higdon is new President of Connecticut College

Higdon began life as an American worker in the landlocked country of Malawi in southern Africa, teaching English and history as a Peace Corps volunteer. Next stop: Wall Street, after a detour at the University of Chicago for an MBA. Higdon launched his business career at Salomon Brothers in 1973 and spent the next 20 years there, rising to vice chairman and member of the executive committee while serving as investment banker for clients like IBM, Chrysler and Time Inc.

Malawi RPCV Leo Higdon is new President of Connecticut College

Conn College Gets New President
April 11, 2006
By ROBERT A. FRAHM, Courant Staff Writer

Connecticut College announced the selection of a new president Monday, turning to a veteran higher education official who has been an investment banker, a proven fundraiser and a champion of the liberal arts, officials said.

Leo I. Higdon Jr. was named to head the 1,900-student private college in New London after five years as president of the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C.

Higdon, 59, who came to higher education after a long career at Salomon Brothers financial services company, is scheduled to begin the new job July 1. He will succeed Norman Fainstein, who will step down to take a sabbatical at Harvard University and then return to teaching at Connecticut College, where he has been president since 2001.

"I really think that [Connecticut College] represents the true epitome of a liberal arts learning community," Higdon said Monday. "The size of the school, the fact that 98 percent of the students live on campus, no fraternities or sororities, a longstanding honor code - there were a lot of things that were appealing to me."

He cited the school's interdisciplinary studies and international programs as examples of programs "that are the envy of all higher education institutions."

"I have a very good situation down here, and things are going well," he said by telephone from South Carolina. "It really took an opportunity like this to leave Charleston."

Higdon will be returning to New England, where he was president of Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., from 1997 to 2001. At Babson, the College of Charleston and the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, where he was dean from 1993 to 1997, he gained a reputation as a solid fundraiser. He doubled endowments at both Babson and Darden, Connecticut College officials said in a press statement.

At the College of Charleston, he increased the number of full-time faculty, set record fundraising levels, boosted the number of academic and co-curricular programs and oversaw an extensive campus construction program.

"His experience really set him apart," said Marc Forster, chairman of Connecticut College's history department and a member of the presidential search committee. "He's very personable and has the ability to engage people. ... Although he comes out of a business background, we were very impressed with his commitment to liberal arts education."

Although the College of Charleston also emphasizes the liberal arts and sciences, "it really is a very different educational experience" than that of Connecticut College, Higdon said.

Unlike Connecticut College, with its tree-lined campus overlooking Long Island Sound, the College of Charleston is a public urban campus with an undergraduate and graduate student body nearly six times as large.

"At [Connecticut College], you're really talking about a residential learning community," Higdon said.

Higdon, who received a bachelor's degree in history from Georgetown University, said, "I believe fundamentally that liberal arts are the most practical form of education today." After graduating from Georgetown, he and his wife, Ann, spent two years teaching in Africa in the Peace Corps. In 1972, he received an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago. He joined Salomon Brothers in 1973 and worked there for 20 years, becoming vice chairman, a member of the executive committee and manager of the global investment banking division.

He and his wife have four children.

When this story was posted in April 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Hartford Courant

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