University presidents carry a moral burden to act with integrity. When they don’t, universities suffer and communities, students, and alumni pay the price.
“…for what is a share of a man worth? If he does not contain the quality of integrity, he is worthless. If he does, he is priceless. The value is either nothing or is infinite.”
Elbert Tuttle, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Little has more impact on the learning environment for students, the working environment for faculty and staff, and the service environment for the communities and states where universities are located than ethical leadership, or lack thereof, exerted by the president. And university leadership has economic impact in host communities. Five great and prosperous college towns: Amherst, MA; Ann Arbor, MI; Athens, GA; College Station, TX; and Berkeley, CA, all have extended histories of bold, insightful presidential leadership. Admittedly, these are special towns, but in any university community the president exerts force, for better or worse.