Robert H. Edwards

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Robert Hazard Edwards
13th President of Bowdoin College
In office
Preceded byA. LeRoy Greason
Succeeded byBarry Mills
7th President of Carleton College
In office
Preceded byHoward R. Swearer
Succeeded byDavid Porter
Personal details
Born (1935-05-26) May 26, 1935 (age 83)
London, England
Alma materPrinceton University
Harvard University

Robert Hazard Edwards (born May 26, 1935)[1] is an American educator who was the seventh president of Carleton College and the thirteenth president of Bowdoin College.

Education and early career[edit]

A graduate of Deerfield Academy, Edwards attended Princeton University, graduating magna cum laude. He also earned a B.A. and an M.A. at Cambridge University and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School. In 1961, after law school, he earned admission to the U.S. federal bar. For several years he worked for the U.S. State Department on matters related to African countries that had been colonies and were making the transition to independent nationhood. After leaving the U.S. government, he joined the Ford Foundation, where he worked from 1965 to 1977 in Pakistan and New York, heading the foundation's Middle East and Africa Office.[2]

Carleton College[edit]

In 1977 Edwards became president of Carleton College. As Carleton's president, he helped launch the "Science, Technology, and Public Policy" program and expanded and remodeled the school's library. While at Carleton, he was a respected leader who challenged the faculty and raised awareness throughout the community. When he left in 1986, he received an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters.

Work for the Aga Khan[edit]

After leaving Carleton, Edwards returned to Pakistan, going to Karachi to join the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan, heading the Department of Health, Education and Housing. He also served on the board of trustees of Aga Khan University from 1987-1990.

Bowdoin College[edit]

In 1990, he became president of Bowdoin, where he significantly changed the college's governance and residential life. In 1995, he merged all board members from Trustees and Overseers into a single Board of Trustees. The next year, the Trustees voted to phase out fraternities, immediately terminating the recruitment of new members, and to abolish fraternities entirely by 2000. The college acquired all fraternity chapter houses by the summer of 2000, to be absorbed after renovation into the college's new residential house system.

Additionally, the sizes of both the faculty and student body where expanded, from 130.8 to 154.8, and from 1410 to 1600, respectively. In the midst of a $135 million capital campaign starting in 1994 and ending in 1998 (with $136 million), the college's campus and academic programs were dramatically expanded. During his tenure, many Academic buildings were constructed or renovated included Druckenmiller, Cleaveland and Searles Halls, Memorial Hall and Wish Theatres, Hawthorne Longfellow Library and the Coastal Studies Center. Additionally, several new residential halls, a new student union, a new fitness center, and a new dining complex were built and several new programs were established including the Educational Technology Center, the Learning and Teaching Center, the Off-Campus Studies office, and the Coastal Studies Program.

In 1999, Edwards became a member of the board of trustees of Aga Khan University again. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and was succeeded by current president Barry Mills in 2001.

Colby College awarded Edwards an honorary degree in 2001.[2]


  1. ^ Who's Who in the Midwest, 1982-1983
  2. ^ a b Biographies of the Honorary Degree Recipients, Colby College Commencement 2001, accessed July 20, 2010

External links[edit]

Preceded by
A. LeRoy Greason
President of Bowdoin College
Succeeded by
Barry Mills