Robert Ivany

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Robert Ivany
Robert Ivany 1986.jpg
Ivany as Military Aide to President Reagan in 1986
8th President of the University of St. Thomas
Assumed office
July 1, 2004
Personal details
Born (1947-02-04) February 4, 1947 (age 76)
Alma materUnited States Military Academy (BS)
University of Wisconsin–Madison (MA, PhD)[1]
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1969–2003
RankMajor General
CommandsUnited States Army War College
Military District of Washington
Battles/warsVietnam War
Gulf War
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (2)
Purple Heart

Robert Rudolph Ivany (born February 4, 1947) is a retired major general in the United States Army, and was the eighth president of the University of St. Thomas in Houston.[2]

Military career[edit]

Born in Austria to Hungarian war refugees,[1][3] Ivany attended college at the United States Military Academy at West Point.[4] In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy in 1969, he received a Doctor of Philosophy in History from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in May 1980. His doctoral thesis was entitled The Exploited Emigres: The Hungarians in Europe, 1853-1861 and his thesis advisor was Theodore S. Hamerow.[1][5]

Serving as the commandant (president) of the War College capped Ivany's 34-year career in the army. During his various commands as an armored cavalry officer, he led soldiers in the United States, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the Federal Republic of Germany and Vietnam where he was wounded in action and decorated for valor.

When not assigned to troop units, Ivany assisted several nations in the transformation of their armed forces, including stints in Hungary, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.[4] Ivany also served in several unique positions, including serving as the Army Aide to the President of the United States from 1984 to 1986.

Ivany also served as an assistant professor of history and as a football coach at the Military Academy at West Point. As the Commanding General of the Military District of Washington from 1998 to 2000, he directed a diverse organization of 5500 civilian and military employees based on seven installations in three states and the District of Columbia.[3]

Prior to his retirement from the Army with the rank of major general, Ivany had presided over one of the nation's most respected institutions for the education of strategic leaders: the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.[2] There for three years, he instituted programs to develop the next generation of military and civilian leaders from the United States and 42 foreign countries to meet the challenges of cultural change, organizational transformation and a drastically altered national security environment.


After retiring from the army in October 2003,[4] Ivany joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University as an adjunct professor in Executive Education. He worked with senior executives in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States in leader development, strategic planning and cultural change.[2]

On July 1, 2004, Ivany became the eighth president of the University of St. Thomas.[2] He was formally installed into office in January 2005 at a reception which featured the presence of former United States President George Bush. He resides in Houston with his wife, Marianne, and his children.

Ivany significantly increased the St. Thomas endowment during his short tenure. He has initiated several academic programs in an effort to increase the institution's prestige.[2] He became president emeritus in 2017.


During Ivany's tenure as president of the University of St. Thomas, he has made it a priority to develop intercollegiate athletics as a means to increase school spirit among students, alumni and donors.[6] In the summer of 2005, Ivany called for the formation of the Athletics Advisory Council to study intercollegiate athletics at UST and make recommendations.[7] The Council concluded that intercollegiate athletics would help the university's image and would not result in a reduction in funds for other programs.[7] The program was initiated as the St. Thomas Celts.

Leadership Development Initiative[edit]

Ivany has spoken on the topic of leadership development to varied audiences, including:

  • Cleveland City Club
  • 2002 Peter F. Drucker Conference for Nonprofit Management
  • Union League of Philadelphia
  • First Friday Club of Cleveland
  • Atlanta Rotary
  • Northeast Regional United Way Conference
  • Quanex Corporation
  • CenterPoint Energy
  • Walt Disney Resorts
  • Houston Junior Achievement
  • Houston Partnership Board.

Ivany has been interested in the leadership challenges facing military and civilian leaders for several years. His article "Soldiers and Legislators: A Common Mission" appeared in Parameters in 1990 and received the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence in Military Writing. He is conducting research on the leadership attributes of 20 generals and admirals who have transitioned to corporate leadership.

Memberships and awards[edit]

Ivany belongs to the Leader to Leader Institute, the Army Football Club, Mental Health Association and the Knights of Columbus.[citation needed] He has received the Ellis Island Medal of Freedom, the Humanitarian Medal from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Association, the Director's Award from the US Secret Service,[2] the Admiral Thomas J. Hamilton Award for Leadership, and together with his spouse, the Aaron and Hur Award from the U.S. Army Chaplaincy. He was named a distinguished graduate of St. Ignatius H.S., Cleveland, Ohio and has earned numerous military awards.[2]


Ivany is married to the former Marianne O'Donnell; they have four children, daughter Julianne Sara and sons Brian Michael, Mark and Chris.


  1. ^ a b c "Faculty: Major General Robert Ivany". Thayer Leadership, Inc. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Dr. Robert Ivany". University of St. Thomas. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Major General Robert Ivany". The Days Forward. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "Major General Robert Ivany, Ph.D.". Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  5. ^ "History Doctorates Awarded Since 1893". University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of History. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  6. ^ Roch, Jessica (2005-09-01). "ST president speaks candidly". Cauldron Online. University of St. Thomas. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  7. ^ a b Tang Dao, "UST moves towards intercollegiate sports", UST Cauldron, March 29, 2006

External links[edit]