College Presidents: The After Life of the Post-Presidency

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Fall 2009

Project Description/Abstract

College presidents lead generally rewarding lives that are characterized by highly fulfilling but also taxing and complex leadership duties. The presidential post is a culminating appointment in the life of the academy. For those privileged to hold the office, choices about what to do after the presidency pose questions and quandaries. What do presidents do after presidencies? What constitutes a rewarding life after being president? Does anything compete with the status and regard accorded presidents? What do former presidents tell us about the experience of being the “first among equals” but also as one former president aptly claimed as leaders with “no equal in the world?” What can be learned from former living presidents about their careers after being at the helm in the Ivory Tower? These are critical questions for those who hold the office today and for those contemplating aspirations to future presidencies. This qualitative research study will probe these questions through interviews with more than a dozen former college presidents.

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