List of longest serving higher education presidents in the United States

Eliphalet Nott, longest serving college president in US history

The longest serving president of a United States institution of higher education is Eliphalet Nott, who served at Union College in Schenectady, New York, for 62 years (1805–66). The longest living college or university president is Dr. Jack Evans Sr., who continues at Southwestern Christian College of Terrell, Texas, as president after 49 years of service.


According to a 2007 report from the American Council on Education, only about 5% of all in-office college presidents had served longer than 20 years.[1] The table below considers candidates who can be demonstrated to have served for 25 years or longer unless another distinguishing factor warrants inclusion. Records for the longest serving college or university presidents are usually kept by the respective institutions themselves.


Name Term College Location Notes[note 1]
Eliphalet Nott 61 years (1805–1866) Union College Schenectady, NY Longest serving college president in U.S. history.
Paul F. Beacham 59 years (1919-1978) Holmes Theological Seminary Greenville, SC Longest serving seminary president in U.S. history.
B. B. Dougherty 56 years (1899-1955) Appalachian State University Boone, NC
W. Wilbert Welch 56 years (1959-2015) Cornerstone University Grand Rapid, MI Served as President until 1983, then Chancellor.
Francis H. Smith 50 years (1839-1889) Virginia Military Institute Lexington, VA Longest serving military superintendent in U.S. history
James Blair 50 years (1693–1743) College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA The first and longest serving president of the college.[2]
Jack Evans, Sr 49 years (1967—present) Southwestern Christian College Terrell, TX The longest serving college president still sitting. Served as President until 2016, then Chancellor.
Norman Francis 47 years (1968–2015) Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA [3]
Richard I. Gouse 45 years (1971–present)[4] New England Institute of Technology East Greenwich, RI Only 24 at the time of assuming his position.
J. Donald Monan 44 years (1972-present) Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA Served as President until 1996, then Chancellor
Clarence W. Daugette 43 years (1899-1942) Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, AL State of Alabama's longest serving university president.
Nicholas Murray Butler 43 years (1902-1945) Columbia University New York, NY Columbia's longest serving president.
Joseph N. Hankin 43 years (1971–2014)[5] Westchester Community College Valhalla, NY Longest serving community college president in the US.[6]
Luns C. Richardson 42 years (1974–present) Morris College Sumter, SC Life Member and Golden Heritage Member of the NAACP
Robert H. Spence 42 years (1974–present) Evangel University Springfield, MO Served until May 1, 2014 as President, and since then as Chancellor.
Leon Botstein 41 years (1975–present) Bard College Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones 41 years (1936-1977) Grambling State University Grambling, LA
William Foster Peirce 41 years (1896–1937) Kenyon College Gambier, OH Assumed the presidency at the age of 28.
W. Sam Monroe 40 years (1974-2014) Lamar State College-Port Arthur Port Arthur, TX
Charles William Eliot 40 years (1869–1909) Harvard University Cambridge, MA
Henry Nelson Snyder 40 years (1902-1942) Wofford College Spartanburg, SC
David L. Eubanks 38 years (1969–2007) Johnson Bible College Knoxville, TN
James Burrill Angell 38 years (1871–1909) University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI UM's longest serving president.
Philip Pumerantz 38 years (1977–2015) Western University of Health Sciences Pomona, CA Founding president of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (1977), which became Western University of Health Sciences in 1996.
Pat Robertson 38 years (1978–present) Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
William R. Harvey 38 years (1978–present)[7] Hampton University Hampton, VA
Janet Eisner 37 years (1979–present) Emmanuel College Boston, MA Longest serving female president still sitting.[8]
Dennis J. Murray 37 years (1979–2016)[9] Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
Sister Denise Roche 37 years (1979–2016) D'Youville College Buffalo, NY
Mary Emma Woolley 37 years (1900-1937) Mount Holyoke College South Hadley, MA
Jerry Falwell 36 years (1971-2007) Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
John Wheelock 36 years (1779–1815) Dartmouth College Hanover, NH Dartmouth's longest serving president.
Robert L. McLendon Jr. 36 years (1972-2008) St. Johns River State College Palatka, FL
Bevan Morris 36 years (1980-2016)[10] Maharishi University of Management Fairfield, IA
Cornelius P. Haggard 36 years (1939-1975) Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA
Theodore Hesburgh 35 years (1952–1987) University of Notre Dame South Bend, IN
Charles P. Adams 35 years (1901-1936) Grambling State University Grambling, LA Founding president of the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School in 1901, which became Grambling State University in 1974.
Willard M. Aldrich 35 years (1943-1978) Multnomah University Portland, OR
Nathan Lord 35 years (1828–1863) Dartmouth College Hanover, NH
E. George Evans 35 years (1884-1919) Champlain College Burlington, VT
A. Gordon Tittemore 35 years (1920-1955) Champlain College Burlington, VT
Sister Joel Read 35 years (1968–2003) Alverno College Milwaukee, WI
William Lowe Bryan 35 years (1902–1937) Indiana University Bloomington, IN
Marilyn Schlack 34 years (1982–present) Kalamazoo Valley Community College Kalamazoo, MILongest serving community college president still sitting
Ray Paul Authement, Sr. 34 years (1974-2008) University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, La
James M Rosser 34 years (1979–2013)[11] California State University, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
Edgar Odell Lovett 34 years (1912–1946)[12] Rice Institute Houston, TX
Thomas Hanna McMichael 33 years (1903-1936)[13] Monmouth College Monmouth, IL
C. Hoyt Watson 33 years (1926-1959) Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA
Mark W. Ellingson 33 years (1936-1969) Rochester Institute of Technology Henrietta, NY
Palmer C. Ricketts 33 years (1901–1934) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY
H. Mebane Turner 33 years (1969–2002)[14] University of Baltimore Baltimore, MD
Charles Schlimpert 33 years (1983–present) Concordia University Portland Portland, OR Longest serving President in the State of Oregon
Joseph W. Polisi 32 years (1984–present) The Juilliard School New York City, NY
Cloyd H. Marvin 32 years (1927-1959) George Washington University Washington, DC
Steven Van Ausdle 32 years (1984–2016) Walla Walla Community College Walla Walla, WA
John F. MacArthur 31 years (1985–present) The Master's College Santa Clarita, CA Longest serving president in the state of California
Henry Hardin Cherry 31 years (1906-1937) Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY
Felton G. Clark 31 years (1938-1969) Southern University Baton Rouge, LA
Claybrook Cottingham 31 years (1910-1941) Louisiana College Pineville, LA
Alvin O. Austin 30 years (1986-present) LeTourneau University Longview, TX Served as President until 2007, then Chancellor
Charles Paul Conn 30 years (1986–present) Lee University Cleveland, TN
Lincoln Hulley 30 years (1904–1934) Stetson University DeLand, FL
Daniel R. Chamberlain 30 years (1976–2006) Houghton College Houghton, NY
John L. Lahey 29 years (1987–present) Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
Edgar Young Mullins 29 years (1899-1928) Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Louisville, KY
Jeremiah Day 29 years (1817–1846) Yale University New Haven, CT
Rees Edgar Tulloss 29 years (1920-1949) Wittenberg University Springfield, OH
Albert Parker 29 years (1929-1958) Hanover College Hanover, IN
Jack L. Stark 29 years (1970–1999) Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA
David Lieber 29 years (1964–1993) University of Judaism Bel-air, Los Angeles, CA
Charles E. Young 29 years (1968–1997)[15] UCLA Los Angeles, CA Was also the president of the University of Florida from 1999-2003.
Edith Lesley 29 years (1909-1938) Lesley University Cambridge, MA
Edwin Massey 28 years (1988-present) Indian River State College Fort Pierce, FL
Ernest O. Holland 28 years (1916-1944) Washington State University Pullman, WA
Gary Cook 28 years (1988-present) Dallas Baptist University Dallas, TX Served as President until 2015, then Chancellor
Katharine Elizabeth McBride 28 years (1942-1970) Bryn Mawr College Bryan Mawr, PA
M. Carey Thomas 28 years (1894-1922) Bryn Mawr College Bryan Mawr, PA
E. Wilson Lyon 28 years (1941-1969) Pomona College Claremont, CA
Daniel Fisher 28 years (1879-1907) Hanover College Hanover, IN
John A. Hannah 28 years (1941–1969) Michigan State College East Lansing, MI
Joab Mauldin Lesesne Jr. 28 years (1972-2000) Wofford College Spartanburg, SC
James R. Day 28 years (1894–1922) Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
William P. Tolley 27 years (1942–1969) Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
Diana Natalicio 27 years (1988–present) University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX Longest serving president still sitting of a major public research university. Appointed interim president in 1987.[16]
Ray Lyman Wilbur 27 years (1916-1943) Stanford University Stanford, CA
James Henry Carlisle 27 years (1875-1902) Wofford College Spartanburg, SC
Edwin H. Welch 27 years (1989-present) University of Charleston Charleston, WV
Edward H. Hammond 27 years (1987-2014) Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
Bowman Foster Ashe 26 years (1926-1952) University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
Benjamin Labaree 26 years (1840–1866) Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
Dan Reneau 26 years (1987-2013) Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA
Harry Augustus Garfield 26 years (1908-1934) Williams College Williamstown, MA
Alfred Bryan Bonds 26 years (1955–1981) Baldwin Wallace University Berea, OH
Elizabeth Coleman 26 years (1987–2013) Bennington College Bennington, VT
Royce Money 25 years (1991-present) Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX Served as President until 2010, then Chancellor
Clyde Cook 25 years (1982-2007)[17] Biola University La Mirada, CA
James McCain 25 years (1950–1975) Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
Frederick L. Hovde 25 years (1946–1971) Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
Betty Siegel 25 years (1981–2006) Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA
Homer B. Williams 25 years (1912-1937) Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, OH
F. Jay Taylor 25 years (1962-1987) Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA
Walter Washington 25 years (1969–1994)[18] Alcorn State University Lorman, MI
Theodore Dwight Woolsey 25 years (1846–1871) Yale University New Haven, CT

See also

Education in the United States
Education portal
United States portal


  1. For the purposes of the list, "Chancellor" and "President" are interchangeable titles.


  2. "William & Mary - 19th Century Presidents".
  3. Mangan, Katherine. "The Chronicle of Higher Education". America's Longest Serving President has More to Do. The Chronicle. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  4. "Executive Compensation at Private and Public Colleges". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  5. "Page not found - Westchester Community College".
  6. Sarina, Trangle (2011-09-24). "President Joseph Hankin Celebrates 40 Years at WCC". Greenburgh Daily Voice. The Greenburgh Daily Voice. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  7. "About the President". Hampton University. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  9. "About Marist - Dennis J. Murray: Marist College".
  10. Hallman, Andy (June 20, 2016). "Lynch addresses M.U.M. graduates". The Fairfield Ledger. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  11. "Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser Announces His Retirement". 18 September 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  12. | The Handbook of Texas | Accessed 13 April 2014
  13. Davenport, F. Garvin (1953). Monmouth College : the first hundred years, 1853–1953. Iowa: Torch Press. p. 71. ASIN B007T3FF0G.
  14. Bowler, Mike (29 June 2002). "The university that Meb built". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  15. Chambers, Veronica. "College Presidents in the Spotlight". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  16. "UTEP Encyclopedia".
  17. "Clyde Cook Biola Profile". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  18. "Alcorn State University: Past Presidents". Alcorn State University. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
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