President of the College
Leo I. Higdon, Jr., became the tenth president of Connecticut College on July 1, 2006.
A proven leader with 35 years of experience in higher education and business, Higdon is a strong advocate of liberal arts and sciences education, calling it the best foundation for any career. Higdon leverages his business acumen and higher education expertise to distinguish Connecticut College among premier liberal arts colleges nationwide. Under his leadership, Connecticut College has improved its admission profile with improved competitiveness in the number and quality of applicants, and improved selectivity. The College has also implemented an array of programs that foster faculty-student interaction, enhance faculty and student diversity and strengthen the academic core of the institution.
Additionally, Connecticut College has earned national recognition as a top producer of Fulbright Award winners and Peace Corps volunteers, a winner of the Sen. Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization and a member of the President’s Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. Also, Higdon has overseen an enhanced financial aid program, launched a new Science Leaders program to help attract and retain underrepresented students in the sciences and, most recently, opened a new state-of-the-art science center.
Higdon was president of the College of Charleston from October 2001 to June 2006, and oversaw that institution's growth from a regional university to a nationally known liberal arts and sciences institution. Under his tenure, the College of Charleston enjoyed enormous growth through extensive construction projects, expanded academic and co-curricular programs, and increased financial support. Higdon was awarded an honorary doctorate from the College of Charleston.
Higdon’s commitment to liberal education stems from his own life experiences – as a liberal arts graduate, a Peace Corps volunteer, an investment banker and as a visionary leader within the higher education arena.
Higdon received a bachelor's degree in history from Georgetown University in 1968. Following graduation, he and his wife Ann spent two years in the Peace Corps, teaching in Malawi, Africa, where the first of their four children was born. He earned an M.B.A. in finance in 1972 from the University of Chicago.
In 1973 Higdon joined Salomon Brothers. He became vice chairman and member of the executive committee and managed the firm's global investment banking division. He initiated and executed four transactions recognized by Institutional Investor as "Deals of the Year."
After 20 years with Salomon Brothers, Higdon became dean of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration of the University of Virginia. He left Darden to serve as president of Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., and Babson awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2007. At both Babson and Darden, Higdon led top-ranked schools, developed diverse populations and doubled endowments through record-breaking fundraising.
Currently, Higdon is a member of the boards of directors of HealthSouth Corp. and Eaton Vance Corp., where he serves as lead director. His past board affiliations include Bestfoods Corporation, Georgetown University, Mt. Holyoke College, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. He has written and published widely on higher education and business. Higdon and his wife Ann have four grown children.