John A. Howard – January 23, 1996


John A. Howard

The Leadership of Confusion

After three years of studies at Princeton, John Howard served in the military, where he was a member of the 1st Infantry Division, under enemy fire much of the time from D-Day to VE Day, and receiving two silver stars, two purple hearts and a battlefield commission.  He returned home to spend his career seeking to reenforce the free society’s ideals and basic principles for which he had been fighting.

At the age of 29 he was named President of Palos Verdes College.  Four years later he was appointed Executive Vice Chairman of President Eisenhower’s Committee on Government Contracts, which conducted the first program to use the leverage of those contracts to open jobs to qualified minority applicants.  Vice President Nixon chaired The Committee.  Other members included George Meany, Walter Reuther and Attorney General William Rogers.

He completed his PhD at Northwestern and in 1960 began a seventeen-year term as President of Rockford College, coordinating the fundraising for, and, overseeing the construction of and the move to a new campus which was paid for without any governmental funds.  He mobilized a group of college and university presidents with teams going to Washington (1961-62) to try to convince the Congress that Federal funding of higher education would be a disaster.  That campaign failed, but all the reasons cited for avoiding the Federalization of American education proved to be prophetic.

Illustrative of the dynamic educational program under John Howard’s leadership were three week-long arts festivals (with classes suspended):  The Medieval Period (1961), the Italian Renaissance (1963) and Creativity and the Negro (1965) presenting numerous internationally acclaimed speakers, performers and exhibits.

Dr. Howard helped to found and served for three years as President of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities to try to minimize the damage of Federal funding.  He was a member of the White House Task Force on Priorities in Higher Education (1969-70) to suggest how the Government could help to calm the turmoil on American campuses.  He served on the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse (1971-73) and has been a periodic spokesman and author arguing to prevent marijuana legalization.

His memberships have included Phi Beta Kappa, Rotary International, Young Presidents Organization, Chief Executives Forum, The Philadelphia Society, (President of it 1979-80), The Bohemian Club, The Mt. Pelerin Society, The Farmington Trust of Oxford England (concerned with maintaining religious education in the nation’s schools) and the US Chamber of Commerce Committee on Business Overview.

In 1977, he resigned as President of Rockford College to found a think tank devoted to analyzing the damage done to America’s social institutions by the cultural upheaval of the 1960’s.  With Allan Carlson, he founded an off-shoot of that Institute, The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society, where he serves as a Senior Fellow.

A frequent speaker for national programs, he has given the keynote address at the National Conference on the Future of Private Enterprise sponsored by the NAM and the National Federation of Business, the Banquet Speech at the Daughters of the American Revolution’s National Bicentennial Convocation, the Commencement Address at Brigham Young University’s Centennial Celebration, the Opening Speech for the annual meeting of PEO at Chicago’s McCormick Place, a Guest Sermon at Princeton’s University Chapel and two Lakeside Talks at the Bohemian Grove.

Other occasions have included the annual meetings at the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Wholesale Druggists Association, the Electronic Industries Association, the Young President’s Organization, and the Chief Executives Forum.

He has spoken for innumerable service club meetings including the Annual Meeting of Kiwanis International and the Rotary Clubs of Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

His articles have appeared in many publications including U.S. News and World Report, Christian Science Monitor, Philadelphia Inquirer and Chicago Tribune.  He has been a contributing author for Who Should Run The University?, The Family: America’s Hope, Dilemma’s Facing The Nation, On Freedom, Churches on the Wrong Road and editor of Belief, Faith and Reason.  His book Detoxifying The Culture was published in 2001.

John Howard and his wife, Janette, have four children and nine grandchildren and live in Rockford, Illinois.

Upcoming Events