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2016-17 Leader-in-Residence

Dr. Ken Ruscio, President Emeritus, Washington & Lee University and President, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges

Dr. Ken Ruscio

Kenneth P. Ruscio, a 1976 graduate of Washington and Lee, served as the 26th president of his alma mater from 2006 through December 2016. He became president of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges in April 2017.

A politics major at W&L, President Ruscio earned a master's degree and Ph.D. from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 1983.  He returned to W&L in 1987 as dean of freshmen and assistant professor of politics.  He later served as associate dean of the W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics before serving as dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond from 2002 to 2006.

A leader in the world of higher education and a tireless proponent of the liberal arts, President Ruscio

  • currently serves as on the board of the Council of Independent Colleges,
  • is Past Chair of the Board of the American Association of Colleges and Universities,
  • is past president of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership society founded at Washington and Lee in 1914,
  • and is the author of numerous articles and essays and the 2004 book, “The Leadership Dilemma in Modern Democracy.” 

Under his leadership over the last 10 years Washington and Lee has

  • completed a $542 million capital campaign, believed to be the second largest campaign of any liberal arts institution,
  • made major enhancements to the physical plant, including the renovation of the historic Colonnade and the construction of the Center for Global Learning,
  • initiated important changes to student life with improvements to first-year residence life and the recent third year housing initiative, which has resulted in the construction of a new upper division village,
  • engaged in curriculum enhancement with the revitalization of its Spring Term program,
  • significantly grown both student financial aid and faculty salaries,

President Ruscio is married to Kimberley O’Donnell Ruscio.  They have a son, Matthew, who is a 2012 graduate of St. Lawrence University.

After the Vote

On Nov. 10, 2016–17 Jepson School of Leadership Studies Leader-in-Residence Kenneth P. Ruscio moderated a panel discussion on governing after the votes are cast. A panel of political experts discussed the campaign, election results, and lessons learned about our democracy and political system and considered what comes next. Panelists also explored the roles of the press and social media, the campaign issues that mattered most, the changing electorate, and the prospect of governance among three political branches. 


James W. Ceasar, professor of politics, University of Virginia
Diana M. Owen, associate professor of political science, Georgetown University
Robert S. Strong, professor of politics, Washington and Lee University

Organized Anarchy: Leadership Challenges & the University President

On March 28, 2016–17 Jepson School of Leadership Studies Leader-in-Residence Kenneth P. Ruscio moderated a panel discussion on how college and university presidents are meeting leadership challenges in increasingly complex times. A panel of past and current university presidents discussed their roles and leadership styles, as well as contemporary issues facing higher education and the society it serves.


Elizabeth Davis, President, Furman University
Sanford Ungar, President Emeritus, Goucher College
Richard Morrill, Chancellor, University of Richmond

Welcome by Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher, President, University of Richmond

Organized Anarchy Panel