CIC President Emeritus Richard Ekman Honored for Leadership and Service

January 19, 2022 — Washington, DC

​The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) honored president emeritus Richard Ekman during its 52nd annual Presidents Institute. The “Richard Ekman Keynote Address in Higher Education” was established by the CIC Board of Directors in recognition of Ekman’s more than 20 years as president of CIC.

Katherine Bergeron, chair of the CIC Board of Directors, stated that “the CIC Board of Directors established the Richard Ekman Keynote Address in Higher Education, to be presented each year at the CIC Presidents Institute. As president of CIC, Rich led significant growth in membership, increased the financial strength of the organization through fundraising and careful stewardship, and supported the development of programs that benefited hundreds of institutions and their leaders.” She noted that “speakers selected to deliver the annual address will represent the highest standard of excellence and leadership—whether as scholars, thought leaders, or practitioners—and the Ekman Addresses will provide insight on topics important to all presidents of independent colleges and universities.”

In acknowledging this recognition, Ekman said, “I’m honored to have been able to contribute to CIC’s progress, and to strengthening a group of approximately 700 colleges and universities that are exceptionally effective and distinctively American in preparing students to sustain democratic institutions. My thanks go to the dedicated leaders of CIC’s member institutions for making it possible for me to remain connected to CIC in the future through this annual keynote address in higher education.”  

Ekman served as president of CIC from 2000 to 2021. Previously, he served as vice president for programs of Atlantic Philanthropies and as secretary and senior program officer of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Earlier, he was at the National Endowment for the Humanities, successively as director of the Division of Education Programs and the Division of Research Programs; at Hiram College as vice president and dean, where he was a tenured member of the history faculty; and at the University of Massachusetts at Boston as assistant to the provost. He currently serves as a member of many boards, including those that provide guidance to the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, American Academic Leadership Institute, Emeriti Retirement Health, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, and Project Pericles. His essays have appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, University Business, Inside Higher Ed, Carnegie Reporter, and Washington Post. Ekman earned his AB in history and PhD in the history of American civilization from Harvard University.

​The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 758 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges, and other higher education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on services to leaders of independent colleges and universities and state-based councils. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications, and other programs and services that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes, and institutional visibility. It conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers in the United States. Founded in 1956, CIC is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.