David Wippman.
President David Wippman will spend his first year of retirement working with the next generation of education leaders as a president-in-residence for the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) during the 2024-25 academic year.

The School’s Judith Block McLaughlin Presidents-in-Residence Program brings distinguished former college or university presidents to Harvard to attend classes alongside students for discussions about and reflections on leadership in higher education and the contemporary challenges in the field.

Wippman, who will retire from Hamilton in June following a 31-year career in higher education that included eight years of service to the College, will teach and mentor students in the HGSE’s higher education degree offerings, contributing to courses and providing valuable insight based on his work as a college president.

“Serving as a president-in-residence is a wonderful opportunity to work with and learn from future higher education leaders at a time when higher education leadership has become more challenging than ever,” Wippman said in the school's release announcing his appointment. “I’m honored to join a program with such distinguished faculty and talented students.”

Wippman will share the distinguished title with Christina Royal, president of Holyoke Community College and the HGSE’s first community college president-in-residence. The program’s faculty director, Senior Lecturer Francesca Purcell, said that both Wippman and Royal offer unique insights from across the higher educational leadership landscape, according to the announcement.

“Their varying perspectives on higher education leadership in the 21st century will enrich and deepen the learning experiences for our students in the residential higher education concentration and in the online higher education pathway,” Purcell said. “Christina has extensive experience leading community colleges and David brings insights leading a small liberal arts college with both boasting exceptional records advancing equity, opportunity, and excellence across the national higher education landscape. Importantly, they are thoughtful practitioners who will engage with and inspire HGSE students.”

Wippman, who has served as Hamilton’s president since 2016, is a recognized authority in international law and has taught about ethnic conflict, public international law, international criminal law, and international human rights. During his Hamilton tenure, Wippman developed the College’s strategic plan and launched the record-breaking $400-million Because Hamilton campaign, which included a focus on increasing need-based student financial aid. Throughout his presidency, Wippman prioritized diversity, equity and inclusion, and oversaw the development of new programs that support student advising (ALEX), digital fluency (Digital Hamilton), and cross-boundary political thought and complex social issues (Common Ground).

Prior to Hamilton, Wippman served as dean of the University of Minnesota Law School, as professor and associate dean at Cornell Law School, and as vice provost for international relations at Cornell University. He took a year away from Cornell to serve as a director in the National Security Council’s Office of Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs, where he worked on war crimes issues, the International Criminal Court, economic sanctions, and U.N. political issues. Before joining Cornell, Wippman practiced law for nine years in Washington, D.C.

In 2019, he was named to the Advisory Council of Refugees International, and in 2021 the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities elected him to a three-year term to represent the interests of New York’s independent colleges and universities. Wippman also serves on the board of directors of the Annapolis Group.

The Judith Block McLaughlin Presidents-in-Residence Program was launched at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2001 as a way to anchor academic discussions in higher education with real-world experience, according to the program’s website. In 2023, the program was fully endowed and renamed in honor of McLaughlin, a longtime senior lecturer at the school and founder of the program. Dozens of college and university presidents have taken part in the program since its inception.

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