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Keynote Sessions

2018 Ruffalo Noel Levitz National Conference, July 24-26

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Hear inspiration and insights from nationally renowned keynote speakers

The 2018 RNL National Conference keynote speakers will share their stories, strategies, research, and recommendations to inspire and inform you. They will leave you energized and ready to return to campus to make an even greater difference in the work you do every day.

Byron PittsStep Out on Nothing

Byron Pitts

Co-anchor of ABC's Nightline and author of Step Out on Nothing

Byron Pitts will share his against-the-odds tale of how he went from a "functionally illiterate" elementary school boy to award-winning television reporter. He'll describe how he endured bullies and humiliation through grade school, struggled with reading, and stuttered until he was 20 years old. Even after scratching his way to Ohio Wesleyan University, his freshman literature professor told Mr. Pitts he was wasting everyone’s time. In the end, Mr. Pitts credits his determination to the strong women in his life, including his wise, spiritual mother, and a professor who Mr. Pitts says not only "changed my life, she saved it."

About Byron Pitts

  • Emmy award-winning journalist and co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline
  • Formerly chief national correspondent for CBS Evening News With Katie Couric
  • Author of the memoir Step Out on Nothing and the book Be the One: Six True Stories of Teens Overcoming Hardship With Hope

 

Christopher HowardEight Ways to Accelerate Your Leadership Odyssey

Dr. Christopher Howard

President, Robert Morris University (Pennsylvania)

Dr. Christopher Howard will share his playbook for developing character-based skills that apply to anyone, in any field, at any time. These skills and attributes show leaders how to be courageous, accountable, and act with empathy, traits that will serve higher education well during a time of great tumult and transformation. These skills have helped Dr. Howard throughout his career, from the gridiron to the battlefield to becoming one of the youngest college presidents in the United States.


About Dr. Christopher Howard

  • President of Robert Morris University (Pennsylvania); previously served as president of Hampden-Sydney College (Virginia) and vice president for leadership and strategic initiatives at the University of Oklahoma
  • Recipient of the Bronze Star for his service with the Air Force Reserve in Afghanistan and graduate of the United States Air Force Academy
  • Earned a doctorate in politics as a Rhodes Scholar from the University of Oxford and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School 

 

Jeffrey Selingo2028: The Decade Ahead for Higher Education

Jeffrey Selingo

Author, former editor for The Chronicle of Higher Education

What changes are in store for higher education? What will success look like for your institution in the future? We are in the beginning stages of far-reaching changes over the next decade where technology is playing a larger role and students, parents, and educators alike are asking what colleges should teach and how outcomes should be measured in an era of shifting needs in the economy. Drawing on his research and bestselling books, Mr. Selingo will highlight how the new era of higher education will differ from the past, the new and numerous learning pathways that students might follow ten years from now, and how data and technology will play a larger role.

About Jeffrey Selingo

  • Best-selling author of There Is Life After College, College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students, and MOOC U: Who Is Getting the Most Out of Online Education and Why
  • Formerly top editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Writer and columnist who has been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Slate

 

Katie SanchezDisney’s Approach presented by Disney Institute: Inspiration From Walt Disney’s Vision and Leadership Legacy

Katie Sanchez

Senior Facilitator, Disney Institute 

In this keynote, participants will learn how Walt Disney’s vision contributed to a culture that engaged his team in a legacy of innovation. Disney Institute will bring to life key moments from his career—from early animation to the birth of the theme park—to share business insights that we can apply to our own work. Learn about the history of Walt Disney and the best practices from Disney parks and resorts, and be inspired to embrace change, drive innovation, and lead at any level at your institution.

About Katie Sanchez

  • Senior facilitator for Disney Institute, delivering business programs individually and through team presentations
  • Has served as a leadership development consultant to enhance organizational and behavioral performance
  • Received a master's degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Long Island University and her bachelor's degree from Boston University

 

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