President Troutt Receives Vanderbilt’s Distinguished Peabody Award

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Publication Date: 5/8/2009


Rhodes College President William E. Troutt received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Vanderbilt University′s Peabody College of education and human development during Commencement ceremonies Friday, May 8. Troutt also delivered the Commencement address as part of Peabody′s Diploma Awards Ceremony for students receiving master′s or doctor of education degrees.

“William Troutt is one of American higher education′s most talented leaders,” said Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Peabody. “His leadership of Belmont was simply brilliant, and now he is steadily moving Rhodes College up the ranks of national liberal arts colleges. He is an intelligent and charismatic leader and a role model for college presidents nationally.”

Troutt earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Peabody College in 1978, one year prior to Peabody′s merger with Vanderbilt. He received a  master′s degree from the University of Louisville (1972) and a bachelor′s degree from Union University (1971) in Jackson, Tenn.

In 1999, he was named president of Rhodes and under his leadership, the college implemented the Rhodes Vision, benefitted from the largest gift in its history, adopted an outcomes-based curriculum and launched the nationally-recognized Rhodes Student Associates Program. Prior to that, Troutt served for 17 years as president of Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. where he was named one of the nation’s most effective college presidents in a national study funded by the Exxon Foundation. At the time of his election to the Belmont presidency he was the youngest college president in America.

Troutt has chaired the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education, the Board of the American Council on Education, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program, which is a national fellowship program for the arts, humanities and social sciences.

In 2005, he served for a year on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Commission, which made recommendations to Congress and then-President George W. Bush for increasing the number of American undergraduate students engaged in studies internationally.

In addition, Troutt has written research articles for the Peabody Journal of Education, the Journal of Higher Education and New Directions for Institutional Research. He currently is completing a book on leadership.