President Jonathan Brand's Biography
Jonathan Brand has been president of Cornell College since July 2011. He holds a law degree from Cornell University, a master's degree in French literature from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor's degree in history and French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
During the past three years, Cornell has completed a comprehensive strategic plan (which includes revised educational priorities and outcomes for all students as well as curricular enhancements), renovated the Thomas Commons (Cornell’s campus center), opened the McLennan Center in Chicago, launched the Center for the Literary Arts (and the Dana Emerging Writer Fellow), commenced a renovation of four first-year student residence halls, and upgraded several exterior athletic spaces. President Brand teaches in the Politics Department; participates with students, faculty, and staff in a wide range of college activities; and travels extensively to meet with alumni and friends of Cornell. In addition, President Brand works closely with the college’s board of trustees. He and his wife, Rachelle LaBarge, are also engaged in the community and the region.
Brand has written articles and columns for higher education publications, including the Chronicle of Higher Education, and has spoken at conferences sponsored by the NCAA and the Council of Independent Colleges, among others.
Before coming to Cornell, he served as President of Doane College in Crete, Neb. for six years and as Vice President of Institutional and Budget Planning and Special Assistant and Counsel to the President at Grinnell College for seven years.
While president of Doane, Brand successfully oversaw record enrollment, the completion of a $45 million fundraising campaign, the renovation and construction of multiple buildings, the addition of majors in biochemistry and journalism, the creation of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and a reduction in the faculty teaching load across the institution.
In addition to his administrative work, Brand has taught courses on political science and constitutional law at Grinnell, Doane and Nanjing University in China. He will also occasionally teach courses at Cornell.
Brand has been involved with the Center for Law and Society’s Mock Trial program at Cornell, and served as a judge at the regional tournament hosted by Cornell in February. He has practiced with the college’s track and cross-country teams, as well. Brand is an avid runner, competing in 11 marathons.
He is a member of the board of directors of the Putney Open Door Fund, which offers scholarship support for economically disadvantaged high school students so that they can participate in summer community service, academic enrichment, and travel programs worldwide, and has led the annual fundraising for the Iowa Peace Institute, a non-profit organization committed to alternative dispute resolution.
Brand and LaBarge have two children, Madeleine, age 18, and Ethan, age 17.