President Jonathan Brand's Biography & CV
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 ten years, Cornell has completed a comprehensive strategic plan which includes revised educational priorities and outcomes for all students as well as curricular enhancements (2013-2019 and 2021), completed a new framework for Cornell's core curriculum, launched a new 10-block "flex" academic calendar in light of COVID-19, launched new academic programs in Behavioral Neuroscience, Engineering Sciences, and Business, launched an MFA in Creative Writing program, initiated the Cornell Summer Research Institute, launched the One Course Summer Institute, renovated the Thomas Commons (Cornell’s campus center), renovated its four first-year student residence halls, launched the Center for the Literary Arts (and the Dana Emerging Writer Fellow), completed construction of the Russell Science Center, renovated West Science Hall as well as two floors in Law Hall, restored the College's second oldest building—McLennan College Hall, upgraded several athletic spaces, and launched the renovation and expansion of Cornell's primary athletics facility. President Brand teaches in the Department of Politics; 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 on higher education, including a chapter in the book: Making College Better: Views from the Top as well as articles and columns in the Chronicle of Higher Education and The Huffington Post. He has also 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 also teaches at Cornell.
Brand has been involved with the Center for Law and Society’s Mock Trial program at Cornell, and has served as a judge at the regional tournament hosted by Cornell. He practices with the college’s track and cross-country teams, as well. Brand is an avid runner, competing in 12 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 adult children, Madeleine, and Ethan.