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.

In his first year at Cornell, he’s overseen strategic planning, preparations for renovations of the Thomas Commons as well as the opening of the McLennan Center in Chicago, the creation of the Center for the Literary Arts, and planning for the transition from nine to eight terms a year. In addition, he has worked closely with the college’s board of trustees, met with students, faculty, and staff, and traveled extensively to meet Cornell alumni. He and his wife, Rachelle LaBarge, are also becoming connected to 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 16, and Ethan, age 14.