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President

Thomas R. Kepple, Jr., Ed.D.
President, American Academic Leadership Institute

Thomas R. Kepple is President of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI) in Washington, D.C.  AALI provides seminars and workshops; supports higher education research and publications; and consults with collegiate trustees and administrators, higher education researchers, and others on a wide range of topics related to leadership development and the successful administration of colleges and universities. 

Dr. Kepple is President Emeritus of Juniata College where he served as President from 1998 – 2013.  Prior to his appointment, he served for nine years as the vice-president for business and community relations at the University of the South and served for 14 years in various capacities at Rhodes College, including dean of administrative services and provost.

He is a 1970 graduate of Westminster College (PA), and holds a masters of business administration (’74), a doctorate in higher education (’84) from Syracuse University. Prior to obtaining the M.B.A., Kepple was the director of technical training for the Morse Division of the Borg-Warner Corporation.

As president, Kepple served as Juniata’s chief executive officer and served as a member of numerous professional and community organizations. He is the founding chair of the Tuition Plan Consortium, a national non-profit organization organized to develop and market the Private College 529 Plan a prepaid tuition plan for private colleges and universities. He served as the vice chair of Governor Rendell’s higher education transition team. Other memberships include: Brethren Colleges Abroad; Princeton Review (Advisory Board); New York Times/Chronicle of Higher Education President’s Cabinet; and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. Kepple is the founding chair of the new Landmark NCAA Division III athletic conference. In the past, he has served as an officer the following organizations: NCAA Division III Presidents Advisory Committee; Memphis Biomedical Research Zone Development Corporation; American Council on Education (Commission on International Education); Vollintine-Evergreen Community Association (President); Memphis Academic Forum (President); Memphis Public Education Fund; the Liberty Bowl Classic Committee; Franklin County Health and Education Facilities Board (Treasurer); International Society for Planning and Strategic Development (Memphis Chapter President); and Memphis Metro Tech Council. 

Kepple’s higher education memberships include: National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), and Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).  He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (Leadership), Order of Omega (service), Pi Delta Epsilon (Journalism), and Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics). He was awarded the Westminster College Outstanding Alumni Citation in October 2000. In 2011 he was awarded the honorary degree – doctor of humane letters from Elizabethtown College. Dr. Kepple served as commencement speaker for Juniata’s 2013 Commencement and was awarded his second honorary degree, doctor of humane, letters from Juniata College on May 18, 2013.

Kepple has written and spoken on many topics including prepaid tuition/529 plans, community development, value-based management systems, campus planning, energy conservation, leadership and incentive early retirement programs. He is the co-author of the book Incentive Early Retirement Programs for Faculty. He has overseen $200 million in construction and renovation on college campuses as well as the completion of the Rhodes College campus plan, and The University of the South’s 10,000-acre land-use study.

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