John McCardell Jr. was appointed the 16th vice-chancellor and president of the University of the South in 2010. He is a distinguished historian, a national leader in liberal arts education, and a respected figure in the public discussion about higher education and student life.
McCardell is the author of The Idea of a Southern Nation, developed from his Ph.D. dissertation, as well as many essays, chapters, articles, and book reviews. His specialty is U.S. history in the 19th century with emphasis on the South and on American historiography.
McCardell joined the history faculty at Middlebury College in 1976 and held a number of administrative posts, including provost and vice president for academic affairs, before being named president in 1992. He served as chairman of the NCAA Division III Presidents' Council and led a comprehensive reform effort. In 2007 he founded Choose Responsibility, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage the public in informed and dispassionate debate about the effects of legislation mandating a legal drinking age of 21. In 2008 he co-sponsored the Amethyst Initiative, a statement signed by 135 college and university presidents that challenges the effectiveness of current drinking-age laws.
A graduate of Washington and Lee University, he did his graduate work at The Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University, where he received a Ph.D. in history.