Ladner: The Sanford saga — enough!

By BENJAMIN LADNER

Guest Columnist, The State

July 2, 2009

Governor Mark Sanford’s life and career are in a terrible tangle, and the harder he tugs on this or that thread, the more tangled they become. Some wonder whether the threads this former national GOP leader, touted as presidential material, are pulling are also unraveling the Republican Party itself.

In another time and place — say, Medieval Rome — an explanation of what happened to Sanford and what it means might have been easier: He sinned, or the devil made him do it, or his soul is being fought over by God and Satan, and he’s suffering the curse of the damned.

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About Benjamin Ladner!

September 1, 2008

Dr. Benjamin Ladner’s formal educational career began at Baylor University (B.A.), followed by Southern Seminary (B.D.), and finally his Ph.D. at Duke University. His dissertation explored the poetic and epistemological works of Elizabeth Sewell against the background of contemporary culture.

From that strong academic foundation, Ladner went on to fashion a distinguished national and international career. From early beginnings as a young assistant professor teaching philosophy and religion at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, to his leadership of the National Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, a prestigious non-profit academic organization founded by Phi Beta Kappa, the American Council on Education, and other leading academic societies. The NF worked in every state and at every educational level to improve teaching and academic quality.

His outstanding academic, management, and fundraising experience caught the attention of American University in Washington, DC, where he became president in 1994.  Dr. Ladner took hold of an institution in crisis and moved it during his tenure (1994-2005) to a place of preeminence in global education. From reorganizing the administration to setting fundraising records, from stabilizing finances to strategic planning, from improving academic quality and diversity, to boosting enrollments, Ladner’s vision and energetic refashioning of the image and quality of the university was recognized in every area of the institution.

Dr. Ladner’s commitment to international education was especially noteworthy. Under his leadership the number of students studying abroad doubled, programs and partnerships with foreign universities multiplied, and he negotiated contracts to create and manage two new American-style universities in the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria. Additionally, he undertook a program of “academic diplomacy,” which built bridges of understanding and cooperation in such difficult areas as North Korea, China, Cuba, Uzbekistan, and Iraq, to name a few.

Universities in two countries, South Korea and Uzbekistan, have recognized his work with honorary degrees.