Nayef H. Samhat, the 11th president of Wofford College, is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He holds a B.A. in international affairs from The George Washington University's School of International and Public Affairs, a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University.
Samhat came to Wofford in July 2013 after serving as provost and professor of political science and international studies at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Prior to his time at Kenyon, he was the Frank B. and Virginia B. Hower Associate Professor of Government and International Studies and an associate dean at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.
Since taking office at Wofford, Samhat has led the college through a strategic visioning process, five major construction projects, the re-evaluation of the general education curriculum, an assessment of and recommitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus, SACSCOC reaccreditation, new marketing and branding initiatives, the start of a comprehensive capital campaign, and many other plans, programs, and grants designed to build community, boost sustainability, champion the liberal arts, and enhance the educational experience for students.
He serves on the executive committee of the Annapolis Group of Liberal Arts Colleges. Past national service includes the boards of the Council of Independent Colleges national board of directors, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and the NCAA Division I board of directors and board of governors, which also included service on the NCAA Division I Presidential Forum and as a mentor for the NCAA Pathway Program.
On January 24, 2018, Samhat gave the opening plenary address at the American Conference of Academic Deans, 7th Annual Deans' Institute, held in Washington, D.C.
His academic interests include international relations theory, international political economy, and the politics of the Middle East, especially international relations in the Middle East. He has contributed articles, papers, reviews, and essays on these and other topics. Samhat is also a staunch advocate of the liberal arts educational experience and has been a national presenter, panelist and commentator on the subject.
Samhat is married to Prema Samhat. They have three daughters, Alia, Jehan, and Leila.