Grinnell Alum to Retire from Drake Presidency

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2014 5:17 pm

David Maxwell ’66, president of Drake University since 1999, has announced his plan to retire on June 30, 2015.

Maxwell graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in Russian area studies and received his master’s and doctorate from Brown University.

At Drake, he has worked on fundraising and admission and has continued to write and present professional papers. Last year, Maxwell brought the Tom Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement to the Des Moines university.     

Maxwell served as director of the National Foreign Language Center in Washington, D.C. He served as the president of Whitman College from 1989 to 1993, and taught Russian language and literature at Tufts University from 1971 to 1989. He also served as the university’s dean of undergraduate studies starting in 1981.

Maxwell has had adventures outside of education. In 2011, David Maxwell summited Mount Kilimanjaro with Drake’s football team and engaged in service projects in Tanzania. The son of famed jazz trumpeter Jimmy Maxwell, David plays blues guitar.