Marvel Comics this week announced a new slate of superhero movies to be released over the next several years. You’ve got plenty of time to decide which ones you’ll see, so in the meantime let’s address the question on everyone’s mind: Which Marvel character would make the best college president? Let’s limit the search to all nonmutants who have starred or will star in a Marvel movie.
Right off the bat, you can count out Robert B. Banner, otherwise known as the Hulk. While Mr. Banner has three Ph.D.’s from the California Institute of Technology, at some point he’s bound to go berserk and lay waste to half the Faculty Senate. That’s a PR disaster.
Let’s also disqualify Natalia Romanova, also known as the Black Widow, (no experience in American higher education) and Thor (little experience with earthly institutions).
Dr. (Stephen) Strange? He’s an accomplished neurosurgeon, but some faculty members might be put off by his history in academe. After his medical career was derailed by a car accident, Dr. Strange thought too highly of himself to take a teaching job. Adjuncts will not take kindly to that, despite his mystical powers to get them tenure.
Steven Rogers, also known as Captain America. Yes, he’s a stranger to academe, but he’s a superb leader and all-around great person. Think Adm. William H. McRaven, the incoming chancellor of the University of Texas system, but trade the college degree for super strength. Unfortunately, Mr. Rogers’s extensive ties with the U.S. military might raise some eyebrows, and you don’t need the protests. Invite him to be your commencement speaker, not your president.
Carol Danvers, does. In fact, her father didn’t have enough money to send her to college, so she earned her degree through the Air Force, where she became a star pilot, then was a high-level member of NASA. But her career took a different turn when, after various interactions with an alien race, she was demoted. She responded by writing a tell-all book ripping the space agency. While her story is inspiring—she went on to save the sun, and therefore all human life—her history with institutional loyalty has troubling privacy implications. Ever heard of Ferpa?
Anthony E. Stark, also known as Iron Man. He’s got a perfect résumé, having entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at age 15 and earned several Ph.D.’s in engineering. He also has a charismatic personality and is essentially a walking R&D empire; your university would certainly get a piece of the pie. And yet, his corporate and military connections will roil students and faculty members, and Mr. Stark is too rich to care about ticking them off. Stay away.
T’Challa, also known as the Black Panther. Hailing from the African nation of Wakanda, the Black Panther knows what it means to think globally. He’s got a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Oxford and is an accomplished inventor, scientist, and politician. Considered one of the eight smartest people on earth, the Black Panther also fought apartheid in South Africa. Dare your Board of Trustees say no to that résumé?
But my choice is Super Grover !!!
He's doin' great in preschool, and should be ready on time to become EKU's 13th president.