WARRICK L. CARTER, PhD
As a child, Columbia College Chicago President Warrick L. Carter learned to play the drums and quickly developed a passion for music, especially jazz—a love that has driven him to dedicate his career to the arts.
Carter became Columbia’s president in 2000, following more than 35 years of experience in higher education. As a young man, he worked his way up from assistant professor and director of bands at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, to professor of music and chairman of the division of fine and performing arts at Governors State University in Chicago, where he served from 1971 to 1984. After that, he spent 12 years at Berklee College of Music in Boston, serving as dean of faculty and then as provost/vice president of academic affairs, before moving on to a four-year term as director of entertainment arts for Walt Disney Entertainment.
At Columbia, Carter says that students and faculty are the college’s greatest strengths. Students come into the college with the message to hit the ground running, inspired by faculty members who are actively involved in the fields they teach. Carter also cites Columbia’s location in the heart of Chicago as a major benefit to students.
“Our full name is Columbia College Chicago, and that last part of our name is extremely important because that’s our campus,” he says. “We take advantage of everything that the city has to offer our students—connections with businesses in all of the industries.”
Columbia’s focus on helping students create their own body of work is another essential part of the college journey and sets Columbia apart.
“The proof that we are doing the right things is reflected in the outstanding awards our students get,” says Carter, referring to the student accomplishments showcased in this year’s annual report.
“As our students go into the work world, we want them to be prepared for all of the challenges they’ll face,” he says. “Whatever their pursuits, we want them to be ready for success. They’re ready for the world.”