Biography of Nayef H. Samhat

President Nayef Samhat congratulates graduates

Nayef H. Samhat

Updated September 27, 2019

Nayef H. Samhat, the 11th president of Wofford College, is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He holds a B.A. in international affairs from 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, three 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 dozens of 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 Council of Independent Colleges national board of directors. Past national service includes the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and the NCAA Division I board of directors, which also included service as chair of the NCAA Division I Presidential Forum post-college experience sub-group and as a mentor for the NCAA Pathway Program.

On Jan. 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.