College Presidents For Gun Safety

College Presidents for Gun Safety logo

College Presidents for Gun Safety was an advocacy initiative launched by Oglethorpe University President Larry Schall following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012. President Schall drafted an open letter calling for our nation’s government to enact stricter gun laws and to increase consumer safety standards. His letter garnered the support of more than 360 college presidents across the country and the attention of the media and national leaders in Washington.

An Open Letter to Our Nation’s Policy Leaders 

December 19, 2012 

On the same day our nation learned in horror that 20 first graders and six educators were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School, young people around the country were learning if they had been accepted to their favored colleges and universities. For many years now, our nation’s leaders have engaged in fevered debates on higher education, yet lawmakers shy away from taking action on one issue that prevents thousands of young people from living lives of promise, let alone realizing their college dreams. That issue is gun safety. 

Among the world’s 23 wealthiest countries, 80% of all gun deaths occur in the United States and 87% of all children killed with guns are killed here ¹. In 2010, 2,694 young people were killed by gunfire. 1,773 were victims of homicide; 67 were elementary school-age children. If those children and teens were alive today, they would fill 108 classrooms of 25 each ²

We are college and university presidents. We are parents. We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We urge both our President and Congress to take action on gun control now. As a group, we do not oppose gun ownership. But, in many of our states, legislation has been introduced or passed that would allow gun possession on college campuses. We oppose such laws. We fully understand that reasonable gun safety legislation will not prevent every future murder. Identification and treatment of the mental health issues that lie beneath so many of the mass murders to which we increasingly bear witness must also be addressed. 

As educators and parents, we come together to ask our elected representatives to act collectively on behalf of our children by enacting rational gun safety measures, including: 

• Ensuring the safety of our communities by opposing legislation allowing guns on our campuses and in our classrooms 

• Ending the gun show loophole, which allows for the purchase of guns from unlicensed sellers without a criminal background check 

• Reinstating the ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons along with high-capacity ammunition magazines 

• Requiring consumer safety standards for all guns, such as safety locks, access prevention laws, and regulations to identify, prevent and correct manufacturing defects 

The time has long since passed for silence and inaction on the issue of reasonable and rational gun safety legislation. We hereby request that our nation’s policy leaders take thoughtful and urgent action to ensure that current and future generations may live and learn in a country free from the threat of gun violence. 


Lawrence M. Schall, Oglethorpe University (GA) 

Elizabeth Kiss, Agnes Scott College (GA) 

Robert A. Scott, Adelphi University (NY)

Raymond E. Crossman, Adler School of Professional Psychology (IL)

James Gozzo, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (NY)

Donna Randall, Albion College (MI)

Lex McMillan, Albright College (PA)

James H. Mullen, Jr., Allegheny College (PA)

Jerry D. Durham, Allen College (IA)

Jeff Abernathy, Alma College (MI)

Tom Flynn, Alvernia University (PA)

Mary Meehan, Alverno College (WI)

Molly Corbett Broad, American Council on Education (DC)

Neil Kerwin, American University (DC)

Biddy Martin, Amherst College (MA)

James Edwards, Anderson University (IN)

David Seyle, Andrew College (GA)

Jack P. Calareso, Anna Maria College (MA)

Francesco Cesareo, Assumption College (MA)

Steven Bahls, Augustana College (IL)

Rebecca Sherrick, Aurora University (IL)

Marjorie Hass, Austin College (TX)

Ron Slepitza, Avila University (MO)

Leonard Schlesinger, Babson College (MA)

JoAnn Gora, Ball State University (IN)

Leon Botstein, Bard College (NY)

Debora Spar, Barnard College (NY)

Mitchel B. Wallerstein, Baruch College – The City University of New York (NY)

Linda M. Bevilacqua, Barry University (FL)

Clayton Spencer, Bates College (ME)

Mary Hawkins, Bellevue University (NE)

William J. Carroll, Benedictine University (IL)

Elizabeth Coleman, Bennington College (VT)

Roger H. Brown, Berklee College of Music (MA)

Scott D. Miller, Bethany College (WV)

Gen. Charles C. Krulak, Birmingham Southern College (AL)

Miriam Pride, Blackburn College (IL)

Richard A. Levao, Bloomfield College (NJ)

Barry Mills, Bowdoin College (ME)

Frederick M. Lawrence, Brandeis University (MA)

Ed Schrader, Brenau University (GA)

Larry Hostetter, Brescia University (KY)

Kristin King, Bryn Athyn College (PA)

Jane McAuliffe, Bryn Mawr College (PA)

John Bravman, Bucknell University (PA)

Aaron Podolefsky, Buffalo State – The State University of New York (NY)

Christine Plunkett, Burlington College (VT)

James M. Danko, Butler University (IN)

Nancy H. Blattner, Caldwell College (NJ)

Stephen Beal, California College of the Arts (CA)

Steven Lavine, California Institute of the Arts (CA)

Joseph L. Subbiondo, California Institute of Integral Studies (CA)

Daniel Lowery, Calumet College of St. Joseph (IN)

Deborah C. Jackson, Cambridge College (MA)

Maureen F. Curley, Campus Compact (MA)

John L. Cox, Cape Cod Community College (MA)

James P. Loftus, Cardinal Stritch University (WI)

Mary Hines, Carlow University (PA)

Faye Pappalardo, Carroll Community College (MD)

J. Randall O’Brien, Carson-Newman College (TN)

Gregory Woodward, Carthage College (WI)

B. David Rowe, Centenary College (LA)

Barbara-Jayne Lewthwaite, Centenary College (NJ)

Mark L. Putnam, Central College (IA)

Greg P. Smith, Central Community College (NE)

John Roush, Centre College (KY)

Esther L. Barazzone, Chatham University (PA)

Carol Jean Vale, Chestnut Hill College (PA)

Michele Nealon-Woods, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (CA)

John Smarrelli Jr., Christian Brothers University (TN)

Henry Nehemiah Tisdale, Claflin University (SC)

Deborah A. Freund, Claremont Graduate University (CA)

Pamela Brooks Gann, Claremont McKenna College (CA)

Robert Walton, Claremont University Consortium (CA)

Carlton E. Brown, Clark Atlanta University (GA)

James Phifer, Coe College (IA)

Robert Wyatt, Coker College (SC)

William D. Adams, Colby College (ME)

Marvin A. McMickle, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (NY)

John R. Halstead, The College at Brockport State University of New York (NY)

Darron Collins, College of the Atlantic (ME)

MaryAnn Baenninger, College of Saint Benedict (MN)

Francis Raftery, College of Saint Elizabeth (NJ)

Maryanne Stevens, College of Saint Mary (NE)

Bradley M. Gottfried, College of Southern Maryland (MD)

Jill Tiefenthaler, Colorado College (CO)

Steve Hayner, Columbia Theological Seminary (GA)

Dennison W. Griffith, Columbus College of Art & Design (OH)

Viji George, Concordia College New York (NY)

William J. Craft, Concordia College (MN)

Charles Schlimpert, Concordia University (OR)

John Johnson, Concordia University Chicago (IL)

Leo I. Higdon, Jr., Connecticut College (CT)

Elizabeth A. Fleming, Converse College (SC)

Fred Bollerer, Corcoran College of Art + Design (DC)

Jonathan Brand, Cornell College (IA)

Richard Valentine, Culver-Stockton College (MO)

Carol E. Quillen, Davidson College (NC)

Michael Mihalyo, Davis & Elkins College (WV)

Paula Rooney, Dean College (MA)

Jean Goodnow, Delta College (MI)

Dale T. Knobel, Denison University (OH)

Brian Casey, DePauw University (IN)

William G. Durden, Dickinson College (PA)

Walter M. Kimbrough, Dillard University (LA)

Timothy Lenchak, Divine Word College (IA)

Jacque Carter, Doane College (NE)

Mary B. Marcy, Dominican University of California (CA)

David Maxwell, Drake University (IA)

Vivian A. Bull, Drew University (NJ)

Charles J. Dougherty, Duquesne University (PA)

David Dawson, Earlham College (IN)

Marcia G. Welsh, East Stroudsburg University (PA)

Loren Swartzendruber, Eastern Mennonite University (VA)

Donald Eastman, Eckerd College (FL)

Carl J. Strikwerda, Elizabethtown College (PA)

Alan Ray, Elmhurst College (IL)

Lee Pelton, Emerson College (MA)

Rosalind Reichard, Emory & Henry College (VA)

J. David Arnold, Eureka College (IL)

John Ebersole, Excelsior College (NY)

Sheldon Drucker, Fairleigh Dickinson University (NJ)

Jennifer L. Braaten, Ferrum College (VA)

Richard Meyers, Fielding Graduate University (CA)

William T Abare, Flagler College (FL)

Joseph McShane, Fordham University (NY)

Dene Kay Thomas, Fort Lewis College (CO)

Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary (CA)

T. Alan Hurwitz, Gallaudet University (DC)

Keith Taylor, Gannon University (PA)

Janet Morgan Riggs, Gettysburg College (PA)

Barbara Vacarr, Goddard College (VT)

Mark Scheinberg, Goodwin College (CT)

James Brenneman, Goshen College (IN)

Sanford J. Ungar, Goucher College (MD)

John Sellars, Graceland University (IA)

Paul J. Fonteyn, Green Mountain College (VT)

Raynard S. Kington, Grinnell College (IA)

Kathleen Owens, Gwynedd-Mercy College (PA)

Joan Hinde Stewart, Hamilton College (NY)

Sue DeWine, Hanover College (IN)

Dennis Golladay, Harford Community College (MD)

Margaret Drugovich, Hartwick College (NY)

Maria M. Klawe, Harvey Mudd College (CA)

Joanne V. Creighton, Haverford College (PA)

John Bassett, Heritage University (WA)

Mark D. Gearan, Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY)

Nancy Oliver Gray, Hollins University (VA)

Br. John R. Paige C.S.C., Holy Cross College (IN)

J. Cameron West, Huntingdon College (AL)

Axel Steuer, Illinois College (IL)

Jerry Corcoran, Illinois Valley Community College (IL)

John L. Anderson, Illinois Institute of Technology, (IL)

Richard F. Wilson, Illinois Wesleyan University (IL)

Seelpa Keshvala, Ivy Tech Community College – Warsaw Campus (IN)

Thomas R. Kepple Jr., Juniata College (PA)

Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, Kalamazoo College (MI)

Jacqueline Chanda, Kansas City Art Institute (MO)

S. Georgia Nugent, Kenyon College (OH)

Charles Scriven, Kettering College (OH)

Jorge Díaz-Herrera, Keuka College (NY)

John Ryan, King’s College (PA)

Teresa L. Amott, Knox College (IL)

Candace Introcaso, La Roche College (PA)

Daniel H. Weiss, Lafayette College (PA)

Jonathan Burke, Laguna College of Art and Design (CA)

Michael T. Victor, Lake Erie College (OH)

Stephen D. Schutt, Lake Forest College (IL)

Michael B. Alexander, Lasell College (MA)

Jill Beck, Lawrence University (WI)

Joseph Moore, Lesley University (MA)

Walt Griffin, Limestone College (SC)

David Steinberg, Long Island University (NY)

Jim Collins, Loras College (IA)

Mark LaBranche, Louisburg College (NC)

David Burcham, Loyola Marymount University (CA)

Brian F. Linnane, Loyola University Maryland (MD)

Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Loyola University New Orleans (LA)

Richard L. Torgerson, Luther College (IA)

Brian Rosenberg, Macalester College (MN)

Rose Marie Kujawa, Madonna University (MI)

Donald Tuski, Maine College of Art (ME)

Jo Young Switzer, Manchester University (IN)

Brennan O’Donnell, Manhattan College (NY)

Jon C. Strauss, Manhattanville College (NY)

Joseph W. Bruno, Marietta College (OH)

David J. Fike, Marygrove College (MI)

Fred Lazarus, Maryland Institute College of Art (MD)

Judson R. Shaver, Marymount Manhattan College (NY)

Sr. Anne Munley IHM, Marywood University (PA)

Dawn Oxenaar Barrett, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MA)

Roger N. Casey, McDaniel College (MD)

James M. Dennis, McKendree University (IL)

Richard Jurasek, Medaille College (NY)

Thomas J. Gamble, Mercyhurst University (PA)

Jo Allen, Meredith College (NC)

Vinton Thompson, Metropolitan College of New York (NY)

Janis Bellack, MGH Institute of Health Professions (MA)

Ronald D. Liebowitz, Middlebury College (VT)

Alecia A. DeCoudreaux, Mills College (CA)

Rob Pearigen, Millsaps College (MS)

Neil Hoffman, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (WI)

Jay Coogan, Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MN)

Michael Macdowell, Misericordia University (PA)

Mary Ellen Jukoski, Mitchell College (CT)

Stephen D. Immerman, Montserrat College of Art (MA)

Cecilia Fitzgibbon, Moore College of Art and Design (PA)

John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., Morehouse College (GA)

Robert Franklin, Morehouse College (GA)

David Wilson, Morgan State University (MD)

John Reynders, Morningside College (IA)

Lynn Pasquerella, Mount Holyoke College (MA)

Joseph N. Benoit, Mount Marty College (SD)

Eileen Schwalbach, Mount Mary College (WI)

Christopher Blake, Mount Mercy University (IA)

Philip P. Kerstetter, Mount Olive College (NC)

Ann McElaney-Johnson, Mount St. Mary’s College (CA)

Thomas H. Powell, Mount Saint Mary’s University (MD)

Peyton Helm, Muhlenberg College (PA)

David Schleich, National College of Natural Medicine (OR)

Daan Braveman, Nazareth College (NY)

Frederik Ohles, Nebraska Wesleyan University (NE)

Noreen M. Carrocci, Newman University (KS)

David Sprouls, New York School of Interior Design (NY)

Michael A. Miller, Northland College (WI)

David L. Levinson, Norwalk Community College (CT)

Andrew P. Roth, Notre Dame College (OH)

Judith Maxwell Greig, Notre Dame de Namur University (CA)

James Conneely, Notre Dame of Maryland University (MD)

Marvin Krislov, Oberlin College (OH)

Jonathan Veitch, Occidental College (CA)

Rock Jones, Ohio Wesleyan University (OH)

Samuel Hoi, Otis College of Art and Design (CA)

Kathy A. Krendl, Otterbein University (OH)

Sandra Harper, Our Lady of the Lake College (LA)

Thomas W. Krise, Pacific Lutheran University (WA)

Thomas Manley, Pacific Northwest College of Art (OR)

Ezat Parnia, Pacific Oaks College & Children’s School (CA)

Riess Potterveld, Pacific School of Religion (CA)

Michael H. Droge, Park University (MO)

James Mellichamp, Piedmont College (GA)

Laura Skandera Trombley, Pitzer College (CA)

Paul Hennigan, Point Park University (PA)

David Oxtoby, Pomona College (CA)

Wim Wiewel, Portland State University (OR)

Thomas F. Schutte, Pratt Institute (NY)

Claude C. Lilly, Presbyterian College (SC)

Kristin Woolever, Prescott College (AZ)

James B. Dworkin, Purdue University North Central (IN)

Robert A. Gervasi, Quincy University (IL)

Eli Rabinowitz, Rabbinical Academy Mesivta Rabbi Chaim Berlin (NY)

Thomas Isherwood, Reinhardt University (GA)

John Maeda, Rhode Island School of Design(RI)

William Troutt, Rhodes College (TN)

Mordechai Rozanski, Rider University (NJ)

Zach P. Messitte, Ripon College (WI)

Gregory Dell’Omo, Robert Morris University (PA)

Thomas Curran, Rockhurst University (MO)

Donald Farish, Roger Williams University (RI)

Charles R. Middleton, Roosevelt University (IL)

Julie Scott, Rose Croix University International (CA)

John Petillo, Sacred Heart University (CT)

Rev. Jonathan DeFelice O.S.B, Saint Anselm College (NH)

Jim Dlugos, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine (ME)

Carol Ann Mooney, Saint Mary’s College (IN)

Dottie King, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (IN)

Myron F. McCoy, Saint Paul School of Theology (MO)

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Saint Peter’s University (NJ)

Br. Norman Hipps, Saint Vincent College (PA)

Janet Dudley-Eshbach, Salisbury University (MD)

Jane Gerety, Salve Regina University (RI)

Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Art Institute (CA)

Karen Lawrence, Sarah Lawrence College (NY)

Tim Summerlin, Schreiner University (TX)

Lori Bettison-Varga, Scripps College (CA)

Daniel J. Martin, Seattle Pacific University (WA)

John McCardell, Sewanee: The University of the South (TN)

Susan E. Henking, Shimer College (IL)

Fr. Kevin J. Mullen, Siena College (NY)

George Arnold, Silver Lake College of the Holy Family (WI)

Jay Keith Simmons, Simpson College (IA)

Philip A. Glotzbach, Skidmore College (NY)

Carol Christ, Smith College (MA)

Gordon Bietz, Southern Adventist University (TN)

Richard W. Phillips, Southern College of Optometry (TN)

Ronald G. Cantor, Southern Maine Community College (ME)

Paul LeBlanc, Southern New Hampshire University (NH)

Paul Mittman, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Science (AZ)

W. Richard Merriman, Jr., Southwestern College (KS)

Jake B. Schrum, Southwestern University (TX)

Colleen Perry Keith, Spartanburg Methodist College (SC)

Beverly Daniel Tatum, Spelman College (GA)

Richard P. Salmi, Spring Hill College (AL)

Richard B. Flynn, Springfield College (MA)

Joan Lescinski, St. Ambrose University (IA)

Sr. Margaret Carney, St. Bonaventure University (NY)

Andrea Lee , St. Catherine University (MN)

Donald E. Bain, St. John Fisher College (NY)

Michael Peters, St. John’s College (NM)

William L. Fox, St. Lawrence University (NY)

Tuajuanda C. Jordan, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (MD)

Joseph Urgo, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (MD)

Martha K. Shouldis, St. Vincent’s College (CT)

Virginia Schaefer Horvath, State University of New York at Fredonia (NY)

Christopher C. Dahl, State University of New York at Geneseo (NY)

Dianne Lynch, Stephens College (MO)

Kevin J. Manning, Stevenson University (MD)

Mark Cregan, Stonehill College (MA)

L. Jay Lemons, Susquehanna University (PA)

Rebecca Chopp, Swarthmore College (PA)

Jo Ellen Parker, Sweet Briar College (VA)

Nancy Cantor, Syracuse University (NY)

Susan Fuhrman, Teachers College, Columbia University (NY)

Richard Ortner, The Boston Conservatory (MA)

Judith Huntington, The College of New Rochelle (NY)

Grant H. Cornwell, The College of Wooster (OH)

Jamshed Bharucha, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (NY)

Susan Scrimshaw, The Sage Colleges (NY)

Maravene Loeschke, Towson University (MD)

R. Owen Williams, Transylvania University (KY)

Bonnie Patterson-Cammon, Trent University (LA)

James Jones, Trinity College (CT)

Dennis A. Ahlburg, Trinity University (TX)

Pat McGuire, Trinity Washington University (DC)

Bassam Deeb, Trocaire College (NY)

Nancy B. Moody, Tusculum College (TN)

Marcia Hawkins, Union College (KY)

Stephen C. Ainlay, Union College (NY)

Margaret M. McMenamin, Union County College (NJ)

Roger H. Sublett, Union Institute & University (OH)

Brian K. Blount, Union Presbyterian Seminary (VA)

Serene Jones, Union Theological Seminary (NY)

Stephen Mulkey, Unity College (ME)

Sean Buffington, The University of the Arts (PA)

Margaret Stallmeyer, Thomas More College (KY)

Beverly Hogan, Tougaloo College (MS)

G. David Gearhart, University of Arkansas (AR)

Neil Albert Salonen, University of Bridgeport (CT)

Ed Welch, University of Charleston (WV)

Thomas W. Keefe, University of Dallas (TX)

Antoine M. Garibaldi, University of Detroit Mercy (MI)

Thomas A. Kazee, University of Evansville (IN)

Walter Harrison, University of Hartford (CT)

Devorah Lieberman, University of La Verne (CA)

Jay A. Perman, University of Maryland Baltimore (MD)

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, University of Maryland of Baltimore County (MD)

Wallace D. Loh, University of Maryland College Park (MD)

Juliette B. Bell, University of Maryland Eastern Shore (MD)

Javier Miyares, University of Maryland University College (MD)

Divina Grossman, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (MA)

Donna E. Shalala, University of Miami (FL)

Richard Giese, University of Mount Union (OH)

Marc A. Johnson, University of Nevada, Reno (NV)

Danielle Ripich, University of New England (ME)

Steven H. Kaplan, University of New Haven (CT)

Peter J. Fos, The University of New Orleans (LA)

E. William Beauchamp, University of Portland (OR)

Ronald R. Thomas, University of Puget Sound (WA)

Pamela Trotman Reid, University of Saint Joseph (CT)

Diane Steele, University of Saint Mary (KS)

Stephen Privett, University of San Francisco (CA)

Helen F. Giles-Gee, University of the Sciences (PA)

Gary A. Dill, University of the Southwest (NM)

Steadman Upham, The University of Tulsa (OK)

Bobby Fong, Ursinus College (PA)

Diana Stano, Ursuline College (OH)

Mark A. Heckler, Valparaiso University (IN)

Marc Mihaly, Vermont Law School (VT)

Rev. Peter M. Donohue, Villanova University (PA)

E. Clorisa Phillips, Virginia Intermont College (VA)

Patrick E. White, Wabash College (IN)

Nathan O. Hatch, Wake Forest University (NC)

Steven L. Solnick, Warren Wilson College (NC)

Tori Haring-Smith, Washington & Jefferson College (PA)

Weymouth Spence, Washington Adventist University (MD)

Kenneth P. Ruscio, Washington and Lee University (VA)

Mitchell Reiss, Washington College (MD)

Lisa Marsh Ryerson, Wells College (NY)

John M. Dunn, Western Michigan University (MI)

Jim Richardson, Wenatchee Valley College (WA)

Ruth A. Knox, Wesleyan College (GA)

Michael Roth, Wesleyan University (CT)

Joseph N. Hankin, Westchester Community College in the State University of New York (NY)

George B. Forsythe, Westminster College (MO)

Richard H. Dorman, Westminster College (PA)

Philip G. Ryken, Wheaton College (IL)

Ronald A. Crutcher, Wheaton College (MA)

Jackie Jenkins-Scott, Wheelock College (MA)

George Bridges, Whitman College (WA)

Sharon Herzberger, Whittier College (CA)

David Sallee, William Jewell College (MO)

Kathleen Waldron, William Paterson University (NJ)

Barbara Mistick, Wilson College (PA)

Anthony DiGiorgio, Winthrop University (SC)

Benjamin Dunlap, Wofford College (SC)

Luís María R. Calingo, Woodbury University (CA)

Norman C. Francis, Xavier University of Louisiana (LA)

[397 total signatures as of 10/05/15]


(Note: Letter amended 1/15/2013 to include source citations)

¹ Richardson EG and Hemenway D. Homicide, Suicide, and Unintentional Firearm Fatality: Comparing the United States
With Other High-Income Countries. Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care 2011;70(1):238-243.

² Children’s Defense Fund,

Coverage and Reactions

Presidents Lawrence M. Schall of Oglethorpe University and Elizabeth Kiss of Agnes Scott College, both in Atlanta, Ga., released an open letter on December 19, 2012 urging gun safety legislation. It is now co-signed by more than 350 college and university presidents from across the country.

On Monday, February 4, 2013, a press event was held on Capitol Hill with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announcing his endorsement of this letter as well as the endorsements of the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the executive committee of the American Association of Universities, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and the United States Student Association.

Below is a summary of media coverage of College President for Gun Safety: