Meet Punahou’s New History Teacher

President Mike Latham ’86 leads a vigorous discussion on the merits and limitations of the U.S. Constitution, with nearly every student in the AP U.S. History class offering thoughtful comments and responses to his questions.

Latham, a longtime college professor, is decidedly at ease and comfortable talking to students about a topic he knows intrinsically well, and students are hardly fazed by their teacher’s job title.

In a return to his roots, Latham decided to teach the class for two reasons. “Personally, I love being in the classroom and I love teaching,” he said. “Secondly, I think it’s really important to have this direct engagement with students. It makes me a better leader.” He describes himself as a “teacher at heart,” and said his return to the classroom has been both fun and fulfilling.

Prior to becoming Punahou’s president in 2019, Latham served as vice president for Academic Affairs and dean at Grinnell College in Iowa. Before Grinnell, he was a professor of history and dean of Fordham University’s College at Rose Hill in New York City. A widely respected scholar of U.S. history and foreign relations, Latham has also taught in China at the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing
University Center for Chinese and American Studies.

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