Professor of Management, Chief Government & Community Affairs Officer
Donnie Horner accepted appointment as Chief Government & Community Affairs Officer at Jacksonville University (JU) on July 1st, 2013. He returned to JU after serving for two years as the City of Jacksonville’s first Education Commissioner, a cabinet level appointment in Mayor Alvin Brown’s administration. He has been at JU since July 1st, 2009. Previously, Horner was the Class of '61 Chair and the Distinguished Professor of Leadership Education in the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. While at the Academy, he had a joint appointment with the graduate school at the University of Maryland – College Park. From 2000-2005, Dr. Horner served as an Associate Professor and Director of the Engineering Leadership Development Program at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. While at Penn State, he held faculty status in the College of Engineering, the Department of Sociology, the Science, Technology, and Society Program, and was a faculty affiliate at Schreyer Honors College.
A native of Bressler, Pennsylvania, Horner graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Engineering, and was an Army football QB. He also received an M.S. in Transportation Systems from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University. He has taught at Christopher Newport University, Stanford, West Point, Penn State, the University of Maryland, the Naval Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School, and Jacksonville University. As an Army officer, Horner commanded units at the Platoon, Company, and Battalion levels. He served extensively overseas, including during conflict in Panama and Bosnia. Horner was appointed by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin to serve on President Clinton’s joint interagency working group to investigate sexual orientation and military service. He also worked as a futurist on the Army After Next transformation project, and served on the faculty in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point. He was appointed by Ambassador David Abshire to serve on the Advisory Council of the National Consortium for Character-Based Leadership Education. Dr. Horner has written and consulted extensively in the areas of organizational culture, leadership, and high performing teams. He appears regularly as a media analyst and edited two published volumes on leadership and human performance.
Dr. Horner has significant experience with fundraising, development, and community engagement. In 2007 while at the Naval Academy, he designed and implemented a leadership academy and outreach program to St. Benedict’s Prep, an inner city school in Newark, New Jersey. The program continues to receive national acclaim as a model for outreach to underserved minority high school students. Horner instructs for the Jacksonville Regional Political Leadership Institute, the statewide Connect Florida leadership academy, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. He authored the 2009 white paper which led to the creation of the Jacksonville Civic Council. Mayor Brown recently appointed Dr. Horner to the Board of Directors of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission, and is also a board member for the Youth Crisis Center. The Jacksonville Business Journal recognized Horner with its inaugural “Veteran of Influence” award in 2014.
Dr. Horner is married to the former Donell Iva Fryer of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Horner’s have two children: Donnie III, a U.S. Naval Academy & JU graduate (MBA), and Ashley, a graduate of The George Washington University and the College of Charleston (MA); both were Division-1 athletes.
- Stanford University, Stanford, CA
M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
M.S. in Transportation (Systems)
- United States Military Academy, West Point, NY
B.S. in General Engineering