John S. Pistole

John S. Pistole became President of Anderson University (Anderson, Ind.) on March 1, 2015, the fifth person in the 100-year history of the University to serve as president.

Pistole earned his bachelor’s degree, cum laude from Anderson University in 1978. He went on to earn a juris doctorate from the Robert H. McKinney School of Law at Indiana University before going into practice for two years. During his undergraduate years at Anderson University, Pistole was involved in a wide range of university activities, including the Center for Public Service, Tri-S (Serve, Study, Share), and men’s varsity basketball and tennis teams. He and his wife Kathy, also a 1978 AU Alum, recently went on a Tri-S student mission trip to Uganda.

In 1983, Pistole began his 26-year career with the FBI and served in Minneapolis, New York, Indianapolis, Boston, and FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C. on multiple assignments. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Pistole was placed in charge of the FBI’s counterterrorism (CT) program, eventually becoming the FBI’s Executive Assistant Director for national security (CT and Counterintelligence). In 2004, Pistole was named Deputy Director for the FBI and served for nearly six years, working closely with Director Robert Mueller to help transform the FBI into a proactive, national security agency with law enforcement and intelligence community authorities and responsibilities. In March 2006, Pistole was awarded the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive. In 2007, Pistole received the Department of Justice Edward H. Levi Award for Outstanding Professionalism and Exemplary Integrity. In 2010, he was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal by the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

Also in 2010, President Obama nominated Pistole as Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). He was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Under Pistole, the TSA moved from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to become a risk-based, intelligence driven agency which has changed the way millions of people fly every year. Risk-Based Security, or RBS, is best known through TSA’s Pre-Check, a known and trusted traveler initiative. In his role as Administrator of the TSA, Pistole led a 60,000-strong workforce and the security operations of more than 450 airports throughout the United States, while engaging international partners extensively. He served as Administrator for 4 ½ years, and remains the longest-serving Administrator.

In 2006, Anderson University honored Pistole with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. In 2009, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Robert H. McKinney School of Law at Indiana University. He serves on the ODNI Senior Advisory Group and the Homeland Security Experts Group (HSEG). In January 2020, he began serving on the Board of Visitors for the National Intelligence University. He also serves as an Advisor for several companies, primarily dealing with national security and/or aviation matters. Locally, he serves on the Boards of the Madison County Community Foundation and Ascension St. Vincent Anderson Northeast Regional Hospital.

Pistole and his wife Kathy Harp, also a 1978 AU alum, were married in 1979 and have two adult daughters. He is a blessed man!

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, December 29, 2020