When Francis Hendricks took over this month as president of Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, academics and students may have felt the urge to salute.
Mr Hendricks is a former US Air Force brigadier general, one of a number of ex-military leaders being appointed to high-level positions at US universities as institutions cope with growing pressures to reform.
"The expertise we need now from a president in this transitional time for higher education isn't managing the faculty," said Ralph Meyer, chairman of the public university's governing council of trustees.
"You have a provost who can handle all the academic issues. It's the external issues - the fundraising, the community support, recruitment and retention of students, productivity.