Women of RMU: Robert Morris University

Women of RMU Luncheon
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"From Africa to Pittsburgh in Just 13 Moves"
Barbara Noble Howard

In apartheid-era South Africa, Barbara Noble was the first person at her nursing school to be admitted from a racially mixed or so-called "colored" family. Some patients refused to let her treat them, and one even threw a dinner at her. Then she met Chris Howard, an African-American airman who was visiting her country on a Rhodes scholarship, and her life changed dramatically.

Barbara Noble Howard shares her story of moving to America, adjusting to military life, then corporate life, then university life with her husband, plus raising a family, pursuing her education, and building her career skills in fundraising and development. All this while jumping from Texas to New Jersey to Massachusetts to Oklahoma to Virginia and several moves in between — and finally, to Pittsburgh.


Barbara Noble Howard is a native of Johannesburg, South Africa. A former nursing student, she has a bachelor's degree in organizational studies from Temple University. She is director of the Impact Young Lives Foundation and former director of development for the Honors College at University of Oklahoma.

She is on the boards of the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, the Virginia War Memorial, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Virginia Episcopal School, and also served on the board of the Moton Museum, a landmark of the school desegregation movement, and on the special subcommittee to plan observance in 2008 of the 50th anniversary of the closing of public schools in Virginia to obstruct school desegregation. Speaking engagements include the Young Presidents' Organization, several NAACP chapters, and the MLK Day keynote address at the Arthur Ashe Center in Richmond, Va.

The Howards have two sons, Cohen and Joshua. Cohen is a 2016 graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, and Joshua is a sophomore at Middlebury College.

About the Women of RMU Luncheon

Founded in 1995, the Women of Robert Morris University Luncheon & Program is designed to bring you current information of interest and provide the opportunity to network with business colleagues and other alumnae. Please join us for the Spring 2017 luncheon – and don’t forget to bring plenty of business cards. Networking opportunities abound!

Help Support the Women of RMU Scholarship Fund

Since 2004, the university has awarded a scholarship to a young woman pursuing an undergraduate degree through the Women of RMU Scholarship Fund. We appreciate all those who have already donated to this worthy cause.

You can help too. Simply add a gift to your registration fee for theluncheon and program, and we will deposit it into the Women of RMU Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Women of RMU Photo Gallery


2015 - Diane Pearson
Wealth Advisor & Shareholder, Legend Financial Advisors, Inc.
2014 - Brianne McLaughlin
Two time Olympic Silver Medalist, Women's Ice Hockey
2013 - Vered Birmaher, M.D.
Psychiatrist & Program Director, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship