Drake University’s President Is Cooler Than Your University’s President

Because Drake’s president is a blues guitarist. Also, his father played the trumpet solo in the theme song to The Godfather.

1. Here’s President David Maxwell earning his unofficial degree in suave bluesmanship.

If it were a real degree, it would complement his Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures.
On the sax: Jazz saxophonist Dick Oatts.

2. Here’s Maxwell performing a tribute to his father, Jimmy Maxwell, with members of the Turner Center Jazz Orchestra at Drake University.

Jimmy Maxwell played trumpet in NBC’s “The Tonight Show” band, performed the trumpet solo on “The Godfather” movie theme, toured with Benny Goodman’s band, and gigged with a crazy number of big-name jazz artists like Woody Herman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Oliver Nelson, Gerry Mulligan, Maynard Ferguson, and Quincy Jones.

3. Here’s President Maxwell channeling Johnny Cash. Track: “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Electric guitar: David Maxwell, president of Drake University.
Acoustic guitar, vocals: Jay Byers, CEO of The Greater Des Moines Partnership.
*Clarification: Neither of these men shot anyone in Reno.

4. Here Maxwell borrows from the pages of legendary blues musicians during a photo shoot for Drake’s magazine.

Wait for it…
Wait for it…

6. Bonus: The Godfather theme, featuring Jimmy Maxwell.

When someone offers you the chance to solo during the theme for a Francis Ford Coppola movie, that’s an offer you can’t refuse.

7. In summary, President Maxwell is too cool for school.

(Unless that school is Drake University.)

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