The former governor of Nebraska and a former U.S. Senator, Bob Kerrey was president of the New School from 2001-2010 amidst constant rumors of returning to politics.

One of seven kids raised in a family in Lincoln, Nebraska, Kerrey earned a pharmacy degree before joining the Navy, serving as a SEAL during the Vietnam War where he was gravely injured when a grenade explosion resulted in the loss of part of his leg. Returning home in 1972, Kerrey, in partnership with his brother-in-law, founded the Grandmother's chain of restaurants and health clubs. Kerrey ran the businesses for a decade before entering the political fray. In 1982, he ran successfully for governor of Nebraska and traded up to the U.S. Senate six years later. In 1991, Kerrey entered the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. When it was clear that his chances of winning were slim he pulled out of the race. But he continued to earn respect on both sides of the political fence over the course of the '90s, spending two full terms in the Senate and racking up a fairly liberal voting record (by Nebraskan standards, at least) along the way. He left the political realm in 2001 to take up the post of New School president.

Kerry was a somewhat unorthodox choice when he was tapped for the New School job: He lacked the sort of educational credentials that typically accompany university presidents (his only degree is from pharmacy school) and his Midwestern roots made him an odd fit for a local institution like the New School. He quickly settled into the role, though, navigating the city's power establishment to beef up endowment and boost enrollment. He left the position in 2010, and he habitually mentions that he may return to politics if the timing feels right. [Image via Getty]