John Alexander, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, was born September 15, 1945. He graduated from Sewanee Military School and attended Princeton University, where he was editor of the Daily Princetonian. Alexander was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University from 1967-1969, where he earned a masters degree in politics, philosophy, and economics. He returned to the United States to accept a fellowship in doctoral English studies at Harvard, but left in 1972 to pursue a career in journalism.
Alexander worked briefly for a Charlotte newspaper before moving to Greensboro in 1975 to work as the associate editor for the Greensboro Daily News. As an employee of the Daily News, he witnessed many local demonstrations and events including the 1979 Ku Klux Klan rally. Alexander was runner-up for the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of this event and its aftermath. In 1982, he was named editor of the newly merged Greensboro News and Record. He served in this capacity until 1990, when he joined the staff of the Center for Creative Leadership. He was named the organization’s president in 1997. Alexander is also author of Ribbon of Sand: The amazing convergence of the ocean and the Outer Banks and a former board member of the NC Center for Public Policy and the Wellness Council of NC.