Mildred García-Invited Speaker


American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)

Dr. Mildred García assumed the presidency of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) on January 22, 2018.

As AASCU’s president, Dr. García is an advocate for public higher education at the national level, working to influence federal policy and regulations on behalf of member colleges and universities; serving as a resource to presidents and chancellors as they address state policy and emerging campus issues; developing collaborative partnerships and initiatives that advance public higher education; directing a strategic agenda that focuses on public college and university leadership for the 21st century; and providing professional development opportunities for presidents, chancellors, and their spouses. She is the first Latina to lead one of the six presidentially based higher education associations in Washington, D.C.

As a university president, Dr. García was an active member of AASCU. Her volunteer involvement with AASCU included chairing the AASCU Council of State Representatives; serving on the AASCU Board of Directors; chairing the Committee on International Education; serving as a Millennium Leadership Initiative Institute mentor; and delivering the Marie McDemmond Lecture and the President-to-Presidents lecture, a tradition at the AASCU Annual Meeting for more than 30 years and a signal honor given by the AASCU Board of Directors to one of their colleagues.

Prior to joining AASCU, Dr. García served as the president of California State University, Fullerton—the largest university in the CSU and the third largest university in the state, serving over 40,000 students and having an operating budget of almost half a billion dollars. Under her leadership, the university saw a 30 percent improvement in six-year graduation rates and a 65 percent improvement in four-year graduation rates for first-time freshmen—both university records; the achievement gap was eliminated for transfer students and cut in half for first-time freshmen; and annual gift commitments nearly tripled (from $8.5 million to $22 million). In 2016, for the first time in history, U.S. News & World Report heralded the institution as a top “national university,” rather than “top regional university,” the far narrower category in which it had previously been ranked. The institution is now number one in California and second in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics, as well as sixth in the nation in graduating students of color.

President García previously served as president of CSU Dominguez Hills where, as the first Latina president in the largest system of public higher education in the country, she eliminated a structural deficit of $2.8 million; increased media placement by 192 percent; received the highest reaccreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges; exceeded enrollment targets not met for eight years; increased donor giving by 140 percent; and increased retention rates for first-time full-time freshmen by 10 percent.