Resources | Cohort 1 Participants | Presenters | Library

Faculty Presenters

Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor Emerita, State University of New York (SUNY)

Nancy L. Zimpher is among the most in-demand thought-leaders in higher education in the United States and around the world. From 2009 to 2017, Dr. Zimpher served as the twelfth chancellor of The State University of New York, the nation’s largest comprehensive system of public higher education. Prior to SUNY, she served as president of the University of Cincinnati, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and executive dean of the Professional Colleges and dean of the College of Education at The Ohio State University. She is the founder of the Center for Education & Social Systems Changes at the Rockefeller Institute of Government and chancellor emeritus of The State University of New York.

Rick Legon, President, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB)

Richard Legon became AGB’s fourth president in 2006 following his several assignments with the association.  Prior to joining AGB, Rick served in local and national government, as well as in national association positions.  He also served as the first fundraiser for a small college in Chicago. During his presidency, AGB has enhanced its leadership role in recognition of the heightened focus on board and institutional governance.  Rick has led the association in high profile initiatives in recent years, mostly focused on policy issues challenging higher education’s unique form of governance, as well as urging a new level of board and presidential collaboration.

Rod McDavis, Managing Principal, AGB Search and President Emeritus, Ohio University

Dr. Roderick J. McDavis became the Managing Principal of AGB Search on March 1, 2017 after serving as president of Ohio University for 13 years. Dr. McDavis is responsible for leading and managing all components of AGB Search including Executive Search, Interim Search, and Compensation Evaluation Service. In addition, he is responsible for developing new business opportunities for the firm and attending national higher education conferences to represent AGB Search. He also serves as an executive search consultant for some of the firm’s searches.

Melissa Trotta, Associate Managing Principal, AGB Search

Melissa K. Trotta, Ed.D., joined AGB Search as associate managing principal in 2017. She has spent more than 25 years in higher education administration at universities including Harvard, Georgetown, and Johns Hopkins in leadership roles that spanned admissions and enrollment, program management, executive education, and strategic planning. Dr. Trotta most recently served as a vice president at Neumann Executive Search Partners (formerly Brill Neumann Associates), where she engaged in strategic recruitment, research, business development, and client and candidate services for senior administrative and academic searches.

Jason Lane, Senior Fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government and Interim Dean, School of Education, University at Albany, SUNY

Jason E. Lane is the interim dean of the School of Education at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Rockefeller Institute of Government and the Founding Executive Director of SUNY’s Academic and Innovative Leadership (SAIL) Institute. Previously, he served as the Vice Provost and Senior Associate Vice Chancellor of the State University of New York overseeing academic planning for the 64-campus system. An accomplished education leader and noted scholar of higher education, Dean Lane’s scholarly expertise focuses on the leadership and governance of higher education.

Melinda Leonardo, Ph.D., Executive Search Consultant, AGB Search

Melinda Leonardo has a decade of experience assisting executive searches for higher education institutions including presidential and vice presidential searches for small, private colleges and universities. In her previous role as Director of Consulting Services with Academic Search, Inc. Dr. Leonardo was responsible for the firm’s marketing initiatives from initial prospective client contact, proposal submission in response to client requests, shoot-out preparation for the consultant team, to final negotiations of the award of a new search. In addition, Dr. Leonardo worked closely with the consultant team training new consultants on the critical stages of the search process.

Closing Symposium Presenters | June 2019

Carol Cartwright_photoCarol Cartwright, Former President, Bowling Green State University; AGB Senior Consultant

A highly respected voice in higher education, Carol Cartwright’s career has been distinguished by innovative teaching, pioneering research and national leadership. She was president of Bowling Green State University from 2008-2011. Her retirement in June, 2011 marked a 45-year career in public higher education. From 1991-2006, Dr. Cartwright served as president of Kent State University, a role that earned her the distinction of the first female president of a state college or university in Ohio. Currently, she is co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, serves on the board of directors for the Collegiate Women Sports Awards, and is a member of the NCAA Committee on Infractions. She is a trustee of Heidelberg University in Tiffin Ohio.

July 18, 2018 - Fardin SanaiFardin Sanai, Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of The University at Albany Foundation

Fardin Sanai was appointed UAlbany’s Vice President for University Development and Executive Director of The University at Albany Foundation in fall 2007 with oversight of all fundraising and alumni affairs functions. In 2017, the division of media and marketing was placed under Fardin’s direction and at that time, he was appointed Vice President of University Advancement.  Under his leadership, UAlbany has expanded relationships both nationally and internationally and launched the $150 million This is Our Time fundraising campaign, the largest in the University’s 175-year history.

Paul LeBlanc_photoPaul LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University 

Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc is President of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Under the 15 years of Paul’s direction, SNHU has grown from 2,800 students to over 134,000 learners and is the largest non-profit provider of online higher education in the country. The university was #12 on Fast Company magazine’s “World’s Fifty Most Innovative Companies” list and was the only university included. Forbes Magazine has listed him as one of its 15 “Classroom Revolutionaries” and one of the “most influential people in higher education.” Washington Monthly named him one of America’s ten most innovative university presidents.

Sally Mason, Executive Search Consultant, AGB Search

Sally Mason is president emerita of the University of Iowa, having served as the institution’s 20th president from August 1, 2007 to July 31, 2015. Dr. Mason served as president of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences; member of the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE); member of the executive committee of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC); member of the Board of Directors of Campus Compact, the national coalition of college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education; chair of the Iowa Coordinating Council for Post-High School Education (ICCPHSE); and co-chair of the Task Force on National Energy Policy and Midwestern Competitiveness of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Janice Fitzgerald, Executive Search Consultant, AGB Search

Janice Fitzgerald served as Chief of Staff and Deputy Chancellor for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system from 2001 to 2011.  As a part of the senior policy team for the college and university system during that time, she worked closely with the system’s governing board, the chancellor, and college/university presidents on matters of policy, procedure and practice system-wide. Prior to joining the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Ms. Fitzgerald was the founding public relations and communications director for the State System of Higher Education in Pennsylvania.

Jim McCormick, Executive Search Consultant, AGB Search

James H. McCormick is Chancellor Emeritus of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.  He began his term of office in July 2001, and concluded service to the system in 2011.  Before undertaking Minnesota leadership, Dr. McCormick was the founding chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, created July 1, 1983, and also holds the title Chancellor Emeritus there.  He was president of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania from 1973 to 1983, and was a professor and administrator for Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in the preceding eight years.

Stacey Hengsterman, President & CEO, Special Olympics New York

As President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Special Olympics New York, Stacey Hengsterman leads the largest statewide Special Olympics chapter in the country and the sixth largest in the world. Special Olympics New York serves more than 67,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training and athletic competition that ranges from the local to international level. The organization also partners with nearly 150 schools statewide to offer unified sports, where students with and without intellectual disabilities compete on a level playing field, and incorporates health screenings for its athletes at all major events – all at no cost to its athletes, their families, or caregivers.

Gail Mellow, President, LaGuardia Community College

Since 2000, Dr. Gail O. Mellow has served as President of LaGuardia Community College in Queens, which educates more than 50,000 New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. Under her tenure, LaGuardia has become a catalyst for economic development, providing hands‐on education and specialized technical assistance to thousands of employers that have secured them over $500 million dollars in contracts. Under her leadership, a partnership between LaGuardia and Goldman Sachs was formed to launch 10,000 Small Businesses in New York, an initiative to help entrepreneurs grow. She is a community college graduate, and holds a PhD from George Washington University.

Scott Jaschik, CEO & Co-Founder, Inside Higher Ed

Scott Jaschik is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards.

Scott Cowen, President Emeritus and Distinguished University Chair, Tulane University

Scott Cowen is President Emeritus and Distinguished University Chair of Tulane University and the author, most recently, of Winnebagos on Wednesdays: How Visionary Leadership Can Transform Higher Education. He served as Tulane’s 14th president from July 1998 through June 2014 and has been named one of the top college presidents in the nation by TIME Magazine. Newsweek twice declared Tulane, under his leadership, one of the “Hottest Schools in America.” Dr. Cowen is the recipient of several national awards, including the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award and the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education.

Christine W. Fitzgibbons, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Special Olympics New York

Christine W. Fitzgibbons recently joined Special Olympics New York as the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives to oversee resource and partnership development. Prior to that, Christine was the Director of Strategic Development for SUNY System Administration and the founding Executive Director of the SUNY Impact Foundation that raises support for system-wide initiatives. Just last year, she was included in City and State New York’s Responsible 100 Honorees. Christine began her career in consulting and equity research in Hong Kong and New York before transitioning her career to non-profit fundraising while raising her four children.

Morgan Hook, Managing Director, SKDKnickerbocker

Morgan has a deep understanding of the intersection of press, politics and policy that is critical to navigating electoral and legislative campaigns. He helped launch SKDKnickerbocker’s Albany, New York, office in November 2011, after serving as a senior communications manager in New York and working as an award-winning television journalist in media markets across the country. Since joining SKDK, Morgan has provided strategic media advice for a variety of clients in New York and has successfully advocated for clients in the areas of the environment, health care and education, among others.

Laura Figueroa Ware, President/Head of Strategy & Content, Flying Crow Creative

Laura Ware is president of Flying Crow Creative, a boutique brand and marketing consultancy that helps established organizations become market leaders. She is a veteran of the communications industry, with more than 20 years of experience in branding, marketing and public relations. With a passion for analysis, strategy and innovation, she works with businesses to identify and leverage their competitive advantage. As an experienced writer and creative director, she has spearheaded the development of impactful, award-winning initiatives. She has spoken at numerous workshops on marketing and public relations, and she taught continuing education classes on branding and storytelling at Georgetown University.

Opening Symposium Presenters | January 2019

Merrill Schwartz, Senior Vice President, AGB Consulting, Association of Governing Boards (AGB)

Dr. Merrill Schwartz is the senior vice president for AGB Consulting. Her primary responsibilities include managing a consulting practice of governance experts serving AGB member colleges, universities, systems, and foundations. As a member of AGB’s leadership team, she contributes to achieving the organization’s strategic goals. Previously, Dr. Schwartz served as the director of research for AGB and was responsible for conducting research on and writing about trusteeship, governance, and the academic presidency.

Elizabeth Burns, President, Marygrove College

Elizabeth A. Burns, MD, MA, currently serves as the ninth President of Marygrove College, located in Detroit, Michigan.  Prior to her appointment as President, she served as Interim Provost at Marygrove.  She retired in July 2015 as Associate Dean for Faculty and Clinical Affairs and Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education/DIO at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  From 2008 to 2012, she served as President and CEO of the Michigan State University Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies, which merged into the WMU Stryker School of Medicine in 2012.

Havidán Rodríguez, President, University at Albany, SUNY

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez took office as the University at Albany’s 20th president in September 2017. Before coming to UAlbany, Dr. Rodríguez was the founding provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). A scholar who studies the socioeconomic impacts of disasters and the economic well-being of minority populations in the United States and Puerto Rico, he formerly directed the University of Delaware’s acclaimed Disaster Research Center, the world’s first research center devoted to studying the complex social problems that result from natural and technological disasters and other community-scale crises. Rodríguez is also a national leader in the area of diversity and inclusion in higher education.

Julieta Garcia, President Emerita, University of Texas at Brownsville

Dr. Juliet V. García has devoted her life’s work to public service and has become a national thought leader in higher education innovation. Named the first female Mexican-American president of a US college or university in 1986, Dr. Garcia spearheaded the creation of The University of Texas at Brownsville in 1991 and formed a unique partnership with the local community college that consolidated the fiscal, physical and human resources of both institutions. Dr. Garcia has served on the transition teams for two US Presidents, was a member of The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and chaired the Advisory Committee to Congress on Student Financial Assistance and the American Council of Education (ACE).

Sally Mason, President Emerita, University of Iowa; AGB Search Executive Search Consultant

Dr. Sally Mason is president emerita of the University of Iowa, having served as the institution’s 20th president from 2007 to J 2015.  Dr. Mason has held many leadership positions in higher education and national organizations, including president of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences; member of the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE); member of the executive committee of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC); and member of the Board of Directors of Campus Compact, the national coalition of college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education.

Dennis Jones, President Emeritus, NCHEMS

Mr. Jones has nearly 50 years of experience in research, development, technical assistance, and administration in the field of higher education management and policy-making. A member of the NCHEMS staff since 1969, he assumed increasing levels of responsibility within that organization, becoming president in 1986. Under his leadership, and in collaboration with an extraordinarily talented staff, NCHEMS has achieved a position of preeminence as a leader in the development and promulgation of information-based approaches to policy-making in higher education.

José Cruz, President, Lehman College CUNY

José Luis Cruz began his tenure as the third president of the Herbert H. Lehman College of The City University of New York on August 15, 2016. Previously, President Cruz served as provost of California State University, Fullerton. He is a former vice president of Higher Education Policy and Practice at The Education Trust in Washington, D.C. and a former vice president of Student Affairs for the University of Puerto Rico system. He began his career as a faculty member in engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, rising through the ranks and serving as chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and dean of Academic Affairs.

Anthony Barbar, Trustee, Florida Atlantic University

As President and CEO of Barbar & Associates, a strategic advisory firm, Anthony Barbar has over 40 years of experience structuring and executing on complex transactions. He has spearheaded the acquisition, planning, designing, financing, development and sales of several large upscale residential communities and commercial mixed-use projects in the region. His work with academic institutions includes appointments to the Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University (2008-Present; Chairman 2013-Present) and Palm Beach Atlantic University Board of Trustees (2000-2012).

James Shea, Managing Partner, Venable

Jim Shea, Venable’s past chair, maintains an active practice focusing on corporate litigation. A member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, he tries cases in both federal and state systems throughout the country. Jim offers aggressive, thorough corporate counseling, litigation management and trial work. Supported by a highly efficient staff, he regularly handles very large, complex matters.He has also represented financial institutions, sports franchises, professional service firms and pharmaceutical companies in various commercial matters.

Shannon McCambridge, Executive Search Consultant, AGB Search

Shannon McCambridge, J.D., LL.M brings many years of experience in higher education governance and employment law to AGB Search. Ms. McCambridge served four terms on the Board of Trustees of Gonzaga University, where she now serves as trustee emerita. As a trustee, she served on many board committees, chairing both the Academic Policy Committee and the Governance Committee for many years. Ms. McCambridge currently serves on the Legal Committee, the Long-term Planning Committee, and the Committee on Trustees and Governance. During her trusteeship, she helped draft and implement a number of best practices for Gonzaga including its first New Trustee Orientation Program.

Charles Shorter, Trustee, City University of New York (CUNY)

Charles A. Shorter is a former Executive Director at Ernst & Young in the firm’s Real Estate Advisory practice, specializing in Public-Private Partnerships nationally and internationally.  He currently advises developers, educational institutions, and public agencies. Shorter is currently a Trustee with the City University of New York (CUNY), where he sits on the Facility and Planning Committee and the Committee on Academic Policy, Programs and Research.  He was previously a Board Member at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), and currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board for AGB Search.

Joyce Roché, President & CEO, Girls Incorporated

Joyce Roche is the author of The Empress Has No ClothesConquering self-doubt to embrace Success and was President and CEO of Girls Inc., a national nonprofit research, education and advocacy organization in New York until her retirement in 2010. Before joining Girls Inc., Ms. Roché served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Carson Products Company, and Vice President of Global Marketing at Avon Products, Inc. While at Avon, Ms. Roché broke new ground, becoming Avon’s first African American female vice president, the first African American vice president of marketing, and the company’s first vice president of global marketing.

Charlene Reed, Vice President and University Secretary, Kent State University

Dr. Charlene K. Reed, PhD, serves as Secretary to the Board of Trustees and Senior Assistant to the President at Kent State University. Previously, Dr. Reed served as Assistant Dean for Administration and Strategic Initiatives and Assistant Professor of Education and Assistant to the President at The University of Akron. She has more than 20 years experience in university administration, with concentrations in institutional governance, finance, planning and resource development. Dr. Reed has played an active role in academic program development and review, serving on self-study teams for regional accreditations and the accreditation of teacher education, and as a member of an institutional academic policy committee. 

Aristide Collins, Vice President/Chief of Staff/Secretary, George Washington University

Aristide J. Collins, Jr. is a Vice President, Chief of Staff to the President, and Secretary of the University at The George Washington University, where he manages the offices of the president and the board of trustees and serves as the administrative liaison between the trustees and university leadership. He also served as Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations during the public phase of “Making History,” GW’s first billion dollar fundraising campaign, which exceeded its goal ahead of its target. He has a faculty appointment in the department of higher education administration in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Brian Steeves, Executive Director & Corporate Secretary, Board of Regents, University of Minnesota

Brian Steeves serves as executive director of the Board of Regents and corporate secretary of the University of Minnesota. This dual role is a unique leadership position of significant importance to the Board. Since the position was created in 1972, it has evolved to become a key adviser to each Board member, as well as to Board leadership, and also an advocate for good governance practices. The position serves as a liaison between the Board and senior leaders of the University, coordinates Board planning and communications with Regents, oversees Board of Regents policy review, and manages meeting logistics and day-to-day Board operations.

Fred Moore, Executive Search Consultant, AGB Search

Fred Moore joined AGB Search in 2017, after serving as president of Buena Vista University (BVU) for 22 years. During his tenure, the institution reached new heights in academic quality, fundraising success, program development, financial strength, and facilities construction. In 2017, the institution named him president emeritus and awarded him an honorary doctorate. Prior to his service at BVU, Mr. Moore served as vice president for development and general counsel at North Carolina Wesleyan College. He has also practiced law and has experience as a marketing executive and financial analyst in private industry.

Thomas Layzell, Executive Search Consultant, AGB Search

Prior to joining AGB Search in September 2017, Mr. Thomas Layzell served as an advisor to the Louisiana Board of Regents, as Interim President of the University of Louisiana System, and as an advisor to the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. Mr. Layzell also served as President of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education from 2003 to 2007 and as Mississippi’s Commissioner of Higher Education from 1995 to 2003.  An Illinois native, he has served as Chancellor of the Illinois Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities (1985-1995), Deputy Executive Director and Treasurer of the Board of Governors (1976-1984), and as Executive Director of the Board (1984-1985).

Ron Parker, Trustee, Texas Christian University

Ronald C. Parker is the former President/CEO of The Executive Leadership Council (ELC), an organization representing global black CEOs, senior executives and corporate board members of Fortune 1000 and global 500 organizations. During his tenure , the organization achieved outstanding growth in several strategic areas including membership, corporate partnership, and program development. He is most noted for the creation of the NextGen CEO Academy, powered by Deloitte; the creation of the C-Suite Academy, developed in partnership with McKinsey; and for guiding the Corporate Board Initiative, yielding a significant increase in the number of black executives serving on the boards of Fortune 1000 companies.

CeCe Foxley, Former Utah Commissioner of Higher Education and CEO to the State Board of Regents; Executive Search Consultant, AGB Search

After having served for over 10 years as Commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education and Chief Executive Officer to the State Board of Regents, Dr. Cecelia (“Cece”) H. Foxley completed a three-year Regents Professorship in the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Utah. Prior to her appointment to the position of Commissioner, she served as the Deputy Commissioner, and the Associate Commissioner for Academic Affairs.  Her institutional experience includes faculty and administrative positions at Utah State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Minnesota.

Tim Killeen, President, University of Illinois

Timothy L. Killeen took office as the 20th president of the University of Illinois on May 18, 2015, bringing more than three decades of experience as an educator, researcher, and administrator in public higher education and in leadership positions with national scientific research agencies.In the first months of his presidency, Killeen led the development of an ambitious new Strategic Framework to guide the U of I System and its universities in Chicago, Springfield, and Urbana-Champaign. The roadmap sets high-aspiration goals to make the U of I a model for higher education in the 21st century, and build on its rich legacy of service to students, innovation, and economic growth.