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John M. McCardell, Jr., of The University of the South in Sewanee, TN, Named Chair of NAICU Board

February 4, 2015

John M. McCardell, Jr., vice chancellor and president of Sewanee: The University of the South, has been appointed chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).  McCardell leads a list of four new board officers and 14 new board members who assumed their responsibilities today, February 4, 2015, at the close of the 2015 NAICU Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. 

NAICU board members set the association agenda on federal higher education policy; actively encourage support of association priorities and initiatives; and oversee the organization’s financial administration.  Members serve three-year terms, while officers hold their positions for one year.

“Private higher education today faces an unprecedented combination of challenges including the deepening role of the federal government, tightening fiscal constraints, rapidly changing student demographics, technological innovation, and globalization,” said NAICU President David L. Warren, Ph.D.  “Having served on NAICU’s board for several years, John has a deep understanding of the issues our members face both in Washington, DC, and on their own campuses. The experience and leadership of John and the other new board members will be critical in the years ahead as NAICU and our members navigate this time of change and challenge for American higher education.”

McCardell succeeds Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D., president of Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, who remains on the board as immediate past chair.

"Now more than ever is a time to make the case for independent higher education and for policies that recognize its worth,” said McCardell.  “NAICU has been an influential and articulate voice in making that case and dispelling the myths that too often confuse or mislead the public. Independent colleges and universities are in fact accessible, affordable, and offer great value. I am honored to have been chosen to take a leadership role in the coming year to serve this most worthy organization in its most worthy mission."

NAICU serves as the unified national voice of private nonprofit higher education. With more than 1,000 member institutions and associations nationwide, NAICU reflects the diversity of independent higher education in the United States. Since 1976, the association has represented private nonprofit colleges and universities on policy issues with the federal government, such as those affecting student aid, taxation, and government regulation.

NAICU is the national public policy association for the nation’s private, non-profit colleges and universities.  Our 963 member institutions include major research universities, church-related colleges, historically black colleges, art and design colleges, traditional liberal arts and science institutions, women’s colleges, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, business, and other professions.  With over 3 million students attending independent colleges and universities, the private sector of American higher education has a dramatic impact on our nation’s larger public interests.

NAICU spearheads several major public initiatives, including the Student Aid Alliance, a national coalition that advocates for enhanced funding of the federal student aid programs; the University and College Accountability Network (U-CAN) consumer information website; and the nonpartisan National Campus Voter Registration Project, which engages college students in the electoral process.


Appointed the 16th vice chancellor of Sewanee in 2010, McCardell is a distinguished historian and respected national leader in liberal arts education.  He possesses a record of achievement as a scholar of the American South, as the chief executive of one of America’s finest liberal arts colleges, and as a respected national figure in the public discussion about higher education and student life.  (View bio)

As vice chancellor of Sewanee, he leads an institution of 1,700 undergraduate and graduate students, focused on the liberal arts. Sewanee offers 36 majors, 32 minors, and 15 special programs, along with pre-medicine, pre-nursing, pre-law, and pre-business. 

A Maryland native and 1971 graduate of Washington and Lee University (VA), he completed graduate work at The Johns Hopkins University (MD) and at Harvard University (MA), where he earned a Ph.D. in history in 1976.  After graduation, McCardell joined the history faculty at Middlebury College (VT) in 1976 and served as Middlebury’s president from 1992 until he stepped down in 2004. He served as chairman of the Division III Presidents’ Council of the NCAA in 2003-04 and led a successful, comprehensive reform effort. 

Other New NAICU Board Officers:

  • Marjorie Hass, Ph.D., president of Austin College in Sherman, TX, will serve as vice chair of the NAICU board of directors.  She would be in line to assume the position of chair in February 2016.
  • Kent Henning, MBA, president of Grand View University, in Des Moines, IA, has been named treasurer. 
  • Antoine Garibaldi, Ph.D., president of University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, MI, has been named secretary.

New NAICU Board Members    
Eight new members were elected to three-year terms on the NAICU board, representing the association’s eight national regions: 

  • Steven DiSalvo, Ph.D., president of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH, will represent Region I (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont). 
  • Eugene Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of St. Peter’s University, in Jersey City, NJ, will represent Region II (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York). 
  • James Hurley, Ed.D., president of University of Pikeville in Pikeville, KY, will represent Region III (Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia). 
  • Leo Lambert, Ph.D., president of Elon University in Elon, NC, will represent Region IV (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Caroline, Virginia). 
  • Dottie King, Ph.D., president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN, will represent Region V (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin). 
  • H. James Williams, Ph.D., C.MA., J.D., LL.M., president of Fisk University in Nashville, TN, will represent Region VI (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas). 
  • Frederik Ohles, Ph.D., president of Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, NE, will represent Region VII (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota). 
  • Andrew Benton, Ph.D., president of Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, will represent Region VIII (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado., Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming). 

Four presidents have been named to three-year terms as at-large members of the board: 

  • Jo Allen, Ph.D., president of Meredith College in Raleigh, NC.
  • MaryAnn Baenninger, Ph.D., president of Drew University in Madison, NJ.
  • Barry Glassner, Ph.D., president of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR.
  • Sharon Herzberger, Ph.D., president of Whittier College in Whittier, CA. 

In addition, four presidents have been named chairs of the Association’s standing committees:

  • Jennifer Braaten, Ph.D., president of Ferrum College in Ferrum, VA, will lead the Audit Committee.
  • Ken Starr, J.D., president and chancellor of Baylor University in Waco, TX, will chair the Committee on Accountability.
  • Lori Bettison-Varga, Ph.D., president of Scripps College in Claremont, CA, will lead the Committee on Policy Analysis and Public Relations.
  • Ronald Thomas, Ph.D., president of the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, will lead the Committee on Student Aid.
  • Jeffrey Docking, Ph.D., president of Adrian College in MI, will chair the Committee on Tax Policy.

In addition, Paul Cerkvenik, president of the Minnesota Private College Council, will serve a three-year term on the Board representing the National Association of Independent College and University State Executives (NAICUSE). Bill Andresen, associate vice president for federal relations at the University of Pennsylvania, will serve as an ad-hoc non-voting government relations representative for three-years ending in February 2018. 

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