NAICU Presents Maryland Independent Higher Ed Executive Tina Bjarekull With 2020 Henry Paley Memorial Award

February 07, 2020

  McDaniel College (MD) President Roger Casey, NAICU President Barbara K. Mistick, Hood College (MD) President Adrea Chapdelaine, and MICUA President Sara Fidler present the 2020 Paley Award to Tina Bjarekull.
Tina Bjarekull, retired president of the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA), was presented with the 2020 Henry Paley Memorial Award during the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities’ 2020 Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day.

The Henry Paley Memorial Award recognizes an individual who embodies a spirit of unfailing service toward the students and faculty of independent colleges and universities. The recipient of this reward has set an example for all who would seek to advance educational opportunity in the United States. Henry Paley was president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York from 1975 until his untimely death in 1984.  He possessed a larger than life personality and was an important force in support of private, nonprofit colleges and universities in New York. 

“Tina Bjarekull’s dedication, talent and perseverance in service to Maryland’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities, faculty and students truly exemplify the attributes of the Paley Award,” said Barbara K. Mistick, president of NAICU.  “Beyond Maryland, Tina also has had leadership roles at the national level. The results she has achieved at the national and state level on behalf of her member institutions and the students they serve are truly remarkable and inspiring.”
  2020 Paley Award recipient Tina Bjarekull with U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and NAICU President Barbara K. Mistick.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) called Bjarekull the “voice of private, nonprofit higher education in Maryland.
“Tina was the name, the face and the voice of private, nonprofit higher education in Maryland for many years,” he said. “She has been a magnificent leader at the state and national level, a passionate advocate for quality private higher education.”

Congressman Raskin also presented Bjarekull with a Congressional proclamation citing her many accomplishments.

Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D., president of Hood College and chair of the MICUA, called Bjarekull a “master negotiator.”

“Day in day out, year after year, Tina effectively and tirelessly worked with Maryland elected officials, state secretaries, gubernatorial staff, and so many others on behalf of our students,” she said.  “Always prepared, always the diplomat, and with masterful negotiation skills, Tina rightfully earned the respect, admiration and trust of all she worked with.”

Roger N. Casey, Ph.D., president of McDaniel College (MD) and vice chair of the NAICU Board of Directors, called Bjarekull a “servant leader.”
  U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Maryland private college presidents, NAICU President Barbara K. Mistick, and MICUA staff honor 2020 Paley Award recipient Tina Bjarekull.
“Whether in Annapolis or Washington, Tina made friends, and it is not surprising why,” he said. “In a world of mounting irresponsibility, Tina kept her promises told the truth, and placed others first—she exemplified the concept of servant leadership.”

In accepting the award, Bjarekull praised the presidents and students of Maryland’s private colleges.

“What an honor it is to receive the Paley Award,” Bjarekull said.  “I know many of the previous recipients and I am humbled to be honored by NAICU with the award.  Serving the presidents and institutions of Maryland and, ultimately the students they serve was just such a rewarding opportunity.”

Bjarekull Background

Advocate, innovator and partner, Bjarekull distinguished herself, not only among her NAICU state executive colleagues, but also among federal, state and local officials.

During a time when advocates are increasingly partisan and combatant, Bjarekull conducted herself with a combination of poise and tenacity, based on both a deep conviction to the mission of independent colleges and through an ethic of hard work. She excelled at analyzing the details of legislation and promoting pragmatic solutions.

Over the past decade, Bjarekull has lead her state association colleagues in ensuring that any federal provisions that provide money to states for new higher education programs cannot be used by states to raid funds from state-based programs for private colleges or the students they serve. Even in the days before her retirement, Bjarekull was hard at work helping NAICU negotiate language to this effect in the current Higher Education Act bills under consideration in Congress. She was drafting new options and reaching out to colleagues in affected states to ensure any federal language worked for their states, institutions and students.

Under her leadership, MICUA established the Guaranteed Access Partnership Program to enable debt free college for economically disadvantaged Maryland students at MICUA member institutions. Bjarekull also established consortium programs and negotiated joint purchasing agreements to advance campus efficiencies and improve institutional effectiveness. Through her business acumen and smart fiscal management, MICUA accumulated enough reserves to purchase a building in Annapolis to house its operations.

Prior to joining MICUA, Bjarekull served as the deputy superintendent for finance at the Maryland State Department of Education and was responsible for the administration of fiscal policy, human resource management, procurement, school facilities, pupil transportation, and nutrition. Earlier in her career, Bjarekull served as assistant secretary of finance for the Maryland Higher Education Commission. She handled all fiscal issues related to state aid for public and private higher education institutions, including operating and capital budget requests and student financial aid.

Bjarekull earned an M.B.A. from Loyola University Maryland and an undergraduate degree from the University of Baltimore.

For her dedication, talent and perseverance in service to Maryland’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities, faculty and students, NAICU awards Tina Bjarekull the 2020 Henry Paley Memorial Award.

2019 David Liles Warren, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
2018 John B. Wilson, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey
2017 William E. Troutt, Rhodes College (TN)
2016 John Bassett, Heritage University (WA), Clark University (MA)
2015 Christopher B. Nelson, St. John’s College (MD)