Austin College President Marjorie Hass Named Chair of NAICU Board

February 03, 2016

Marjorie Hass, Ph.D., president of Austin College in Sherman, TX, has been appointed chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). Hass leads a list of four new board officers and 14 new board members who assumed their responsibilities today at the close of the 2016 NAICU Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

NAICU board members set the association’s 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.

“A stagnant economy, rapidly changing demographics, and tightening fiscal constraints are among the unprecedented challenges facing private higher education today,” said NAICU President David L. Warren, Ph.D. “An outspoken advocate for the critical role a liberal arts education plays in our society, Marjorie has a deep understanding of the issues our members face nationally and on their own campuses. Marjorie’s experience and leadership, in combination with the other new board members, will be critical over the next 12 months as NAICU and our members navigate this period of change and challenge for American higher education.”

“NAICU’s mission of ensuring that students can access high quality education is vital,” said Hass.  “An educated citizenry drives democracy and strong economic growth. I am pleased to be able to work with my fellow presidents from across the country in support of these values.”

Hass succeeds John M. McCardell, Jr., Ph.D., vice chancellor and president of Sewanee: The University of the South, who remains on the board as immediate past chair.

NAICU is the national public policy association for the nation’s private, non-profit colleges and universities. Since 1976, the association has focused on policy issues with the federal government, such as student aid, taxation, and government regulation. Its 964 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. 

Marjorie Hass

In July 2009, Hass became the 15th president of Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas, which has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter. The college enrolls a residential student body of 1,250 students, including 36 percent of students representing ethnic minorities, and lists a faculty of more than 100. 

Hass has strengthened the College’s firm foundation of success, promoting a culture of academic excellence and a commitment to educational access for talented students regardless of financial background. Combining the heart of a teacher with keen business insight, her vision includes development of the College’s long‐standing core values of global awareness and engaged citizenship, as well as emphasis on sound financial and environmental responsibility, and re‐animating the liberal arts in today’s digital era. 

She has employed a transparent and disciplined approach to financial stability as the College has successfully navigated a recessionary economy. Enrollment targets have been met, applications have doubled, selectivity has increased, and marketing efforts have widened awareness of the College’s distinctive strengths. The College continues to be recognized nationally for the quality of its educational program and the achievements of its graduates. Launch of a comprehensive environmental plan, “Thinking Green,” has energized the entire campus community in efforts of reducing and recycling resources.

Hass is an accomplished spokesperson for the significant influence of liberal arts education upon individuals and local and world communities. Engaged with higher education issues beyond her own campus, she is a member of the board of the Council for Independent Colleges (CIC), serves as a presidential sponsor for the Texas Women in Higher Education conference, and is active in the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT). Hass also is a member of the NCAA Division III Management Council and has been appointed to the Texas Bar Foundation Board of Trustees.

Prior to Austin College, Hass served as provost at Muhlenberg College (PA). She earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Illinois, Urbana‐Champaign. Hass is married to Lawrence Hass, Ph.D., professor of humanities at Austin College and a philosopher and an acclaimed sleight‐of‐hand magician and teacher of magicians. (View full bio)

Other New NAICU Board OfficersOther new officers of the NAICU Board, serving one year terms ending in February 2017:

  • Christopher B. Nelson, J.D., president of St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, will serve as vice chair of the NAICU board of directors. He is in line to assume the position of chair in February 2017.
  • Wendy Libby, Ph.D., president of Stetson University in Deland, FL, has been named treasurer. 
  • Stephen Thorsett, Ph.D., president of Willamette University in Salem, OR, 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 ending in February 2019:

  • Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT, will represent Region I (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont).
  • Margaret Drugovich, D.M., president of Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY, will represent Region II (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York).
  • Grafton J. Nunes, president of Cleveland Institute of Art (OH), will represent Region III (Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia).
  • Edward L. Schrader, Ph.D., president of Brenau University in Gainesville, GA, will represent Region IV (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Caroline, Virginia).
  • Sr. Mary Margaret Albert, president of Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI, will represent Region V (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin).
  • Dale A. Lunsford, Ph.D., president of LeTourneau University in Longview, TX, will represent Region VI (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas).
  • Erik Hoekstra, Ph.D., president of Dordt College in Sioux City, IA, will represent Region VII (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota).
  • John K. McVay, Ph.D., president of Walla Walla University in College Place, WA, 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 ending in February 2019:

  • Nariman Farvardin, Ph.D., president of Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ.
  • James H. Mullen, Ph.D., president of Allegheny College, in Meadville, PA.
  • Nayef H. Samhat, Ph.D., president of Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.
  • Jill Tiefenthaler, Ph.D., president of Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO. 

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

  • Thomas F. Flynn, Ph.D., president Alvernia University in Reading, PA, will chair the Committee on Accountability.
  • Philip A. Glotzbach, Ph.D., president of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, will lead the Committee on Policy Analysis and Public Relations.
  • Mim L. Runey, Ph.D., president of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, will lead the Committee on Student Aid.
  • Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., president of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO, will chair the Committee on Tax Policy.

In addition, Kristen Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, will serve a three-year term on the Board representing the National Association of Independent College and University State Executives (NAICUSE).  Paul Cerkvenik, president of the Minnesota Private College Council, is the new chair of NAICUSE and NAICU board member. John Sturm, associate vice president, Federal and Washington Relations at the University of Notre Dame (IN), will serve as an ad-hoc non-voting government relations representative for three-years ending in February 2019.
NAICU serves as the unified national voice of private nonprofit higher education.

MORE News from NAICU