Barbara K. Mistick, D.M., Appointed President of NAICU

April 01, 2019

The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities’ (NAICU) Board of Directors today announced the appointment of Barbara K. Mistick, D.M., as the fourth president of the Association.  Mistick, president of Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA, will begin her tenure at NAICU on September 1, 2019, replacing David L. Warren, Ph.D, who is retiring after serving nearly 26 years as head of the Association.

“Barbara brings a deep understanding of private, nonprofit higher education, experience working with state and national elected officials, and a history of leading nonprofit organizations to the NAICU presidency,” said Jo Allen, Ph.D., president of Meredith College (NC), chair of the NAICU Board of Directors, and co-chair of the presidential search committee.  “She also brings a perspective familiar to so many of our students today: she was the first in her family to earn a college degree and finished her undergraduate degree after spending several years in the workforce.” 

Mistick (link to full bio) became Wilson College’s 19th President in 2011.  She is the architect of the Wilson Today plan, which, under her vision and leadership, refocused the College’s growth strategy. Wilson Today is a 5-point plan structured to double enrollment by reducing tuition and creating a first-of-its-kind student debt buyback plan, adding academic programs in health care and other areas of demand, addressing infrastructure and future facilities needs, improving the marketing of the College, and opening all degree programs to coeducation. During her tenure, Wilson has experienced record enrollment growth, nearing 1,500 students in fall 2018.

“During my time at Wilson College, I have come to believe that the success of independent higher education today is tied to our ability to serve our world through partnerships and coalitions committed to preserving access and choice for all our students and their families,” said Mistick.  “Education is the American dream.  Access to that dream for all who seek it is critical.  When we make students advocates for affordability and lift up their success we strengthen the educational opportunity for every student.”

Value and affordability, as well as the overall student experience, have been the cornerstones of Mistick’s tenure at Wilson. She has overseen a transformation of Wilson’s 300-acre campus, part of an extensive campus enhancement plan. Other achievements include the addition of several degree programs in health sciences and animal studies and new graduate programs in accountancy, education, fine arts, nursing and healthcare management. Additionally, the college now honors 10 formal dual enrollment agreements with area high schools, making it easier for 11th and 12th grade students to enroll and earn college credit.

Prior to her appointment at Wilson, Mistick was president of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where she provided strategic leadership and operational oversight of a library system that serves approximately 1.2 million people and includes 19 neighborhood library locations.

Over the course of her 30-year career in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, Mistick has been an entrepreneur, educator and leader at institutions such as the H.J. Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University (PA) and the National Education Center for Women in Business at Seton Hill University (PA), and at various businesses she managed and/or founded.

Mistick is also the board chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania (AICUP) and a member of the executive committee of the Board of Directors of the Council of Independent Colleges.

“Barbara has been an effective voice for Pennsylvania’s independent colleges and universities in Harrisburg and around the state, and is excellent at telling the success stories of Wilson’s students, programs, and community contributions,” said Tom Foley, AICUP president.  “I am confident she will bring the same focus, strategic thinking, and energy to Washington that she showed here in Pennsylvania.”

“Throughout her career, Barbara has sought to create impact and make a difference by finding bold new comprehensive and integrated approaches to building communities to support change and educational access,” said Allen. “This blend of experience, coalition-building, and innovative thinking is just the right mix to lead NAICU at this time.”

Mistick’s book, Stretch: How to Future-Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace, was designated as an Amazon Editor’s Pick and ranked #12 on the 800-CEO-READ’s Best Seller list.  She holds a Doctor of Management from Case Western Reserve University (OH), an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh (PA), and a Bachelor of Science from Carlow University (PA). 

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