AGB Names Six Higher Education Governing Boards As Recipients Of 2019-2020 John W. Nason Award For Exceptional Leadership

By AGB February 27, 2020 April 1st, 2020 Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC (February 27, 2020)—The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the premier organization representing higher education governing boards, today announced that six boards have been selected to receive the 2019-2020 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership. The Nason Award, established in 1992, is presented in partnership with TIAA to higher education governing boards that demonstrate exceptional leadership and initiative.

This year’s honorees were chosen from among more than 30 nominations illustrating the critical work of boards from public and private institutions, statewide systems, and institutionally related foundations. This year’s Nason Award recipients are:

  • Anne Arundel Community College Board of Trustees (MD) – The Anne Arundel Community College Board of Trustees demonstrated bold leadership in its efforts to achieve equity to advance student success and completion for all students, adopting a bold new strategic plan that challenged the status quo and prioritized student needs amid declining enrollment and funding. This resulted in systemic change that prioritizes equity and completion through a transformed student experience and provides comprehensive professional development to enable student success and academic excellence.
  • Arizona State University (ASU) Enterprise Partners Board of Directors – In under 20 years, ASU has placed itself among the nation’s premier research universities, accompanied by a 20-point rise in the four-year graduation rate, during a remarkable expansion in student enrollment. These accomplishments stem from the alignment of the ASU community around its charter as an inclusive, public-serving institution, and the Enterprise Partners board’s focus on optimizing entrepreneurial initiatives to support ASU’s goal of serving as a model institution for social impact nationally and globally.
  • Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Board of Trustees (CA) – LMU’s Board of Trustees has successfully implemented a process of continual self-evaluation and self-improvement to ensure its ability to drive institutional growth and success. This practice, combined with a shared governance approach and a collective commitment to demonstrating effective leadership, has led to improvements in undergraduate academic quality, professional programs success, increased enrollment, and better fiscal health.
  • McDaniel College Board of Trustees (MD) – The McDaniel College Board of Trustees worked as a cohesive group to complete a thorough curriculum assessment, with a goal to strengthen academic programs by aligning offerings with the interests of current and prospective students. The process, which relied heavily on shared governance, resulted in attracting the largest freshman class in the history of the college while exceeding funding goals by more than $1 million.
  • Parker University Board of Trustees (TX) – During a time of crisis following a devastating tornado that caused extensive damage to the university, the Parker University Board of Trustees acted swiftly to ensure rapid deployment of resources to restore operations as quickly as possible. Prior to this, the board had already showed decisive leadership in enabling the transition from a small chiropractic college to a fully comprehensive university. The board overcame internal challenges to become more focused and successfully develop a new strategic plan that inspired a spirit of adventure and exploration at the university. The result was an enrollment increase of 20 percent, among other successes.
  • Southern Oregon University (SOU) Board of Trustees – In just four years of existence, the SOU Board of Trustees exhibited courageous leadership to advance the institution and the value of higher education regionally and nationwide. During a major period of transition, the brand-new board hired a new president, revitalized community relationships, and collaborated with the university’s administration as well as a broad and inclusive strategic planning committee that included trustee representation, to create and implement a transformative strategic plan. That plan concentrated on curriculum and pedagogy as well as demographic shifts; addressed financial stability; supported sustainability and the university’s ecological bioregion; focused on creativity and innovation; aimed to create a truly diverse and inclusive campus; and highlighted regional economic, cultural, and social development.

“This award embodies AGB’s vision—by recognizing boards that are strategic partners of their institutions, help to advance student success and well-being, and enhance institutional vitality,” said Henry Stoever, AGB’s president and CEO. “We look forward to honoring this year’s six selected boards at our national conference.”

Recipients will receive their awards at their institutions’ spring board meetings, and they also will be honored at AGB’s 2020 National Conference on Trusteeship in Washington, DC, April 5-7. This year’s selection committee included:

  • William Collins, chair emeritus, St. John’s University Board of Trustees
  • Katie Herschede, vice president for strategic initiatives and chief of staff, Widener University
  • Eleanor Horne, member, AGB Board of Directors; member, The College of New Jersey Board of Trustees
  • Melik Khoury, president, Unity College
  • Monroe Miller, vice chair, AGB Board of Directors; member, Johnson C. Smith University Board of Trustees
  • John Ottenhoff, senior consultant, AGB Consulting, and a former interim chief operating officer, AGB

The Nason award is named for higher education leader John W. Nason, who served as the chair of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council and helped more than 4,000 interned students continue their college studies across the nation during World War II. AGB would like to thank TIAA for its support of the Nason Award. Learn more about AGB’s Nason Award at

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) is the premier membership organization that strengthens higher education governing boards and the strategic roles they serve within their organizations. Through our vast library of resources, educational events, and consulting services, and with nearly 100 years of experience, we empower 40,000 AGB members from more than 2,000 institutions and foundations to navigate complex issues, implement leading practices, streamline operations, and govern with confidence. AGB is the trusted resource for board members, chief executives, and key administrators on higher education governance and leadership.

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