Allegheny College President James H. Mullen Jr. Elected Board Chair of American Council on Education

Photo: Outgoing ACE board chair Diana Natalicio, president of the University of Texas at El Paso, passes the gavel to Allegheny College president James H. Mullen Jr.

March 10, 2014 — James H. Mullen Jr., president of Allegheny College, has been elected chair of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education (ACE), the major coordinating body for the country’s colleges and universities.

Mullen became board chair during ACE’s 96th Annual Meeting in San Diego. He succeeds Diana Natalicio, president of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and will serve for one year. Before becoming ACE Board chair, Mullen served as vice chair.

ACE’s membership also elected Renu Khator, chancellor of the University of Houston (UH) System and president of UH, vice chair; and Robert L. Caret, president of the University of Massachusetts, secretary.

“I am deeply honored by my election as chair of the American Council on Education. Under Molly Broad’s leadership, the Council is providing the voice that unifies all sectors of higher education on the critical public policy issues of our time,” said Mullen. “That I will serve as chair during Allegheny College’s bicentennial year makes this honor even more meaningful for me and for Allegheny.”

Mullen became the 21st president of Allegheny College in 2008. With more than 25 years of experience in leadership roles in higher education, and a keen appreciation for Allegheny’s history and traditions, he focuses on building community while at the same time enhancing the college’s reputation as one of the nation’s preeminent colleges of the liberal arts and sciences.

One of his key initiatives at Allegheny College has been the establishment of the Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life, which was created in 2011 to annually recognize two political figures, one liberal and one conservative, who argue passionately but with civility for their beliefs.

In addition to his service at ACE, he serves on the Presidents’ Advisory Council of the Bonner Foundation and the Council of Independent Colleges; on the Presidents’ Council of the Council of Independent Colleges and the North Coast Athletic Conference; on the Presidents’ Council and Executive Committee of Project Pericles; on the Tax Policy Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; on the Executive Committee of the Great Lakes Colleges Association; and on the boards of the American Colleges and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, and the Annapolis Group.

Mullen is a sought-after lecturer in public policy, where his work focuses on the American presidency, as well as history and political science. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He holds a master of public policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a doctorate in higher education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Khator was appointed chancellor of the University of Houston (UH) System and president of UH in 2008. In that capacity, she oversees a four-university organization that serves more than 67,000 students, has an annual budget that exceeds $1.5 billion and generates a $3.5 billion-plus impact on the Greater Houston area’s economy each year.

During her tenure, UH has experienced record-breaking research funding, enrollment and private donations. Under her leadership, UH launched its 75-acre Energy Research Park, part of her $1-billion campus construction program, and became a member of the Texas Medical Center. She is the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive public research university in the United States.

A noted scholar in the field of global environmental policy, Khator has authored several books and articles on this subject. Prior to joining UH, she was provost and senior vice president at the University of South Florida, capping a 22-year career at that institution. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Kampur University in India, and a master’s and a doctorate in political science/public administration from Purdue University (IN).

Also elected to the ACE Board of Directors during the business meeting were:

Term Ending March 2017
• John M. Dunn, President, Western Michigan University
• Elson S. Floyd, President, Washington State University
• John Anderson Fry, President, Drexel University (PA)
• Marie Foster Gnage, President, West Virginia University at Parkersburg
• Brice W. Harris, Chancellor, California Community Colleges
• L. Rafael Reif, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• Barbara R. Snyder, President, Case Western Reserve University (OH)

Two-Year Term Ending March 2016
• Christopher B. Howard, President, Hampden-Sydney College (VA)

One-Year Term Ending March 2015
• Wallace D. Loh, President, University of Maryland, College Park

Elected as higher education association representatives for a one-year term ending March 2015 were:
• Michael Reilly, Executive Director, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
• Elliott Shore, Executive Director, Association of Research Libraries (ARL)

About ACE

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation