Fifth Presidents Governance Academy Focuses on Strategic Board Leadership

Richard J. Cook speaks to seated participants in front of three easels with notepads
Held immediately before the Presidents Institute, CIC’s Presidents Governance Academy was facilitated by Richard T. (Tom) Ingram, senior advisor for president-board relations, CIC, and former president, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges; and (pictured) Richard J. Cook, president emeritus, Allegheny College (PA).

A diverse group of 18 presidents representing a wide array of CIC member colleges and universities examined ways to strengthen and sustain high-performing boards of trustees during CIC’s 2018 Presidents Governance Academy. The fifth annual Academy took place January 3–4, in Hollywood, Florida, immediately before the 2018 Presidents Institute.

The Academy provides an opportunity for experienced college presidents to contemplate best principles, policies, and practices for strengthening board performance and easing strains on president-board relationships. Sessions explored board composition, committee structure, trustee orientation, and board meeting structure. A key feature was a two-step critique of each participating institution’s governing board bylaws.

“The Academy was one of the finest professional development programs, perhaps the finest, in which I have participated,” remarked Kurt Dykstra, president of Trinity Christian College (IL). Participants also noted that the Academy’s focus on strategic board leadership and best practices for the assessment of board members and presidents were particularly helpful.

The seminar was led by Richard T. (Tom) Ingram, CIC senior advisor for president-board relations and former president of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and Richard J. Cook, president emeritus of Allegheny College (PA). Jorge Diaz-Herrera, president of Keuka College (NY), remarked, “Ingram and Cook have great chemistry and coordination as a team. They combine honest feedback with humor and encouragement to stretch our goals of personal and board growth.”

The Presidents Governance Academy is supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. CIC is developing plans for the 2019 Academy, which will take place January 3–4 in conjunction with the 2019 Presidents Institute.

View additional information about the 2018 program.

2018 Presidents Governance Academy Participants


Andrews University (MI)
Andrea Luxton, President

Bethany College (WV)
Tamara Rodenberg, President

Cottey College (MO)
Jann Rudd Weitzel, President

Fisher College (MA)
Alan Ray, President

Heritage University (WA)
Andrew C. Sund, President

Hollins University (VA)
Pareena Lawrence, President

Keuka College (NY)
Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, President

LeTourneau University (TX)
Dale A. Lunsford, President

McKendree University (IL)
James M. Dennis, President
Muhlenberg College (PA)
John I. Williams, Jr., President

Neumann University (PA)
Chris Domes, President

Ohio Northern University (OH)
Daniel A. DiBiasio, President

Our Lady of the Lake University (TX)
Diane Melby, President

Park University (MO)
Greg Gunderson, President

Tiffin University (OH)
Lillian Schumacher, President

Trinity Christian College (IL)
Kurt D. Dykstra, President

Trinity University (TX)
Danny J. Anderson, President

Wingate University (NC)
Rhett Brown, President



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