National University Taps Dr. Mark David Milliron as its Next Leader

Veteran-founded, nonprofit higher-education innovator appoints national leader in student success, emerging technology, and education equity as its next president and CEO.

San Diego, CA – August 11, 2022 — After an extensive national search, the board of National University (NU) has selected Dr. Mark David Milliron to serve as its next president and CEO, beginning October 1, 2022. In the coming months, NU, a nonprofit innovator, will integrate Northcentral University as it expands its reach and impact nationally and internationally.

Going forward, National University will continue to serve as a beacon of innovation in offering quality higher education for hard-working students, serving and supporting more than 47,000 students each year with a growing alumni community of more than 200,000 members. Founded in 1971, NU has long been committed to meeting the needs of the “whole student,” caring deeply about student success in a more holistic sense—academically, financially, socially, and emotionally, as well as through their family life and career. To that end, NU offers an array of strategic support services and quality academic programming to meet the needs of military students, working adults, and students of all ages and stages, including its flexible four-week courses offered online,  on-site, and in hybrid-learning formats.

“With NU’s rich history and deep commitment to innovating around striving student success, helping lead the way with this team into the next half century feels like meaningful work worth doing,” said Milliron in response to the appointment. “Like NU’s students when they cross the graduation stage, I am excited about the possibilities on the road ahead!”  

National University is one of the largest private, nonprofit universities in the United States  designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). It has catalyzed the careers of community difference makers for more than five decades in service industries such as education, healthcare, business, cybersecurity, law, and criminal justice. Moreover, National University System’s  education initiatives—including Harmony SEL, Inspire Teaching & Learning, and Workforce Solutions—reach millions of students, as well as tens of thousands of teachers and other working professionals each year with high-quality education programs and professional development offerings.

“It has been an honor serving National University System students and working alongside such dedicated faculty and staff for nearly a decade,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, Chancellor of the National University System, who will retire at the conclusion of the 2022-2023 academic year. “Today, National University serves as an innovative leader in higher education, and as I prepare to retire, I cannot think of a better person than Dr. Milliron to ensure that the university continues to positively impact the lives of our students, communities, and workforce. I look forward to working closely with him over the next year to support the transition of leadership and continued transformation of National University.”

Milliron is an award-winning leader, teacher, author, speaker, and consultant who has served across the K-12, higher education, philanthropy, corporate, and nonprofit spectrum over the last three decades. He comes to the NU presidency from his role as Senior Vice President at Western Governors University and Executive Dean of its School of Education—the largest college of education in the US. He also serves as Board Chair of the Trellis Foundation, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for Bennett College, and holds an appointment as a Professor of Practice in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin.

In previous roles, Milliron co-founded the student-success advanced-analytics innovator Civitas Learning, served as Deputy Director for Postsecondary Success with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and led as President and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College. He has been recognized as a Distinguished Graduate by the University of Texas at Austin, inducted into the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) Hall of Fame, and has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the “Top Shapers of the Future.”

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of the Board and National University System administrator’s well-planned, thorough, and orderly succession process to ensure continuity of leadership and National University’s continued success,” said Ruthann Heinrich, Chair of National University System Board of Trustees.” “Mark brings an exceptional breadth and depth of experience to the position, combined with a genuine passion for NU’s mission and vision, and we are confident he will extend NU’s legacy of student-focused innovation into the future.”

About National University: National University, a Veteran-founded nonprofit, has been dedicated to meeting the needs of hard-working adults by providing accessible, affordable, achievable higher education opportunities since 1971. As San Diego’s largest private nonprofit university, NU offers over 75 online and on-campus programs and flexible four-week classes designed to help students reach their goals while balancing busy lives. Since its founding, the NU community has grown to over 30,000 students and 190,000 alumni around the globe, many of whom serve in helping industries such as business, education, health care, cybersecurity, and law and criminal justice. National University’s merge with Northcentral University will be complete on September 30, 2022, growing the institution by over 10,000 students and 80 graduate and doctoral programs. Learn more at

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