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Exceptional Initiative: 2016 AGB John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership Recipients

Exceptional Initiative: 2016 AGB John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership Recipients

AGB’s John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership, now in its second year, recognizes governing boards that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and initiative. This award is named after a higher education leader—John W. Nason—who demonstrated these characteristics personally and who made immense contributions to the field of higher education governance.

In fall 2016, AGB’s call for nominations for the award drew nearly 70 nominations describing impressive work led by boards of public and independent institutions, statewide systems, and institutionally related foundations. This year, AGB is pleased to honor five boards.

Beacon College Board of Trustees
Beacon College’s board of trustees ensured institutional survival by successfully negotiating a presidential transition; creating a planning document to help chart the way forward; and implementing shared governance tenets through a series of focus groups with select faculty and staff to ensure the success of the new president. In so doing, they revitalized the institution. Student and parental satisfaction rates are high, as are the graduation rate and the post-degree employment and advanced study rate. Of equal importance is the true partnership between president and board, which can now focus on governance while the improved administration manages the college.

CETYS University Board of Trustees
Following the inauguration of a new president and the implementation of a new strategic plan, a major earthquake struck, severely damaging CETYS’ main campus in Mexicali. Sensing an opportunity to not just rebuild but to create new, state-of-the-art facilities, the board raised its campaign goals and acted as one, rather than as multiple regional boards. The board also recognized that it must radically change itself, adopting a new governance model. Early signs are encouraging. CETYS demonstrates the benefits of having an engaged, properly oriented board that provides strong leadership and oversight.

The College of William & Mary Foundation Board of Trustees
Through the College of William & Mary Foundation board’s continued focus on engagement, structure, and its philanthropic mission, it provides exemplary leadership to the university and its many constituents. The streamlined board prioritizes the foundation’s mission and top fundraising needs. The success of its task force on women and philanthropy inspired it to create additional task forces centered around underrepresented groups—primarily African-American and LGBTQ alumni. The foundation board also played an important role in helping to develop the messaging for the “For the Bold” campaign, a key priority of which is to substantially increase scholarship support.

The Ohio State University Board of Trustees
Beginning in 2012, The Ohio State University board of trustees initiated and implemented a major transformation of its Wexner Medical Center (WMC) governance structures, significantly impacting both the university and its surrounding community. This key strategic overhaul brought Ohio State into alignment with the best practices of major academic medical centers. The results speak for themselves: the WMC continues to serve an ever-increasing share of Medicaid and needy patients; fundraising success is at an all-time high; a new cancer hospital opened under budget; and the medical center has been honored with the University Health System Consortium Quality and Accountability Award for four consecutive years.

Whittier College Board of Trustees
Recognizing that, as a leader in the retention and graduation of Latino students, Whittier College is ideally suited to meet the regional and national need for STEM graduates from diverse populations, the board unanimously voted to update its aging science building—a project costing $52.5 million. The acumen of the finance committee played a critical role in determining how to fund this massive capital undertaking. Thanks to the vision, wisdom, and dedication of the board, the new Science and Learning Center—which was completed on budget—is transformative in preparing a new and diverse generation of graduates who will serve their communities as leaders who understand the pressing scientific issues of our time.

The call for applications for the 2017 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership is now open! Enter your board and help us celebrate boards’ important contributions. Completed applications may be submitted electronically to awards@agb.org or by mail and must be received by November 3, 2017.
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