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Five Governing Boards to Receive John W. Nason Award at AGB’s 2017 National Conference on Trusteeship

Mar 29, 2017

Washington, D.C. – The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) announced today that it will honor five of its member boards with the 2016 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership at the 2017 AGB National Conference on Trusteeship being held in Dallas, Texas on April 2 – 4. Now in its second year, the award is named for higher education leader John W. Nason, recognized for his work as chair of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council and helping more than 4,000 interned students continue their college studies across the nation during World War II. The award is presented to governing boards demonstrating exceptional leadership and initiative in the past year.

This year’s honorees were chosen from 70 nominations illustrating the critical work of boards from both public and private institutions, statewide systems, and institutionally related foundations. This year’s Nason Award recipients are:

  • Beacon College (FL) Board of Trustees, who managed a successful presidential transition, revitalized their institution through a series of strategic planning documents, and developed a new set of shared governance tenets built by input from select faculty and staff.
  • CETYS University System (Mexico) Board of Trustees, whose institution was struck by a major earthquake. Sensing an opportunity to not only rebuild but create a new institutional identity, the board adopted a new governance model to act as one board, rather than as a group of regional boards. CETYS demonstrates the benefits of having an engaged, properly oriented board sharing an audacious vision and the ethos of “One Dream, One Team.”
  • The College of William & Mary Foundation (VA) Board of Trustees, who provided exemplary leadership by using the success of its task force on women and philanthropy to create new task forces on other underrepresented groups—primarily African-American and LGBTQ alumni. The board also played an important role in the new “For the Bold” campaign, which aims to increase scholarly support.
  • The Ohio State University Board of Trustees, who implemented a reform of the governing model surrounding the Wexner Medical Center (WMC), bringing Ohio State into alignment with major academic medical center governance best practice. Since then, the WMC has expanded its services for low-income patients, increased outside financial support, and garnered awards from the University Health System Consortium.
  • Whittier College (CA) Board of Trustees, whose identified mission includes increasing graduation and retention rates for Latino students and meeting the regional and national need for STEM graduates from diverse populations. Guided by this mission, the board chose to update the institution’s aging science building. With the leadership of an experienced finance committee, Whittier College opened the new Science and Learning Center on budget and to great success.

“We thank all the nominees for their continued efforts to raise the standard of higher education board performance,” said President Richard D. Legon. “Boards are a lynchpin in institutional success and we hope that, by honoring these institutions, others will look to better themselves. These boards’ stories stood out in a climate of great change in higher education. We are impressed by their commitments to consequential governance and look forward to recognizing them at our opening session.”

All five boards will be honored at AGB’s National Conference, as well as at their individual board meetings later this spring.

AGB is accepting applications for the 2017 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership! Enter your board and help us celebrate boards’ important contributions. Completed applications may be submitted electronically to or by mail and must be received by November 3, 2017. More information can be found at

For nearly 100 years, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) has had one mission: to strengthen and protect this country’s unique form of institutional governance through its research, services, and advocacy. Serving more than 1,300 member boards and 40,000 individual citizen trustees, AGB is the only national organization providing university and college presidents, board chairs, trustees, and board professionals of both public as well as private institutions and institutionally related foundations with resources that enhance their effectiveness. In accordance with its mission, AGB has developed programs and services that strengthen the partnership between the president and governing board; provide guidance to regents and trustees; identify issues that affect tomorrow’s decision making; and foster cooperation among all constituencies in higher education.



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