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Five Governing Boards to Receive John W. Nason Award at AGB’s 2018 National Conference on Trusteeship

Mar 12, 2018

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) announced today that it will honor five of its member boards with the 2017 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership at the 2018 AGB National Conference on Trusteeship being held in San Francisco, California on April 22 - 24. Now in its third 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 some 40 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:

  • Agnes Scott College (GA) Board of Trustees, launched SUMMIT—a unique college experience, where every student completes a core curriculum focused on global learning and leadership development. The success of this initiative relied upon the robust and strong creative partnership between the board, the faculty, and the president.
  • Augsburg University (MN) Board of Regents, faced with enrollment challenges and a sluggish capital campaign, developed a strategic plan to reposition the institution. The board accomplished this by creating a shared governance taskforce to address campus issues head-on; initiating an inclusive 5-year strategic planning effort, and leading the institution’s largest-ever capital campaign.
  • California State University System Board of Trustees, provided vital backing for Graduation Initiative 2025, launched by Chancellor Timothy P. White in 2015. Powered by support of the board, this ambitious plan is increasing graduation rates and eliminating achievement gaps across all 23 CSU campuses. The board’s ongoing leadership and advocacy will further bolster the impact of this university-wide effort.
  • Ohio University Board of Trustees, when confronted with financial pressures and deferred maintenance issues, undertook bold action to enhance affordability and access without compromising quality and student success. It approved the OHIO Guarantee™, fixing tuition, room and board and fees at a set rate for four years, which embodies the sustained conviction of the board and creative thinking and perseverance of senior administrators. It was the first institution in the state to create such a guarantee. The board also created an innovative way to use a Century Bond to create a Central Bank to cover deferred maintenance.
  • Unity College (ME) Board of Trustees, adopted “Building a Beacon: The Unity College Strategic Plan,” which called for infrastructure improvements as well as a comprehensive strategic branding initiative. The board did the hard work of reimagining a college and engaging in a four-year, fully immersive branding study, positioning the institution for the future of the college, of its students, and of small, private higher education. 

“The John Nason Award provides a unique opportunity to recognize college and university governing boards that have each addressed significant challenges, and have demonstrated innovative and collaborative leadership,” said AGB President Richard D. Legon. “We look forward to honoring this year’s five selected boards, and we extend our appreciation to TIAA for its support of this significant honor.”

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

AGB would like to thank TIAA for their generous support of the John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership. 

AGB is accepting applications for the 2018 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 2nd, 2018. More information can be found at


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