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University of Texas at El Paso President Diana Natalicio Elected Board Chair of ACE

March 04, 2013

2013 Board Chair

Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr. Elected Vice Chair

​Diana Natalicio, president of The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), has been elected chair of the Board of Directors of ACE, the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions.

Natalicio assumed her role today during ACE's 95th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. She succeeds Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University (MA), and will serve a one-year term. Before becoming ACE Board chair, Natalicio served as vice chair.

ACE's membership also elected James H. Mullen, Jr., president of Allegheny College (PA), as vice chair; and Kevin P. Reilly, president of University of Wisconsin System, as secretary.

"American higher education has entered a potentially transformative era, one of formidable challenges but also great opportunities," Natalicio said. "As it so often has in the past, the world is looking to the U.S. system of higher education for leadership, and I am honored that my colleagues have elected me as ACE board chair at this important time."

Natalicio was named president of UTEP in 1988. During her career with the university, Natalicio has served as vice president for academic affairs, dean of liberal arts, chair of the modern languages department and professor of linguistics. Her sustained commitment to provide all residents of the Paso del Norte region access to outstanding higher education opportunities has made UTEP a national success story.

During Natalicio's tenure as president, UTEP's enrollment has grown from fewer than 15,000 to nearly 23,000 students, who reflect the demographics of the Paso del Norte region from which 90 percent come. More than 77 percent are Mexican American and another 6 percent commute to the campus from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Since 1988, UTEP's annual budget has increased from $65 million to more than $400 million, and it is designated as a research/doctoral university, recognized nationally for both the excellence and breadth of its academic and research programs.

Natalicio serves on the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation and on the board of directors of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. She also has served on the boards of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Science, the NASA Advisory Council, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Trinity Industries, Sandia Corporation and Internet2. She was appointed by President George H.W. Bush as a member of the Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Initially appointed to the National Science Board (NSB) by President Bill Clinton in 1994, she served two six-year terms as a board member and three two-year terms as the NSB's vice chair.

A graduate of St. Louis University (MO), Natalicio earned a master's degree in Portuguese and a doctorate in linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin.

Vice Chair Mullen has been president of Allegheny College, which will celebrate its bicentennial in 2015, since Aug. 1, 2008. With 20 years of experience in higher education leadership and a keen appreciation for Allegheny's history and traditions, he is continuing the work of earlier presidents in building community and enhancing the institution's reputation as one of the nation's preeminent liberal arts colleges.

Mullen also is a sought-after lecturer in public policy, where his work focuses on the American presidency, as well as history and political science.

A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, Mullen earned a master of public policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (MA) and a doctorate in higher education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Also elected to the ACE Board of Directors during the business meeting were:

Term Ending March 2016 

  • E. Gordon Gee, president, The Ohio State University
  • Mary E. Lyons, president, University of San Diego
  • Nancy McCallin, president, Colorado Community College System
  • Judy C. Miner, president, Foothill College (CA)
  • Tomás D. Morales, president, California State University, San Bernardino
  • Sanford C. Shugart, president, Valencia College (FL)
  • Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor, The State University of New York

Elected as higher education association representatives for a one-year term ending March 2014 were:

  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Michael Reilly, executive director
  • University Professional & Continuing Education Association, Robert Hansen, chief executive officer

MEDIA CONTACT: Jonathan Riskind ▪ 202-939-9453 ▪

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