Mildred García assumed the presidency of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) on January 22, 2018.
Dr. García is an advocate for public higher education at the national level, working to influence federal policy and regulations on behalf of nearly 400 member colleges and universities; serving as a resource to presidents and chancellors as they address state policy and emerging campus issues; developing collaborative partnerships and initiatives that advance public higher education; directing a strategic agenda that focuses on public college and university leadership for the 21st century; and providing professional development opportunities for presidents, chancellors, and their spouses. She is the first Latina to lead one of the six presidentially based higher education associations in Washington, D.C.
Prior to joining AASCU, she served as the president of California State University, Fullerton, serving nearly 39,000 students and with an operating budget of almost half a billion dollars. During her tenure, the University improved its six-year graduation rate by 20% and significantly dropped its achievement gap between underrepresented students and their campus peers. Under her leadership, the institution was number one in California and fifth in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics, as well as fifth in the nation in graduating students of color.
Prior to her arrival in the CSU, she served as the CEO of Berkeley College, a for-profit institution, where she was the first system-wide president for all six campuses. In her six-year tenure, she increased enrollment by 25%; established professional advisory boards for academic programs; implemented the institution’s first system-wide strategic planning process; and purchased property and opened a new campus in Newark, New Jersey, as well as a residence hall in White Plains, New York.
She has held both academic and senior-level positions at Arizona State University; Montclair State University; Pennsylvania State University; Teachers College, Columbia University; and the Hostos, LaGuardia, and City Colleges of the City University of New York. Dr. García is also a much sought-after speaker at national and international conferences and has published extensively in academic journals and contributed to multiple books related to student success, leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
A recipient of myriad honors and awards—from Hispanic Business Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics in 2007 to The Washingtonian’s Most Influential People in Washington in 2021—Dr. García was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, the U.S. Secretary of Defense to serve on Air University’s Board of Visitors, and the U.S. Secretary of Education to serve on the Committee on Measures of Student Success. She presently sits on the boards of ETS, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), and American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI). In addition, she served as the co-chair for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Value Commission.
A first-generation college student, Dr. García earned a Doctor of Education and an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University; an M.A. in Business Education/Higher Education from New York University; a B.S. in Business Education from Baruch College, City University of New York; and an A.A.S. from New York City Community College.