Mehaffy to Address December Graduates

George Mehaffy, vice president for academic leadership and change at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), will address students as the commencement speaker for the December graduation ceremony. Commencement is at 1:30 p.m., Dec. 17, in Pershing Arena.

Mehaffy’s division is responsible for a number of special programs and projects for AASCU presidents and chief academic officers in the areas of leadership and organizational change in higher education, focusing on issues such as technology, teacher education and international education. He organizes and directs two national conferences annually for AASCU chief academic officers and manages a variety of leadership programs and special projects.

Much of Mehaffy’s current work focuses on civic engagement in higher education. In 2003 he initiated a new civic engagement project, the American Democracy Project (ADP), in partnership with The New York Times, involving 205 institutions representing 1.8 million students. That project has generated a broad range of national and campus-based activities.

Prior to coming to AASCU, Mehaffy served as the vice president for academic affairs at Eastern New Mexico University. There he initiated a university-wide focus on the use of technology in teaching and greatly expanded the distance education program. For that work, in l997 Eastern was awarded the $250,000 Pew Leadership Award for the Renewal of Undergraduate Education, one of only three awarded that year.

Before coming to Eastern, Mehaffy served as the director of the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University, where his work in the design and construction of a professional development school built as a partnership of San Diego State University, the Chula Vista School District, and Cox Cable resulted in national recognition. 

In addition to his work in higher education, he served for 33 years in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, retiring as a captain in 2000. He was the recipient in 1994 of the Vice President’s Award for Reinventing Government. The award recognized his work in creating an innovative program in San Diego to combine active duty and reserve units, resulting in significantly greater effectiveness and efficiency. That program was subsequently used by the U.S. Coast Guard throughout the United States.
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