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President Andrew K. Benton Elected Chair of NAICU Board of Directors

Pepperdine University president Andrew K. Benton has been elected to a 19-month term as chair of the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).

President Benton, who was NAICU board vice chair, replaces Christopher B. Nelson, president of St. John’s College, who retired on June 21. The NAICU board voted on the transition during their regular spring meeting. He will complete the seven months remaining in Nelson’s one-year term before starting his own one-year term. Jo Allen, president of Meredith College in North Carolina, has been elected vice chair.

Board members set the association’s agenda on federal higher education policy, actively encourage support of association priorities and initiatives, and oversee the organization’s financial administration.

“NAICU is most fortunate that Pepperdine University president Andrew Benton has been elected as the next chair of our board of directors,” said NAICU president David L. Warren. “Andy brings 17 years of presidential leadership experience to the NAICU Board chairmanship, including a term as chair of our Accountability Committee. His knowledge of private higher education is unparalleled and will be of great assistance to the association. As new opportunities and challenges arise over the next 18 months, the association will be well positioned for success with our new leadership team.”

“This seems to be an especially important time for all institutions of higher learning to work closely together and, perhaps, especially those in the independent sector,” said President Benton. “Our work is noble, aimed at the very future of this nation. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve and I simply cannot imagine finer colleagues with whom to do so.”

With over 1,000 member institutions and associations throughout the United States, NAICU serves as the unified voice of private nonprofit higher education and reflects the diversity of independent higher education. Since 1976 NAICU has represented private nonprofit colleges and universities on policy issues with the federal government, including those related to student aid, taxation, and government regulation. NAICU’s member institutions include major research universities, church-related colleges, historically black colleges, art and design colleges, traditional liberal arts and science institutions, women’s colleges, two-year colleges, and schools of business, engineering, law, and medicine.

President Benton has served Pepperdine University for more than 30 years. In 2000 the Pepperdine Board of Regents named him the University’s seventh president and chief executive officer.

In addition to his work at Pepperdine, President Benton is a member of numerous associations, including the American Council on Education, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, the Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the American Bar Association. He has written numerous essays concerning the state of higher education in the United States that have appeared in the Huffington Post , among other publications.

A native of Lawrence, Kansas, President Benton earned a JD degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Oklahoma Christian University.