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Memorandum March 18, 2024

AU Community
Gina Adams, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Proudly Announcing 花季传媒直播鈥檚 16th President

On behalf of the 花季传媒直播 Board of Trustees, we are pleased to announce Jonathan (Jon) Alger as 花季传媒直播鈥檚 16th president. Jon will join the AU community on July 1, 2024, when President Sylvia Burwell concludes seven years of changemaking impact and service.

Jon comes to AU after serving for 12 years as president of James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A native of Rochester, New York, Jon has more than 30 years of experience in higher education and is a nationally recognized scholar on higher education policy. The competitive national search led by our presidential search committee identified Jon as the top candidate and right person for AU.

An accomplished and innovative leader, he is also deeply connected to the Washington, DC area and our campus neighborhood. Jon and his wife, Mary Ann, met and were married at National Presbyterian Church just down Nebraska Avenue from our campus.

Jon鈥檚 12 years at JMU featured a bold and visionary strategic plan focused on engaged learning, community engagement, and civic engagement. Major accomplishments included the Valley Scholars Program for first-generation students that created a pathway for hundreds of students with full-tuition scholarships; the Student Success Center; the nationally renowned Madison Center for Civic Engagement; creative philanthropic initiatives such as Women for Madison and the Madison Trust which supports innovative projects; and the broadly inclusive Task Force on Racial Equity. Spending time with students in the classroom has been a priority throughout his career, and Jon co-taught a leadership seminar in JMU's Honors College.

Jon led JMU to the R2 national research university designation under the Carnegie Classifications, and the university鈥檚 external research funding increased by 92 percent from 2019 to 2023. Under Jon鈥檚 direction, the university鈥檚 endowment more than doubled and JMU exceeded its fundraising goal in its recent comprehensive campaign. Furthering JMU鈥檚 profile, competitiveness, and community spirit, Jon led the university鈥檚 move to the Sun Belt Conference as part of the most successful transition to Division I鈥檚 Football Bowl Subdivision in in NCAA history.

鈥淓ncouraging students to dream big is the heart of higher education, and the opportunity to join 花季传媒直播 is a dream come true for me and my family. AU鈥檚 stellar academic profile and global impact reflect the unique and inspiring characteristics of the faculty, staff, students, and alumni,鈥 said Alger. 鈥淩eturning to the Washington, DC, region where our family has deep ties and collaborating with the AU community to create the next chapter of this great institution is an unparalleled opportunity.鈥

Jon鈥檚 scholarship reflects his deep understanding of higher education and his commitment to the highest quality learning opportunities for students. He has published numerous articles and completed significant editorial work for publications such as the Journal of College and University Law聽补苍诲听The Law of Higher Education. Jon received the American Council on Education鈥檚 (ACE) Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award in 2021 for his contributions to enhancing the diversity and skills of future higher education leaders.聽For his dedicated work on civic engagement in higher education, Jon received the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Standout Campus President Award in 2019.

Prior to joining JMU, Jon served as senior vice president and general counsel at Rutgers University. While assistant general counsel at the University of Michigan, he played a leading role in two landmark cases on diversity and admissions before the US Supreme Court. At Rutgers and Michigan, Jon taught graduate and undergraduate courses in law, higher education, public policy, and diversity. Earlier in his career, Jon worked in the national office of the American Association of University Professors on issues such as academic freedom, shared governance, tenure, and due process. He also served in the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, where he was the point person on the development and implementation of national policies on race-conscious financial aid, racial harassment, and free expression.

Jon has worked extensively with higher education leaders, and they praised his selection as AU鈥檚 16th president.

鈥淭hroughout his career, Jon has demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to liberal education as the foundation for our nation鈥檚 historic mission of educating for democracy. At a time when leading a university is more complex than ever, Jon brings a wealth of experience to the presidency, as a distinguished scholar of civil rights law and higher education; as a champion of academic freedom, shared governance, and access to excellence in higher education; and as a community builder,鈥 said Lynn Pasquerella, president of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). 鈥淗e leads with compassion, transparency, integrity, authenticity, moral courage, and humor. I can think of no better exemplar when it comes to 花季传媒直播鈥檚 mission of empowering lives of purpose, service, and leadership.鈥

鈥淛on Alger is one of America鈥檚 great university presidents. His collaborative leadership style, deliberative demeanor, and strategic vision will only accelerate the great progress AU has made under President Burwell,鈥 said Ted Mitchell, president of ACE.

Jon currently serves on numerous boards and councils, notably the American Association of Colleges and Universities (as vice chair), the Association of Governing Boards' Council of Presidents (as chair), the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, the Northern Virginia Technology Council, and the Virginia Business Higher Education Council.聽He previously served on the ACE Board of Directors, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, and as a public member on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Advisory Council, which supports grant applications for biomedical research and research training activities.

Jon earned his B.A. with high honors and Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College, majoring in political science with a public policy concentration and a minor in history, and his J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School.聽One of Jon鈥檚 special talents has been singing with acclaimed choral groups that have toured internationally, recorded professionally, and performed on national television.聽Mary Ann has an extensive background in business and entrepreneurship and serves in many volunteer capacities at JMU. Their daughter, Eleanor, is a screenwriter in Los Angeles.

We want to thank the many community members who participated in the search. The faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees on the Presidential Search Committee worked tirelessly to cultivate an outstanding pool of talented candidates commensurate with AU鈥檚 reputation and position and ultimately identify the right leader in Jon Alger. Thank you to the Faculty Advisory Committee, whose perspectives and insights on how our next leader can continue supporting the exceptional research and learning opportunities at AU were fundamental to the success of the search. Finally, our thanks to everyone across the AU community who joined the listening sessions, provided input on the position description, and nominated candidates. The dedication to the AU community exhibited throughout this process exemplifies why this is a special place and one that will continue to soar with Jon鈥檚 leadership.

Please join us in welcoming Jon, Mary Ann, and Eleanor to the AU Eagle family. We will host a campus event on April 10 to welcome Jon and Mary Ann. Look for more information soon.


Gina Adams, SPA/BS 鈥80
Chair, AU Board of Trustees

Marc Duber, Kogod/BS 鈥81
Chair, AU Presidential Search Committee

Janice Menke Abraham, SIS/BA 鈥79
Vice Chair, AU Presidential Search Committee