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Millennium Leadership Initiative | AASCU

Millennium Leadership Initiative

The Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) is designed to diversify and enrich the American college presidency. MLI enhances the preparedness of traditionally underrepresented leaders in the highest ranks of higher education by developing their skill sets and mindsets. The program welcomes participants into a network of professionals with a deep understanding of how to advance to the presidency.

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MLI cohort members in 2021.
Members of MLI's 2021 cohort at the AASCU 2021 Annual Meeting.

America needs college and university presidents and chancellors to reflect our nation’s diversity.  

MLI's 2022 Cohort.
MLI’s 2022 Cohort.

The Millennium Leadership Initiative accelerates that progress.

Established in 1999 under the advisement of AASCU’s African American presidents, MLI recruits and prepares Black, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, LGBTQ, and women leaders in senior-level positions aspiring to be campus presidents or chancellors. MLI connects aspiring presidents to the communities, expertise, experiences, and resources required to thrive in the highest ranks of higher education. We also support diverse leadership pipelines, and promote equitable student success.

Who Should Participate

  • Traditionally underrepresented senior academic and administrative professionals seeking to advance to the presidency
  • Individuals with a terminal degree, significant experience as a senior executive, or equivalent experience in government or the private sector
  • Aspiring presidents who have been nominated by a president, chancellor, or chief operating officer

How You’ll Benefit

  • MLI enhances the professional fitness of those who value distinctive leadership in public universities. We provide practical training, workshops, discussions, case study analysis and theoretical learning. 
  • Cohorts are led by a diverse faculty of experienced presidents, chancellors, and experts in advancement, communications, governance, and financial management, each of whom emphasizes such themes as democracy, social justice, belonging, and equity-minded leadership.
  • Participants receive both mentoring and coaching from current and former presidents.    
  • The rich MLI network of faculty, alumni, and other key campus leaders provides a constant community of support.

Encourage a diverse leadership pipeline at your institution with an MLI membership.

Become an MLI member institution.

Apply to the Millennium Leadership Initiative 2024 cohort.

Learn more.
What to Expect
  • We emphasize and infuse themes of democracy, diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and social justice throughout the program offerings.
  • We facilitate dialogues about our collective commitment to advancing social and economic mobility for students of all backgrounds.
  • We are committed to creating a supportive, engaging, and customized learning environment built on cohort trust, confidentiality, and safety.
  • Recognizing the longstanding need for the American college presidency to have more to do with the quality of our democracy, we cultivate architectural instincts in our leaders, as we prepare them to be more than mere contractors.
  • MLI graduates are poised to offer distinctive leadership to a higher education industry wherein it is all too rare.
  • The MLI experience allows participants to determine if the presidency is a realistic goal and affords them the opportunity to deeply probe their true leadership desire and fitness.
  • The MLI emphasis on developing skill sets, mindsets, and networks is valuable even for those who decide not to pursue the position of college or university president or chancellor. 
  • MLI reinforces the vital role that diversity plays in the institutional mission and helps diversify the executive team on campuses.
  • The 2023 MLI cohort will convene between June 2023 and March 2024.
  • The program is delivered in a blended format with 2 in-person and up to 8 virtual engagements.  
  • The program will feature:
    • An opening in-person seminar at AASCU’s Washington, D.C., office (June 7–10, 2023)
    • Up to eight interactive 60- to 120-minute virtual sessions – select Tuesdays between 3 and 5 p.m. ET between August 2023 and February 2024 (exact dates TBA). 
    • A closing in-person seminar at AASCU’s Washington, D.C., office (March 13 – 15, 2024)
    • Mentoring with current AASCU presidents and chancellors
    • Coaching with retired/former AASCU presidents and chancellors 

(In-person programming will not be livestreamed or recorded. Attendance at all in-person and virtual programming is expected.)

  • Participants apply to the MLI program and are admitted through a rigorous selection process administered by a selection committee composed of presidents and chancellors. Successful applicants will demonstrate the following: 
    • Leadership experience necessary to achieve a presidency or chancellorship in higher education or to advance to the role of vice president or provost 
    • A terminal degree, significant experience as a senior academic executive, OR equivalent experience outside the academy in government or the private sector 
    • Nomination by a president, chancellor, or chief operating officer from a university 
    • The cohort size ranges from 25 to 28 participants.
  • A complete application for MLI includes the following:
    • Nomination or endorsement from the president/chancellor or cabinet-level administrator from your home institution
    • Clear and concise summary of your personal and professional development goals
    • Commitment to 100% participation at in- person and virtual programming
2023 Registration Fees
  • For applicants from AASCU plus MLI or AASCU plus APLU member institutions: $5,500
  • For applicants from AASCU or APLU member institutions: $6,500
  • For applicants from non-member institutions: $7,500
  • The registration fee covers program administration, meals during the in-person intensive, and all materials. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation in Washington, D.C.
  • Upon acceptance to MLI, participants must register no later than April 28, 2023.
  • Please note that limited scholarships will be made available to accepted applicants.
Cancellation Policy
  • Cancellation requests received on or after May 1, 2023 are NOT eligible for a refund.
  • If you need to cancel after May 1, please email to explore if you are eligible for a deferral to a different iteration of ELP or receive a credit toward a different program.
Is my institution an AASCU member?
Berenecea J. Eanes, President, York College, CUNY
Berenecea J. Eanes, President, York College, CUNY – MLI Class of 2012.

MLI participants build transformative relationships with mentors who support and inspire their highest career aspirations. 

The MLI experience equips participants to compete for, and attain, the position of college or university president or chancellor, reinforcing inclusivity’s vital role in educating the uniquely diverse populations state colleges and universities support.

The Numbers



proteges have participated in MLI since 1999


participants have become university presidents or chancellors


proteges have gone on to hold multiple presidencies or chancellorships


total presidencies or chancellorships are or have been held by MLI proteges

One in five

participants have achieved a presidency or chancellorship

The Stories

“So many key gems of wisdom illustrated so well with real life examples. This felt like a master class in the college presidency and it was just the beginning. I was engaged the entire time and didn’t want to miss a word.”

MLI participant, 2022 cohort

“I will strongly recommend this program to all presidential aspirants. I am transformed.”

MLI participant, 2022 cohort

“I felt like I had the privilege of sitting at the various presidents’ kitchen tables and hearing the real and authentic conversations.”

MLI participant, 2022 cohort

What’s your biggest takeaway as an MLI grad?


How has MLI shaped your

Meet the 2022 Cohort
Montrese Adger-Fuller


Adger Fuller

Vice President of Advancement, External Relations, and Marketing

Gordon State College (GA)

Shawn Baker



Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Student Success

Harris-Stowe State University (MO)

Janelle Beavers



Vice President for Strategy

Colorado State University

Leonard Brown



Vice President for Student Affairs

Norfolk State University (VA)

Judi Clarke



Vice President for Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer

Stony Brooke University (NY)

Shontay Delalue



Senior Vice President/Senior Diversity Officer

Dartmouth College (NH)

Beverly Downing



Associate Provost

Huston-Tillotson University (TX)

Joy Goto

Joy J.


Interim Dean, Division of Research and Graduate Studies

California State University, Fresno

Diane Gu



Interim Executive Director, Development

University of California, Los Angeles

Duncan Harris

G. Duncan


Chief Executive Officer

Capital Community College (CT)

Melissa Holloway

Melissa Jackson


General Counsel and Vice Chancellor of Legal, Risk, and Compliance

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Derek Lopez



Associate Vice President of Operations and Advancement

Colorado State University-Pueblo

Wendy Ng



Dean, College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences

California State University, East Bay

Paz Maya Olivérez

Paz M.


Vice President for Student Affairs

California State University, San Bernardino

Birgit Puschner



Dean and Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine

Michigan State University

Marie-Michelle Rosemond



Vice President for Student Engagement and Success

Georgia Gwinnett College

Laura Rosenbury



Dean, Levin College of Law

University of Florida

Rito Silva



Vice President for Enrollment Services and Student Affairs

Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Bernadette Tiapo

Bernadette S.


Chief Diversity Officer & Interim Vice President for Student Development

State University of New York College at Oneonta

Marcel Vernon


Vernon, Sr.

Chief Financial Officer

University of New Hampshire

Ron Williams



Chief of Staff

Columbus State University (GA)

Our Partners

Thought Partners

With Support From

Application Details

Apply to the Millennium Leadership Initiative for an unparalleled experience supporting traditionally underrepresented leaders to successfully pursue the college presidency or chancellorship. 

The application period for 2023 is now closed. Applications for 2024 will open in fall 2023. 

Application Requirements

  • Leadership experience necessary to achieve a presidency or chancellorship in higher education or to advance to the role of vice president or provost
  • A terminal degree, significant experience as a senior academic executive, OR equivalent experience outside the academy in government or the private sector
  • Endorsement from a president, chancellor, or chief operating officer

Important Dates

  • The 2024 program will take place from June 2024 to March 2024 
  • Applications for 2024 will open in Fall 2023. 

Sign up to by notified when 2024 applications are open.

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Have questions about the Millennium Leadership Initiative? Let us know.

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MLI Membership Details

Demonstrate your institution’s commitment to diversifying the presidency to reflect our nation with an MLI membership.

How It Works

  • MLI membership has a flat fee of $3,000 annually.
  • MLI membership is billed with your AASCU membership; presidents receive two invoices.

How You’ll Benefit

  • Make a clear statement of your commitment to reflecting our nation’s diversity in leadership.
  • Gain preference and discounted registration fee for candidates you nominate for this high-demand program.
  • Receive member only invitations for you and your team to participate in special MLI membership engagement opportunities.

Become an MLI Member.

Let us know if you are interested in learning more about MLI Membership.

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