Gladys Styles Johnston, chancellor emerita of the University of
Nebraska at Kearney, has been appointed director of the American
Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) Millennium
Leadership Initiative (MLI) and assistant to the president.
MLI, an AASCU program, encourages talented African American,
Hispanic, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and women administrators
to explore their career goals and supports their advancement toward a
college or university presidency.
In making the announcement, AASCU President Constantine W. (Deno)
Curris said, “MLI is an especially significant program that increases
the opportunity for minorities to be prepared for university
presidencies as well as diversifying the pipeline for other leadership
positions in higher education.
“Dr. Johnston’s extensive background in higher education, including
her chancellorship, and her experience as a leader within MLI make her
particularly well-suited for this position.”
Johnston was chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Kearney from
1993-2002. Prior to that she was executive vice president and provost
at DePaul University in Chicago, Ill. Her higher education experience
also includes positions at Arizona State University and Rutgers
In 1998, Johnston was one of a small group of AASCU’s
African-American presidents and chancellors who, in response to the
difficulties underrepresented minorities faced in preparing for and
advancing to university presidencies, developed the concept for MLI.
“I am honored to have been named the director of AASCU’s Millennium
Leadership Initiative. I have been involved with the program since its
inception and I’m very proud of the graduates the program has produced
over the past 10 years,” she said.
Following the program’s inception, Johnston served as co-chair of the
MLI steering committee and was actively engaged in building its
structure, including its financial foundation and operational
She has been a lead presenter at MLI’s summer institute, is a
frequent mentor of MLI graduates and has been a contributor to numerous
Edward Fort, chancellor emeritus of North Carolina A&T University
and chair of the search committee, said, “Dr. Johnston’s impeccable
record as former chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Kearney,
and her exemplary leadership role associated with the founding of MLI,
convinced the search committee that Dr. Johnston was the right person at
this time in AASCU’s history to serve as director of MLI.”
As director, Johnston’s responsibilities will include the development
of strategies for recruiting participants who can most benefit from the
MLI experience, recruitment of new presidential mentors for MLI
institute graduates, coordinate planning for the annual institute, and
cultivate additional program resources.
Johnston holds a doctoral degree from Cornell University, a master’s
degree from Temple University and a bachelor’s’ degree from Cheyney
University of Pennsylvania. She will begin her position December 1.
AASCU is the leadership association of 430 public colleges and
universities Delivering America’s Promise through their common
commitments to access, affordability and educational
opportunity. Enrolling more than 3 million students, these institutions
fulfill the expectations of a public university by working for the
public good through education, stewardship and engagement, thereby
improving the lives of people in their community, their region and their