2019 Higher Education Government Relations Conference: Speakers

Lande Ajose

Lande Ajose is the senior policy advisor for higher education for Gov. Gavin Newsom. She is responsible for developing and shaping the governor’s higher education policy agenda, which is focused on protecting college affordability, preserving college access, and increasing system efficiency in order to meet the state’s need for a skilled and educated workforce. Prior to this appointment, she served as executive director of California Competes, a nonpartisan, nonprofit project that develops and advocates on behalf of policies to equitably boost California’s postsecondary degree attainment. Her experience in higher education spans college admissions at Vassar College (N.Y.), education and workforce development funding at the James Irvine Foundation, and research and evaluation at MDRC, where she managed a comprehensive evaluation of the Achieving the Dream Initiative. 

An ardent advocate for college affordability, in 2014 she was appointed to the California Student Aid Commission by Gov. Jerry Brown and served as chair for two years until her resignation in May 2019.  She has served on boards of the Institute of College Access and Success; the Institute for Higher Education Policy; and, until her appointment to the governor’s office, she was a WASC Senior College and University Commissioner. She currently serves on the advisory committee for the Higher Education Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California. A graduate of Occidental College (Calif.), she earned her master’s from the School of Public Affairs at University of California, Los Angeles and holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Occidental College.

Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy

Dannel Malloy

Former Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy brings 22 years of public service and executive leadership to the University of Maine System. 

First elected governor in 2010, Malloy reduced the size of the state government workforce by 13%, reached agreements with the state bargaining unit that saves taxpayers $40 billion, built the state rainy day fund to more $2 billion, and fully funded the actuarially required state pension payment every year. 

Malloy is a champion of public higher education. As governor, he led the effort to create the Board of Regents for Higher Education, bringing 17 community colleges and state universities into the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. His administration grew the state apprentice program by 40%, and he supported $2.3 billion in investments at the University of Connecticut to advance the state’s bioscience industry and to grow enrollment in the engineering and the STEM fields. 

Malloy is the former Rappaport Distinguished Visiting Professor at Boston College Law School and taught undergraduate political science for twelve semesters as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. He holds a B.A. in Political Science, Sociology from Boston College and is a graduate of Boston College Law School. 

In 1982, he married his wife, Cathy, whom he met while they were students at Boston College. They have three sons, Dannel, Ben and Sam. 

F. King Alexander

F. King Alexander was named the president of Louisiana State University in 2013.

Prior to this appointment, Alexander was president of California State University, Long Beach (2005-2013), one of the nation’s largest public universities located in Southern California. During his more than seven-year tenure at California State University, Long Beach, Alexander was twice named the California State University Student Association “President of the Year,” which represents all 23 California State Universities and its more than 440,000 students.

Prior to becoming president of California State University, Long Beach, Alexander was president of Murray State University in Kentucky (2001-2005) and was a faculty member at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where he was the director of the graduate higher education program.

A Kentucky native who grew up in north Florida, Alexander received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in higher education administration, with a focus on finance and educational policy analysis, and a Master of Science degree from the University of Oxford in comparative educational studies.

As a teacher and administrator, Alexander has received many honors, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Alumni Achievement Award (2002) and has research university faculty affiliations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for the Study of Postsecondary Education and Cornell University Higher Education Research Institute.

Alexander also has been asked to represent public higher education colleges and universities on numerous occasions to the United States Congress on issues of college affordability, student indebtedness and institutional efficiency and effectiveness in efforts to address many of the growing challenges facing American higher education. Due to his national recognition and involvement on higher education issues, Alexander has served on numerous U.S. higher education and statewide organizational leadership boards where he remains very active.

Alexander and his wife, Shenette, have three children: Kylie, Savannah and Madison.

David Baime

David Baime serves as senior vice president for government relations and policy analysis for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). In this role, he directs the national advocacy efforts for the nation’s close to 1,200 community colleges and their students. Prior to joining AACC, he served as director of education funding for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He has also worked as assistant director of government relations for the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Baime has made a number of radio, television, and web appearances, including on CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and National Public Radio, and is frequently quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and other education publications.

Baime holds a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College and a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics.

Miles Baker

Miles Baker is associate vice president of government relations at the University of Alaska (UA) and responsible for managing the university’s federal and state relations. In this role, he advises the Board of Regents, president and university executives on political strategies essential to accomplishing UA’s policy and appropriation priorities. Baker has extensive public policy, communications and advocacy experience and strong relationships throughout Alaska. Prior to joining UA, he was vice president of external affairs & government relations for the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. He was state director for Sen. Lisa Murkowski and served as her finance and economic policy advisor in Washington, D.C. He was senior budget and appropriations staff to the Alaska Senate Finance Committee and chief of staff to Sen. Bert Stedman of Sitka. Before returning to Alaska, he worked as a media and entertainment executive in Los Angeles. He was national director of sales & marketing with the Bertelsmann Music Group and a Six-Sigma Black Belt with NBC Entertainment. Baker was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He holds a B.S. in Ocean Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from University of California, Los Angeles’s Anderson School of Management.

Mary Braun

Mary Braun joined the Board of Regents, State of Iowa’s Board Office staff in December 2014, after serving in the Iowa Legislature on the House Democratic Caucus staff for 25 years. Braun leads University of Northern Iowa’s state legislative portfolio and has extensive experience working with legislators in developing and evaluating public policy, writing and analyzing legislative bills and amendments, and responding to constituent inquiries. Braun has been assigned to the University of Northern Iowa as a state relations officer and legislative contact for the Board of Regents. She holds a B.A. in Business Administration with a minor in Personnel Management from the University of Northern Iowa.

Marissa Brewer

Marissa Brewer leads the University of Illinois System’s grassroots advocacy program and other legislative advocacy efforts. Originally from Texas, Brewer began her career as a legislative aide in Washington, D.C., for a U.S. congressman, advising him on a variety of issues, including education policy. Brewer relocated to central Illinois from Washington, D.C., in 2009 to work for Illinois State University as the associate director of development and governmental relations. In 2013, Brewer joined the University of Illinois to work in legislative advocacy.

Brewer has a B.A. in Public Administration from Texas State University and Master’s in Political Science from the University of Illinois Springfield Science. She also has a Certificate in PAC and Grassroots Management from the Public Affairs Council.

Chris Broadwater

Chris Broadwater earned a B.A. in Sociology from Louisiana College, in Pineville, Louisiana. He continued his studies at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned a Master of Divinity, and then at the Paul M. Hebert School of Law at Louisiana State University, where he earned his Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Civil Law.

In 2008, he was appointed assistant secretary of labor by Gov. Bobby Jindal. In 2011, Broadwater was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives, where he served on the Ways and Means Committee, Education Committee, Executive Committee, Joint Committee on Capital Outlay and as vice chairman of the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. Broadwater served as State Representative until March of 2018.

Upon leaving the state legislature, Broadwater joined the Louisiana Community and Technical College System as the vice president for workforce policy. Broadwater and his wife, Hillary, live in Hammond, Louisiana, with their four daughters: Emma Grace (17), Rose Kathron (15), Maggie Frances (14) and Ruby Jane (8).

Dustin Bryant is the director of federal relations for the University of Alaska (UA). He is based in Washington, D.C. In his role, Bryant serves as UA’s principal federal liaison, working to advance the university’s strategic priorities within Congress, the executive branch, and federal agencies. He advocates for research, education, and training programs and for higher education policies that will benefit the university, our students and Alaska. Prior to joining UA, he served as assistant director of federal relations for the Texas A&M's University System, representing A&M’s 11 campuses and seven state agencies in D.C. Previously, Bryant was the D.C. representative for the Texas A&M Research Foundation, and he spent several years with lobbying firm Meyers & Associates. He started his career with Congressman Rubén Hinojosa of Texas. He received his B.S. in Agriculture from Texas A&M in 2004.

Austin Buchan is the CEO of College Forward, a Texas-based nonprofit whose intensive, near-peer mentoring programs propel students from underserved backgrounds to collegiate success. 

Since joining in 2010, Buchan has redefined College Forward’s vision to bring intensive coaching services to every underserved student in Texas. He has established long-term partnerships with college and university leaders to build sustainable coaching programs for first-generation, low-income collegians—a model that has grown to serve over 15,000 students throughout Texas. 

In 2014, Buchan cemented College Forward as a leading social enterprise by building and sharing cutting edge technology for over 60 high schools, colleges and nonprofit organizations seeking to revamp student services. This industry-leading student information system, called CoPilot, allows nonprofit and education advisors to access and analyze critical information to deliver more targeted, data-informed student interventions. CoPilot’s impact has since expanded to more than 24 states and 400,000 students nationwide.

A native Texan, born and raised in Corpus Christi, Buchan received his B.A. in sociology and philosophy at Trinity University (Texas). He later went on to complete an executive program in social entrepreneurism at the University of Pennsylvania. Buchan began his career during the 2008 presidential election, managing strategic initiatives for a political consulting firm based in Boston.  Immediately before joining College Forward, Buchan directed a nonprofit in rural Nicaragua focused on breaking generational poverty through the power of a college degree.

Jeff Buhrandt

Jeff Buhrandt is the senior director for state relations at University of Wisconsin System, where he leads the team responsible for state government relations. Buhrandt began his career working for long-time northern Wisconsin Congressman Dave Obey, after which he moved to Madison and worked in the Wisconsin State Capitol before joining system administration in 2014. Buhrandt is a Wisconsin native, has a bachelor‘s degree from University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and will be graduating this fall with a master’s in Higher Education Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Dick Carter

Dick Carter has over 25 years of experience in public affairs, grassroots coalition building, association management, and lobbying in the State of Kansas, as well as providing issue management services in Washington, D.C.

A fifth generation Kansan, Carter graduated from the University of Kansas and began his career in association work with the American Heart Association. He has also served as public information officer with the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, director of government relations for the association management firm of Barbee & Associates, and as director for external relations for the Kansas Board of Regents.

In 2003, Dick Carter established The Carter Group, Inc., a multi-discipline firm specializing in public affairs, government relations, and association management. He has managed the Travel Industry Association of Kansas and provides government relations and grassroots advocacy services for other clients.

Carter is a member of 1999 Class of Leadership Kansas. His passion is youth mentorship, and he has volunteered through Big Brothers/Big Sisters and continues to volunteer with the Lunch Buddy program in Topeka Public Schools, as well as serving as Scoutmaster for the Jayhawk Area Council Boy Scouts of America – Troop 175. Carter has been married to Margaret for 19 years and has two boys at home, Trip and Lincoln.

Joseph I. Castro

Joseph I. Castro has served as the eighth president of California State University, Fresno since 2013. He is the first Californian and first Valley native to serve in this position. In 2018, Fresno State was ranked 17th in the nation by Washington Monthly and recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s leading public universities for graduation rate performance and ranked among the top 50 in Money Magazine’s best public colleges for 2018-19.

Castro is a professor of educational leadership in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development. He is a gifted scholar in the fields of leadership and public policy who has mentored hundreds of other scholars and practitioners, including many other university presidents and senior officers.

Prior to his appointment as president, he served as vice chancellor of student academic affairs, and professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) from 2006-13. UCSF is widely recognized as the leading health sciences university in the nation. Castro led UCSF’s programs that served the academic and health care needs of its talented and diverse students. Earlier in his career, he held faculty and/or administrative leadership positions at four other University of California campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Barbara.

Castro received a B.A. in political science and M.P.P. in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and Ph.D. in higher education policy and leadership from Stanford University (Calif.). He has also successfully completed three advanced seminars on presidential leadership at the Harvard University (Mass.) Graduate School of Education.

Castro serves on a number of boards, including the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Mountain West Athletic Conference Board, Stanford University Graduate School of Education Advisory Council, James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award Selection Committee, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ Governing Board, Jumpstart National Board, and the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium.

Castro’s leadership has been recognized by many different organizations. In 2018, he was named as CSU President of the Year by the California State Student Association and City of Fresno District 4 Man of the Year. In 2017, he received the Mayor of Fresno’s Community Partnership Award. In 2016, he received the Alumni Excellence in Education Award from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and the Ohtli Award, which is the highest honor granted by the Government of Mexico to leaders in the United States. In 2014, he was selected as Alumnus of the Year by the UC Berkeley Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy. Castro received the University of California Student Association’s Administrator of the Year Award and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from UCSF in 2010.

Castro is the grandson of farmworkers from Mexico. He was born and raised in Hanford, California, and is the first person in his family to graduate from a university. He and his wife, Mary, have three children, Isaac, Lauren and Jess.

F. Javier Cevallos

F. Javier Cevallos began his tenure as president of Framingham State University (Mass.) on July 1, 2014.

Cevallos was born in Cuenca, Ecuador, and his family moved to Puerto Rico when he was 14. Cevallos earned his bachelor’s degree in 1976 at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. From Puerto Rico, he moved to Illinois, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in 1978 and 1981, respectively, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His area of research is Latin American literature, with particular emphasis in the Colonial era.

He began his career in education in 1981 as an assistant professor of Spanish at the University of Maine at Orono. In 1984, he moved to the University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Amherst, where he was promoted to associate professor in 1988 and to full professor in 1992. In 1994, he was asked to serve as faculty advisor to the provost. In 1996 he was selected as a Fellow by the American Council on Education and spent his fellowship at Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut.

Upon his return to UMass, Cevallos became chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Soon after, he was appointed Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, a post he held until 2002, when he became president of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania for many years, until beginning his tenure as president of Framingham State University.

Cevallos is an advocate for bringing a global perspective to Framingham State University. As a faculty member in Massachusetts, he directed the Summer Program in Salamanca, Spain, and has been involved with international programs since then.  At Framingham State University, he has been involved in creating partnerships with universities in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Brazil.

Cevallos and his wife, Josée Vachon-Cevallos, believe in community involvement and have volunteered to serve in numerous nonprofit boards in the region. Currently Cevallos serves on the boards of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, NCAA Division III President's Council, the United Way of Tri-County, Jewish Family Service, and the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Framingham Rotary Club. Cevallos is an overseer at the Danforth Museum Board of Overseers and serves on the board of the Franco-American Center in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Ryan Craig

Ryan Craig is the co-founder and managing director of University Ventures (UV). His commentary on where the puck is going in higher education regularly appears in the Gap Letter, Forbes, TechCrunch, Inside Higher Ed, Fortune, HR Dive, and VentureBeat, among others. He is the author of A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College (Ben Bella, 2018), which describes the critical importance of last-mile training and the emergence of boot camps, income share programs, staffing and apprenticeship models as preferred pathways to good first digital jobs, and was named in the Wall Street Journal as one the Books of the Year for 2018. He is also the author of College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), which profiles the coming shift toward competency-based education and hiring.

Prior to UV, Craig led the Education & Training sector at Warburg Pincus, where he was the founding Director of Bridgepoint Education, one of the largest online universities in the United States. His prior experience in online education was at Columbia University. From 2004 to 2010, Craig founded and built Wellspring, a national network of boarding schools and summer camps for overweight and obese children, adolescents and young adults. He began his career at McKinsey & Co.

Craig received bachelor's degrees summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, and his law degree from the Yale Law School.

While Craig knows where the puck is going in higher education, he actually knows what to do with a puck because he hails from Toronto, Canada.

Jennifer Creasey

Jennifer Creasey joined the University of Illinois (U of I) in March 2014, recently stepping into the role of senior director of state relations. Before that she was with AARP Illinois, and previously served as deputy director of Boards & Commissions/Agricultural & Environmental Affairs in the Office of Governor. She has a B.A. in both Political Science and Speech Communications from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and was selected for the Dunn Fellowship program after graduation in 2004. Creasey went on the complete her master’s from the University of Illinois, Springfield in Political Science.

Creasey represents the university in both the Capitol and the community to advance its priorities. She is also responsible for outreach, state legislative advocacy efforts, strategic partnerships, and management or relationships around the state. She works closely with the U of I legislative caucus and U of I alumni throughout the state. In 2016 she was nominated to participate in the U of I Edgar Fellows Program and the Springfield Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list in 2018. Before coming to the U of I, she was the AARP staff lead for State Healthcare Legislation for the AARP Illinois Legislative Office. She is a member of the Springfield YMCA board and an active member of several community and professional development groups.

Ryan DeBoef

Ryan DeBoef has been chief of staff and assistant to the president for governmental relations at Missouri State University since July 2014. In this role, DeBoef is responsible for facilitating the university’s achievement of its state and federal legislative agendas and coordinating the governmental relations activities of the university.

Prior to becoming chief of staff, DeBoef served as legal counsel for Missouri State University from September 2011 to July 2014. Before coming to Missouri State, DeBoef was an associate at Husch Blackwell, LLP and a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr. DeBoef received his law degree from the University of Missouri–Columbia in 2015, where he graduated at the top of his class. He received his B.S. summa cum laude in 2012 from Evangel University (Mo.) with majors in government and public administration.

Wil Del

Wil Del Pilar serves as Ed Trust’s vice president of higher education policy and practice. In this role, Del Pilar spearheads Ed Trust’s mission to highlight inequities and outline solutions to improve access, success, affordability and completion in higher education for low-income students and students of color.

Prior to joining Ed Trust, Del Pilar served in Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration as deputy secretary of postsecondary and higher education, where he developed and implemented the state’s strategic vision for higher education. Before joining Gov. Wolf’s team, Del Pilar had experience in the Pennsylvania Department of Education, working as an executive assistant in the state’s higher education office. In this role, he managed an array of services for the state, including the College Access Challenge Grant and the Pennsylvania Information Management System.

Aside from working for Pennsylvania’s Department of Education in higher education policy roles, Del Pilar has held senior development positions, as the director of development at Pennsylvania State University and at the University of Florida’s Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program. In both positions, he fought to secure funding to support access and success initiatives for historically underrepresented students.

In addition to his policy and development experience, Del Pilar has a wealth of institutional experience, working in admissions at Chapman University in Orange, California, and the University of California Santa Cruz, as a financial aid counselor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and as a research assistant at Penn State.

Del Pilar holds a doctorate in higher education/higher education administration from The Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree from California State University–Dominguez Hills, and a bachelor’s degree from Chapman University.

Brian Flahaven

Brian Flahaven is the senior director for advocacy for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the professional association for advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications and development. He directs CASE's government relations activities and tracks federal and state legislative and regulatory issues of concern to CASE members. He also oversees CASE's public college and university foundation programs.

Prior to joining CASE, he was the manager of government relations and public policy at the Council on Foundations. He also served as the first Public Policy and Philanthropy Fellow at the Council of Michigan Foundations and worked for former Illinois Lieutenant Governor Corinne Wood.

Flahaven received his bachelor's degree in political science, economics and history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his master's degree in public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

In 2016, he earned the designation of Certified Association Executive from the American Society of Association Executives. From 2011 to 2016, he served as an elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner representing the southeastern Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

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