February 10, 2010
DALLAS (SMU) — SMU President R. Gerald Turner has been elected to the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). His three-year term began Feb. 3.
Turner is one of eight new members of the NAICU board. He represents Region VI, which includes Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. There are 49 board members who serve three-year terms.
“It’s a privilege for me to serve on the NAICU board and to represent Region VI,” Turner said. “With the complex issues facing higher education today, it is essential that we take the lead in exploring solutions and speaking with a unified voice. We must ensure that private institutions remain strong, accessible and relevant to students who can benefit from their special attributes.”
Since 1976, NAICU has represented private nonprofit colleges and universities on policy issues with the federal government, such as those affecting student aid, taxation and government regulation. Its more than 1,000 member institutions and associations reflect the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States. NAICU members include traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, comprehensive universities, church- and faith-related institutions, historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, single-sex colleges, art institutions, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, business and other professions. NAICU member institutions enroll nine of every 10 students attending private institutions in this country.
NAICU’s board of directors sets the organization’s agenda on federal higher education policy, actively encourages support of NAICU priorities and initiatives, and oversees the association’s financial administration.
“President Turner was selected by his peers because of his expertise in the field, proven leadership and commitment to America’s college students,” said NAICU President David L. Warren. “He assumes his responsibilities at a time of great challenge and transformation for American higher education.”
Turner has served as president of SMU since 1995. Under his leadership, SMU has experienced a doubling of undergraduate applications, the average SAT score of entering students has risen 100 points, and major gifts campaigns have increased resources for scholarships, endowed faculty positions, academic programs and campus facilities.
SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students through its college of humanities and sciences and six schools – in business; the performing, visual and communication arts; engineering; education and human development; theology; and law.
Before joining SMU Turner was chancellor of the University of Mississippi. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.S. degree in psychology from Abilene Christian University. Turner also is co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and has served on numerous other national higher education commissions.
# # #