The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) has named Pepperdine University President Andrew K. Benton, chair of the Sacramento-based association. Kristen Soares, AICCU President, made the announcement on October 30 and commented, “AICCU is privileged to have an executive committee composed of very talented and dedicated presidents and trustees. Andy Benton is a highly regarded leader in California and the nation, and we look forward to benefitting from his extensive experience to support AICCU’s mission as the leading and distinctive voice for private nonprofit higher education.”
Benton has served as the seventh president of Pepperdine since 2000 and continues to lead Pepperdine to prominence among the nation’s top universities. A lawyer by training, President Benton cares deeply about the student and is often called “the Students’ President.” Benton currently serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, on the nationally organized Commission on Higher Education Attainment, and on the President’s Cabinet of the West Coast Conference. He is also past chair of the American Council on Education (ACE), the major coordinating body for all of the nation’s higher education institutions.
“I am honored and challenged by the appointment,” noted Benton. “American higher education is one of the greatest achievements of our nation, and California independent colleges and universities have played a significant role in making the U.S.-model of higher education a standard the world over.” He noted further, “Challenges of affordability, attainment, and jobs for graduates confront us at a never-before-seen level. The public and private sectors must work together to ensure that higher education is strong and relevant in order for it to remain, as Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine called it, ‘in large part, the foundation of American exceptionalism.’”