• Millennium Leadership Initiative Director

    Dr Mary Evan SiasDr. Mary Evans Sias is the Director of the Millennium Leadership Initiative and Assistant to the President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

    A nationally known leader, an advocate for students and higher education, and an involved community leader, Dr. Sias served as president of Kentucky State University from 2004 to 2014. 

    As a university president, Dr. Sias brought a broad range of administrative experiences as well as valuable state and national perspectives on higher education issues and policies.  She chaired the boards of two of the big six national organizations in higher education: the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).  Collectively, these organizations represented more than 425 colleges and universities and more than 4.7 million undergraduate’ students 1.3 million graduate students and more than 41 billion dollars in research. 

    Dr. Sias also served as the chair of the board of presidents of the Southern Intercollegiate Association and of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Advisory Board for HBCUs.  She was on the Board of Directors of the Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges, Kentucky One Hospital Board, the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce, the Frankfort YMCA and the Frankfort Woman’s Club.  Dr. Sias is currently active in the Links Incorporated, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the International Women’s Forum. 

    Dr. Sias is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Thurgood Marshall Educational Leadership Award, 2009; the 2010 Women Leading Kentucky Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award; the Tougaloo College 2013 Hall of Fame Award for outstanding service and commitment to education; the Issac Murphy Image Award for Education; The 2014 Pharos Award from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence; and the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) Dr. Claire Van Ummersen Presidential Leadership Award. 

    A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Dr. Sias received her Bachelor of Science in sociology from Tougaloo College as well as her Master of Science degree and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  She also holds a MBA from Abilene Christian University and an honorary doctorate in public service from Central Michigan University.