News Release from AASCU


Contact: Susan Chilcott (202) 478-4661


Gladys Styles Johnston to Lead AASCU Program

 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 University.

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 procedures.

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 MLI committees.

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 state.