• Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) Institute

    MLI logo roundThe MLI was established to assist individuals who derived from groups seriously underrepresented at these exclusive leadership levels. Due to rapidly shifting demographics in higher education, there was a clear need to bring the diversity within this critical leadership level, into correspondence with the changing diversity of the student population within the nation. As a consequence of over a decade of success in meeting this challenge, the MLI continues to maintain its historical preferences while accepting any qualified candidates.

    The MLI Institute attracts a prestigious faculty of presidents and chancellors and experts in media relations, advancement and fundraising, executive contract negotiation, financial management, and the executive search process. Protégés experience both theoretical learning as well as practical, hands-on training through media interviews, visits with representatives on Capitol Hill and close interactions with presidents and chancellors.  

    Protégé Selection Process

    Successful applicants will demonstrate the leadership experience necessary to achieve a presidency or chancellorship in higher education or to advance to vice president or provost. In addition to the above experience, candidates must possess a terminal degree or have significant experience as a senior executive. Equivalent experience outside the academy in government or the private sector is acceptable. All candidates must be nominated by a president or chancellor, or by a chief operating officer from a large complex university or organization.

    The MLI Experience

    The MLI experience allows participants to determine if the presidency is a realistic goal and affords them the opportunity to develop skills, gain a philosophical overview and build the network to compete for, and attain, the position of college or university president or chancellor. MLI reinforces the vital role that diversity plays in the institutional mission and helps diversify the executive team on campuses.

    Participants apply to the MLI program and are admitted through a rigorous selection process administered by a selection committee composed exclusively of presidents and chancellors. At the MLI Institute, presidential faculty and other experts offer insights into leadership issues and provide skills training. Presidents critique participants’ professional development plans and advise them in career counseling sessions. After the Institute, graduates are assigned a mentor and a coach from an extraordinary group of presidents and chancellors who volunteer to serve as sponsors and advocates, to provide career guidance and assist proteges in the next phases of their careers. 


    MLI is the premier leadership development program to prepare presidents and chancellors and diversify senior leadership at state colleges and universities. Since the first MLI Class of 1999, over a third of our graduates have advanced significantly in their careers, with 131 graduates being appointed their presidency or chancellorship. Thirty-two graduates have gone on to serve multiple presidencies or chancellorships, bringing MLI's influence to 166 total presidencies or chancellorships. However, success is not measured in presidencies alone. Career advancements go well beyond those graduates who achieve their first presidency. MLI provides a broader pool of diverse, qualified candidates who can compete for senior executive level positions of the nation’s higher education academy, and the value of MLI's influence in building a diverse senior leadership team on campuses is nationally recognized. Since 1999–2019, MLI has had 632 participants.

    An Example of Hands-On Training at the MLI Institute

    MLI Institute's media relations training teaches protégés how to prepare for print, TV and radio media interviews in a way that helps ensure context is included in stories. Protégés will cover how to strategically develop and present their messages and how social media impacts reporting and media coverage.

    Facilitator: Stephanie Marquis, President, Stephanie Marquis Enterprises, LLC, https://www.stephaniemarquis.com/

    MLI 2021 Online Program

    MLI 2021 Online Schedule (pdf)



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