November 7, 2023

University of Southern Indiana President Ronald S. Rochon Elected Chair of AASCU Board of Directors

Alisa White, president of Sam Houston State University (TX), becomes chair-elect

Outgoing board chair President Anderson passes the gavel to President Rochon. Photo by Rhonda Nunn.
Outgoing board chair President Anderson passes the gavel to President Rochon. Photo by Rhonda Nunn.

Kellee Edmonds
(202) 478-4662

CHICAGO, November 7, 2023 – Ronald S. Rochon, president of the University of Southern Indiana (USI) today became chair of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) Board of Directors at the organization’s annual conference in Chicago. Alisa White, president of Sam Houston State University (TX), was appointed chair-elect.

The AASCU membership also elected four new members to the Board of Directors: 

  • Houston Davis, president, University of Central Arkansas
  • Nora Miller, president, Mississippi University for Women
  • DeRionne Pollard, president, Nevada State University
  • Carlos Vargas, president, Southeast Missouri State University

As president of USI since July 2018, Rochon has led the institution in improving its rates of overall degree completion, at-risk degree completion, STEM degree completion, student persistence, and on-time graduation. He has secured more than $250 million in state funding for capital projects and operations and led USI’s reclassification process from NCAA Division II to Division I athletics. 

In October 2020, Rochon was appointed to Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s Workforce Cabinet for a two-year term and to the Midwest Higher Education Compact in 2021. He also serves on the NCAA Division I Ohio Valley Conference Board of Presidents and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America Board of Directors, as well as the boards of WNIN Public Broadcasting, Deaconess Health Systems, and the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership. 

“It is my privilege to assume the role of chair on the AASCU Board of Directors, collaborating with my dedicated colleagues who relentlessly strive to foster the growth and prosperity of our community of colleges and universities,” Rochon said. “I am enthusiastic about the essential and collective work ahead, ultimately, delivering meaningful results for our students.”  

Ronald Rochon has dedicated his work around advocating and promoting educational excellence, access, and equity, while creating an environment where diverse students can grow intellectually, culturally, socially, and emotionally,” said José A. Cabrales, AASCU’s Executive in Charge. “We know he will bring that lifelong passion to this role and continue promoting the transformative power of postsecondary education.” 

His commitment to global education was evident this summer when President Rochon, his spouse, and 12 USI students traveled to Ghana for 10 days to take part in the Ghana Global Engagement experience. 

Rochon earned a bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee University (AL) and a master’s and doctoral degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He focused his doctoral work on educational history and policy analysis. He was elected to the AASCU board in 2020 and has held several leadership roles at AASCU, including the Council of State Representatives and the current chair of the Millennium Leadership Initiative Executive Steering Committee. 

Alisa White has served as president of Sam Houston State University (SHSU) since 2020, after serving as president of Austin Peay State University (TN), as well as vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at Tyler and Midwestern State University. Since taking the helm, SHSU has received $23 million in pledges and gifts in FY23 and a $32 million state investment from the Texas legislature for the College of Osteopathic Medicine.   

Throughout her career, White has been dedicated to creating an environment where underserved students can reach their full potential and gain access to equitable experiences inside and outside of the classroom. As a result, SHSU has been recognized for the opportunities it provides first-generation and other traditionally underserved students. 

White has a bachelor’s degree in business from Lee College (now Lee University) in Cleveland, TN, a master’s degree in library and information science and a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her term as chair will begin in 2025. 

The following presidents will continue their terms as members of AASCU’s board: 

Past Chair:

  • Heidi M. Anderson, president, University of Maryland Eastern Shore


  • Timothy Mottet, president, Colorado State University Pueblo

Other returning AASCU board officers are:

  • Erika D. Beck, president, California State University, Northridge
  • Karrie G. Dixon, chancellor, Elizabeth City State University (NC)
  • Berenecea Johnson Eanes, president, City University of New York, York College
  • Andrew Feinstein, president, University of Northern Colorado
  • Brendan Kelly, president, University of West Georgia
  • Mark A. Nook, president, University of Northern Iowa
  • Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, president, Oakland University (MI)
  • Zulma R. Toro, president, Central Connecticut State University
  • Daniel A. Wubah, president, Millersville University (PA)


The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of 350 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise.