University President and Former Chief Transformation Officer in the Obama Administration Join NACAC Board of Directors

In a historic moment for NACAC, a university president will be joined by a former member of the Obama Administration as appointed members of the NACAC Board of Directors. Daniel G. Lugo, president of Queens University of Charlotte (NC) and Don Yu, chief operating officer and senior director of equity and access for Reach Higher at the Common App (VA), bring expertise and experience in areas that will support and sustain the association’s mission and values into the future.

They join the board for one-year terms.

“I’m excited that Dan and Don will be joining the board, not only because of their extensive backgrounds in education leadership but because what NACAC needs most is a diverse set of individuals who look at problem-solving through various lenses,” NACAC CEO Angel B. Pérez said. “Our current board members are extraordinary leaders with deep industry knowledge and a desire for change in our profession. Together, their work will propel us in new and invigorating directions.

“This is an historic moment for the association,” Pérez said. “Not only do we welcome Dan as our first university president on the board, we also welcome Don, whose experience as chief transformation officer in the Obama Administration will help support the board's aspirations to design the association of the future. I couldn't be more excited to work in collaboration with this board to strategically position NACAC for a stronger future."

A first-generation college graduate of African American descent, Lugo was named president of Queens University of Charlotte in 2019 after serving in key leadership positions at three of America’s most respected liberal arts institutions. These roles included vice president of college advancement at Colby College (ME), vice president and dean of admission and financial aid at Franklin and Marshall College (PA), and associate dean of admissions at Carleton College (MN). As vice president for college advancement at Colby, he orchestrated the strategy, launch, and execution of a $750 million fundraising campaign, the largest of its kind for any liberal arts college in history. In the first two years of the campaign, Colby secured $415 million in philanthropic commitments, including 40 gifts that exceeded $1 million. At Franklin & Marshall, Lugo collaboratively developed a global talent strategy that led to a 45 percent increase in applications and yielded a more academically talented and diverse— socioeconomically, ethnically, and geographically—incoming class. Earlier in his career, Lugo supervised the admissions process and enrollment marketing strategy, as well as helped to develop cultivation and solicitation strategies for leadership donors at Carleton College.

Yu has spent his diverse and distinguished career as a leader in education, government, nonprofit organizations, and the law. He is a second-generation American of Asian descent. His experience spans strategic partnerships and fundraising, legal issues, board relations, financial sustainability, governance, and politics. In his more than 20 years of service to a variety of organizations and institutions, he has earned an outstanding reputation for his passion, thoughtfulness, and strategic thinking. Prior to joining Reach Higher, he served in a variety of positions as an appointee in the Obama Administration, including chief transformation officer at the US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education and special advisor to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In his time at the US Department of Education, he played a lead role in the creation of presidential Executive Order 13592, Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities, as well as the US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program which honors secondary and postsecondary institutions for achievements in sustainability, health and wellness, and the reduction of environmental impact.

Yu has also volunteered extensively for the Obama, Clinton and Biden presidential campaigns in Virginia and Pennsylvania. He also spent four years as an attorney representing public school districts and before federal state courts and administrative agencies. He also provided legal counsel on special education, student discipline, free speech, and student records.

Lugo and Yu believe education is transformative and welcomed the opportunity to join the board.

“I am honored to receive this appointment and to serve NACAC and its membership,” Lugo said. “While I have occupied many different roles in higher education throughout the years, I hold a passion for enrollment management, where I got my start. As a first-generation college student, I was drawn to the mission of increasing college access for all students. I look forward to positively affecting that mission even more broadly through this role on the NACAC board, during this critically important and transformative time for higher education.”

"I'm honored to join NACAC's Board," said Yu. "I look forward to working alongside my fellow board members and Dr. Pérez to help ensure that all students have the opportunity to pursue higher education and contribute to the public good."

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