President of The CIRI Foundation named next chair of WICHE

  • Year Published : 2020
  • Month Published : November

Susan Anderson of Alaska takes the helm of the 48-member interstate compact commission in the West.

BOULDER, Colo. – Susan Anderson, President/CEO of The CIRI Foundation (TCF), was elected as the 2021 chair of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) – an interstate compact of Western states and territories that works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence.

Elected during its biannual commission meeting, held virtually on November 12, Anderson will now lead WICHE’s commission that oversees a robust slate of programs, research, and policy work—executed by WICHE’s staff based in Boulder, Colo.—and works to strengthen higher education, workforce development, and behavioral health throughout the region.

Anderson’s election was unanimous among the 48 members, as was David Lassner’s, University of Hawai’i President (a WICHE Commissioner since 2015) election as the vice chair. Anderson replaces outgoing chair, Camille Preus, Executive Director of the Oregon Community College Association.

“I’m extremely honored to be representing Alaska on the Commission and am proud to accept the role of chair,” said a humbled Susan Anderson. “WICHE is an outstanding organization, with an incredibly talented team, and I’m looking forward to continuing our work aiding the students of our region, especially those who are underserved.”

Before joining The CIRI Foundation in 2000, Anderson was manager of the continuing education programs for The International Society for Optical Engineering. In addition to Anderson’s WICHE and TCF roles, she serves on the board of the Alaska Children’s Trust.

“As the leader of a foundation that promotes individual self-development and economic self-sufficiency through education and supports pride in culture and heritage among Alaska Natives, Commissioner Anderson brings a unique and welcome set of skills and perspectives to WICHE,” said WICHE President Demarée Michelau. “I look forward to working closely with her and the rest of the 2021 officers to promote postsecondary access, affordability, and opportunity in the region as we navigate this historic time in higher education.”



Since 1953, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) has been strengthening higher education, workforce development, and behavioral health throughout the region. As an interstate compact, WICHE partners with states, territories, and postsecondary institutions to share knowledge, create resources, and develop innovative solutions that address some of our society’s most pressing needs. From promoting high-quality, affordable postsecondary education to helping states get the most from their technology investments and addressing behavioral health challenges, WICHE improves lives across the West through innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy.

WICHE members include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States (specifically the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam).


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