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Muriel A. Howard

On Dec. 18, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will present the president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with an honorary doctorate.

Since 2009, Muriel A. Howard has led AASCU, an organization that advances and represents the interests of state-supported institutions, like UW Oshkosh. AASCU was established in 1961 and today advances and represents the interests of 420 public colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

Howard’s contributions will be recognized on Dec. 18 with a Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa, as part of UW Oshkosh’s mid-year commencement ceremony. Receiving an honorary doctorate is one way an academic institution honors a distinguished visitor’s contributions to a specific industry or society.

Select UW Oshkosh administrators and governance leaders will have the opportunity to hear Howard speak during her visit to UW Oshkosh. She will present an overview of the progress and advocacy AASCU has provided the 420-member group of public colleges and universities.

The conversation will take place Dec. 17 in the Reeve Memorial Union. Howard’s two scheduled campus sessions are as follows:

•    10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. for administrative staff, assistant and associate deans and College of Nursing program directors.

•    Noon-1:30 p.m. for governance group executive committees, academic policies committee and key administrators.

Demonstrating outstanding accomplishment

Prior to her appointment at AASCU, Howard served as president of Buffalo State College, State University of New York from 1996 to 2009. She has provided leadership to a campus roughly the same size as UW Oshkosh, with more than 11,000 students and roughly 1,700 faculty and staff.

In accepting her current position, Howard became the first African-American to lead one of the six presidentially based higher education associations in Washington D.C. and AASCU’s first female president. Howard not only serves as an accomplished leader but as a transformative figure reflecting social and demographic changes taking place in our nation and in higher education.

Howard’s professional and scholarly interests, including educational leadership and representation of women and minorities, are reflected in the significant contributions she has made over the years.

Not only has Howard excelled in the professional positions she has held, but also she has served on numerous regional, state and national organizations, including the American Council of Education and the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. As an active member of AASCU, Howard has demonstrated dedication and initiative as chair of AASCU’s board of directors and as a faculty member for the Presidents’ Academy.

Howard is an advocate for AASCU members by shaping and influencing federal policy and regulations. Presidents and chancellors of higher education institutions go to Howard as a trusted advisor and resource when addressing state policy and emerging campus issues.

“UW Oshkosh is proud to honor Dr. Howard, a distinguished and visionary academic leader, for her commitment to diversity, academic excellence and partnerships within higher education,” said UW Oshkosh Provost Lane Earns.

In the spring, the University presented an honorary doctorate to Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.