FranU Receives National 2021 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership

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  2. FranU Receives National 2021 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University along with five other boards were selected to receive the 2021 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the premier organization representing higher education governing boards, in partnership with TIAA, a fortune 100 financial services organization dedicated to helping their clients pursue financial well-being.

This year’s honorees were chosen from among nominations received from institutions across the country. Nominations were to illustrate the essential work of boards from public and private institutions, statewide systems, and institutionally related foundations.

The FranU Board of Trustees has made a tremendous leap, evolving from a board that viewed itself as an advisory entity into a capable and robust governing body. FranU’s board overcame meaningful challenges related to board culture and muddied expectations to become not only a leader of the institution, but a model for nonprofit organizations around the region, relying on an intense commitment to continual development and ongoing improvement.

“The FranU Board of Trustees is one of the most committed and highly engaged boards I’ve ever had the privilege to serve on. The members of our Board truly believe in the Mission of the University and have genuine concern for the advancement of the students,” said Leo Hamilton, past board chair.

Chair of the Mission and Governance Committee Donna M. Saurage stated, "The Board’s commitment to the FranU mission drives us to do what needs to be done to advance the University, especially in terms of governing authority.”

Established in 1992, the Nason Award is presented in partnership with TIAA to higher education governing boards that demonstrate exceptional leadership and initiative. In addition to confronting the significant effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recipients of this year’s award addressed pressing issues related to board culture, presidential transitions, community advocacy, and other important matters.

“The coronavirus is but one of many challenges that higher education is facing. We hope that recognizing boards that are strategic partners of their institutions will give others the courage to lead their institutions or foundations in a similar fashion,” said Henry Stoever, AGB president and CEO. “I am excited to share the great work and success that these honorees have achieved at our upcoming events.”

The Nason award is named for higher education leader John W. Nason, who served as the chair of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council and helped more than 4,000 interned students continue their college studies across the nation during World War II. AGB would like to thank TIAA for its support of the Nason Award. Learn more about AGB’s Nason Award at

Recipients will receive their awards throughout 2021, and will be honored at AGB’s Foundation Leadership Forum (Jan. 25-27) and National Conference on Trusteeship (April 12-14). This year’s selection committee included: Joe Burke, president emeritus, Keuka College, AGB senior fellow; Gretchen Buhlig, CEO, Arizona State University Foundation, Marla Capozzi, board chair, Babson College; Jim Geringer, former Wyoming governor, former board chair, Western Governors University; Eleanor Horne, member, The College of New Jersey, member, AGB Board of Directors; Vita Pickrum, president, Delaware State University Foundation; and Brian Steeves, executive director and corporate secretary, University of Minnesota System.

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