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Board of Regents Elects New Officers

andra ward
Andrá R. Ward 

Sept. 15, 2020 —  Northern Kentucky University’s Board of Regents elected new officers during its Sept. 9 meeting. The 11-member board unanimously elected Andrá R. Ward as Chairman, Normand G. Desmarais as Vice Chairman and Gregory Shumate as Secretary.

Ward will serve a one-year term as Chairman and assumes the position from Lee Scheben, who will return to serving as a Regent on the university’s governing body. Ward is the is President and Chief Culture & Transformation Officer of The KhafreWard Corporation, which focuses on organizational change, human resource management and talent development.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television and Film from NKU in 1986 and continues to serve the university in many capacities, including as an Emeritus Member of the NKU Foundation, NKU’s Alumni Council and the 2007 Lincoln Awards Selection Committee. He actively mentors students and young professionals in business and private industry, something he’s passionate about. 

“I’m grateful the board has honored me with this leadership position. During my years as a collegiate, I was actively involved in several student organizations. In hindsight, being elected Chairman of the Board of Regents is the result of this campuses investment in me and my leadership skills for the past several decades,” said Chairman Ward. “Our students, their families, faculty, staff, administration and all community stakeholders are ever present in each policy and decision this board makes. While one of my biggest passions is mentoring the next generation of great young professionals, the board’s overarching responsibility is to ensure NKU is competitively positioned with fiscal stability, appropriate resources, a safe campus environment and diverse/inclusive culture that demonstrates educational excellence as an everyday experience. It’s an historic privilege to serve in this capacity and continue driving Success by Design, our strategic framework.” 

Desmarais and Shumate will also serve a one-year term in their roles. Desmarais is the founding partner and Chairman of TiER1 Performance Solutions.  Desmarais also serves as a board member of The Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED). Shumate is Member-in-Charge of the Northern Kentucky office of Frost Brown Todd LLC. Shumate also serves on the NKU Foundation since 2002 and on the College of Informatics Dean’s Advisory Board since 2007.

“I am deeply grateful for the Board’s commitment to advancing student success. As we work toward our vision of a more student-ready and regionally engaged university, I look forward to their continued support and advocacy as NKU innovates to better serve students and the region this year,” said President Ashish Vaidya.

Along with the newly elected officers, NKU’s Board of Regents includes Faculty Regent Michael Baranowski, Staff Regent David Bauer, Regent Rich Boehne, Student Regent Lauren Goodwin, Regent Ashley Himes, Regent Dennis Repenning, Regent Ken Perry and Regent Lee Scheben. 

To access the agenda, materials and minutes for the Sept. 9 meeting, visit NKU’s Board of Regents website.


About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 15,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit