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Lassner, Bachman Hall
David Lassner

University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner was elected the 2022 chair of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). At its biannual meeting held virtually earlier this month, the commission selected Lassner to replace Susan Anderson, president and CEO of The CIRI Foundation of Alaska. Lassner was most recently vice chair of the WICHE Commission, and has served as a WICHE commissioner since 2015.

Since 1953, WICHE has been strengthening higher education, workforce development and behavioral health throughout the region among its 16 member states, territories and freely associated states. By promoting innovation, cooperation and resource sharing, it works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for the Western region.

“Colleges and universities everywhere are facing challenges on numerous fronts, and some of ours in the West are unique,” Lassner said. “I am humbled by the WICHE Commission’s vote as I step into the role of chair during this critical time. As postsecondary education leaders, we must work together to find creative and sustainable solutions that support the success of our students, now and in the future.”

Lassner has an ongoing focus on helping more Hawaiʻi residents earn college credentials and strengthening the state’s economy through job creation. He is also advancing UH’s commitments to sustainability and becoming a model Indigenous-serving university.

“I am grateful for the leadership of Past Chair Anderson over the past year, and I congratulate Commissioner Lassner as he takes on this new role,” said WICHE President Demarée Michelau. “David’s extensive experience tackling the financial, health and academic challenges shared by our colleagues make him uniquely positioned to lead the WICHE Commission during this historic time in higher education.”

Lassner has an extensive career as an information technologist and academic leader. He began working at the UH in information technology in 1977, eventually becoming UH’s first chief information officer and vice president for IT. He was appointed interim president in September 2013 and the “interim” was removed in June 2014. Lassner earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, followed by a PhD in communication and information sciences at UH.

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

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