(Salem, OR) — Governor Kitzhaber today announced that he is appointing Ben Cannon to be the Executive Director of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). The decision came after an unanimous recommendation by a search committee made up of Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden, Blue Mountain Community College President Cam Preus, former University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer, HECC member Tim Nesbitt, and OEIB member and Portland State University Professor Samuel Henry. Cannon has served as the Governor's Education Policy Advisor since September, 2011.
"We have made a commitment to dramatically improve higher education outcomes in Oregon," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Ben is the right leader to help bring the HECC, the Oregon Education Investment Board, and the Oregon Legislature together to improve access, affordability, equity, and coordination of our higher education system."
Under legislation passed in 2013 to streamline Oregon's higher education system, the HECC will oversee state resource allocation, policy-setting, and coordination for the entire higher education system, inheriting responsibilities previously held by the State Board of Education for community colleges, the State Board of Higher Education for public universities, and the Oregon Student Access Commission. The Executive Director will be responsible for supporting the Commission and implementing its directives.
"After an extensive search and interview process, the screening panel agreed wholeheartedly to recommend Ben for Executive Director," said Nancy Golden, Chief Education Officer. "His experience as a policymaker at all levels of education, his commitment to student success, and his understanding of the importance of a coordinated system of higher education make him an outstanding choice."
Prior to becoming the Governor's education policy advisor, Cannon served in the Oregon State House of Representatives (2006-2011) and was a middle school teacher at the Arbor School of Arts and Sciences. A Rhodes Scholar, Ben attended Oregon public schools before earning a BA from Washington University in St. Louis and graduate degrees from Oxford University, England.
Oregon's higher education system enrolls over 380,000 students in 8 public universities, 17 public community colleges, 67 private for-profit and independent colleges and universities, and receives state general fund appropriations of $835 million per biennium.
Tim Raphael, 503-689-6117
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