Academics Building

APUS Appoints Dr. Mary A. Papazian, EVP at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, to Board of Trustees

Charles Town, WV—June 27, 2024 – American Public University System (APUS) today announced that Dr. Mary A. Papazian, executive vice president at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), will join the APUS Board of Trustees. A two-time former university president with extensive board experience, Dr. Papazian brings more than 35 years of higher education experience to her new role. 

“We are thrilled Dr. Mary Papazian is bringing to APUS her deep knowledge and insights on the higher education landscape,” said Frank Ball, APUS Board of Trustees Chairman. “Her guidance will be a tremendous asset as APUS drives toward an even more engaging learning experience leveraging emerging technologies, while continuing to serve the nation’s military, public service communities, and beyond.”  

At AGB, Dr. Papazian leads the association’s strategic vision and planning processes to strengthen members’ satisfaction; engages with media and external stakeholders to advance AGB’s thought leadership; and oversees partnerships with philanthropic organizations and subject matter experts to expand reach and impact. 

“I am excited to help APUS balance its vision to maximize the power of emerging technologies like AI with its commitment to provide a high-quality, accessible, and affordable education to students from all backgrounds,” said Dr. Papazian. “Used ethically and strategically, such tools can help APUS educate countless people globally and prepare them to become leaders in their communities.” 

Prior to joining AGB, Dr. Papazian served as interim CEO of the Business-Higher Education Forum, a nonprofit membership organization that connects higher education institutions to business talent. In 2016, she became the third woman to lead San Jose State University (SJSU), serving as president from 2016-2021. She guided SJSU and its 38,000 students through the Covid-19 pandemic and established SJSU’s Division of Research and Innovation, and its Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. During her tenure, SJSU was named the #1 most transformative university by Money magazine and received the Platinum Award and the Best Achievement in Operational Excellence to Deliver Digital Transformation Award at the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards.  

From 2011 to 2016, Dr. Papazian served as President of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), where she developed more effective student services throughout the university, established the Office of STEM Innovation and Leadership, and secured a bioscience partnership between SCSU and the City of New Haven, Conn. Earlier in her career, she served in senior roles at Lehman College (CUNY), Montclair State University (NJ) and Oakland University (Mich.), among others. 

Dr. Papazian’s array of board service has included leadership positions at the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU), California Leads, the Mountain West Athletic Conference, the Armenian Society of Fellows, and Higher Education Resource Services (HERS). She also has served as board member of AAC&U, APLU, NCAA Board of Governors, Bay Area of Council, Joint Venture Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, National Association of Armenian Scholarship (NAASR) and Research, and Haigazian University. 

A native Californian, Dr. Papazian earned her PhD, master’s and bachelor’s degrees from UCLA, in English literature. She also has received certifications from the Higher Education Leadership Institute, the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education at Harvard University, Corporate Directors International, and Competent Boards. 



About American Public University System
American Public University System (APUS) delivers affordable, high-quality, workforce-relevant higher education. With a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive 32-year history, and over 141,000 alumni from more than 80 countries, APUS is recognized for its innovative approach to online learning1. APUS is in the top 11% for students’ return on educational investment, compared to 4,500 colleges and universities nationwide, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (2022)2.

APUS, which includes American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), is accredited by the  Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. APUS is a wholly owned subsidiary of  American Public Education, Inc. (Nasdaq: APEI). For more information, visit

1APUS has been honored with the online Learning Consortium’s Gomory Award for Quality Online Education, and is a five-time recipient of the consortium’s Effective Practice Award

2Ranking based on 20-year net present value (NPV)  

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