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Bonita J. Brown, JD
Bonita Brown, Interim President of NKU

The Northern Kentucky University Board of Regents has announced the appointment of Bonita Brown as NKU’s interim president, who will serve until the institution’s seventh president is selected and begins their term. 

Brown currently serves as NKU’s Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, where she drives the implementation and execution of NKU’s strategic framework, Success by Design, which singularly focuses on student success and external partnerships and has resulted in the university reaching its highest graduation and retention rates. Brown has been at NKU since May 2019. 

"On behalf of the Board of Regents and the whole university community, I offer deep and sincere thanks to Bonita for stepping into this crucial interim role during a period of transition for NKU," said Rich Boehne, chair of the NKU Board of Regents. "We're working quickly and aggressively to turn a period of economic challenge into a season of opportunity for our current and future students, and Bonita is the best leader to drive this effort." 

Brown has agreed to serve as interim president until a search process is complete and the Board of Regents selects the next permanent president of NKU. In agreeing to serve as interim president, Brown is ineligible to become the university's next permanent president.

“I am deeply grateful to the Board for the opportunity to work in service to the university as we navigate this transitional period,” shared Brown. “NKU has a strong reputation for supporting students in this region in reaching their academic goals and I look forward to collaborating with the NKU campus community to continue this important work.” 

Prior to her role at NKU, Brown served as the vice president for Network Engagement at Achieving the Dream, a national non-profit leader that champions evidence-based institutional improvement in community colleges across the country. In this role, Brown was responsible for supporting a network of over 220 community colleges in 41 states as they work to implement sustainable, campus-wide student success efforts. Over the course of her career, Brown served as the director of Higher Education Practice with the Education Trust in Washington D.C. While at the Education Trust, she created and led an initiative entitled Optimizing Academic Success and Institutional Strategy (OASIS), which was a national network of regional, comprehensive, minority serving institutions that enroll large numbers of low-income students and students of color. Brown served as the vice chancellor and chief of staff, and as assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has also served as the chief of staff at the University of North Texas, general counsel at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and assistant attorney at Winston-Salem State University. She has participated in the HERS Leadership program, the AASCU Millennium Leadership Initiative and is a graduate of the Harvard Institute of Educational Management. 

Brown received her BA in history from Wake Forest University and her JD from Wake Forest University School of Law.  She is married to Wesley Brown and has two children, Joshua Brown, a recent marketing graduate of Morgan State University and newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Infantry Officer, and Myliah Brown, who will study early child education.

The selection of NKU’s interim president comes after former president Ashish K. Vaidya and the NKU Board of Regents mutually agreed to part ways at the end of the fall semester. Vaidya served as NKU’s sixth president since 2018.

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Success by Design: Our Roadmap to Empowering the Future

Northern Kentucky University empowers the future of our students and enhances the economic, social and civic vitality of our region.

Through our Success by Design strategic framework, NKU is committed to advancing student success aligned with the needs of the region through providing access to all individuals seeking a higher education, removing barriers to help students complete their higher education goals, and preparing students for productive careers and community engagement.

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President Ashish Vaidya talking with students at an event