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Larry Isaak named president of Capella University

Capella University
August 24, 2010
Capella University, an accredited online university that has built its reputation by providing high quality online degree programs for working adults, has named Larry A. Isaak as its next president. Isaak, who currently serves as president of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) and is the former chancellor of the North Dakota University System, will take over for interim Capella President Mike Offerman in November. Offerman will remain with Capella as an integral member of the University's leadership team.

"In Larry, we have found a leader who truly appreciates and will be able to build upon Capella's reputation for academic quality and our focus on learner success," said Capella CEO Kevin Gilligan. "Larry's depth of experience in higher education and understanding of the special culture that has been created at Capella make him a tremendous fit to lead us for years to come. We are deeply appreciative to Mike Offerman for his years of service to Capella and for so expertly filling the role of interim president. We are thrilled that he will remain with Capella as a member of our leadership team and will help guide Capella's future success."

In his role as president of Capella University, Isaak will work extensively with the provost, academic deans, and other key staff to ensure that the goals and mission of Capella are met.

"It was important to us that Capella's next president exemplify our unique learner-centered culture and commitment to academic quality, and we absolutely believe we have found that in Larry," said Marcia Ballinger, PhD, chair of the Capella University Board of Directors.

Isaak's broad history of intellectual and professional leadership will help ensure Capella remains a leader in adult-focused higher education. He will work to expand Capella's national and international profile, and will build upon Capella's reputation for academic quality and learning outcomes.

"What attracted me to Capella was the clear focus on academic quality, and even more so the commitment to learner success. Capella's focus on adult learners and the culture of innovation that has been its foundation makes this a particularly exciting organization to lead," Isaak said.

In his current position as president of the MHEC in Minneapolis, Isaak has helped lead a significant expansion in MHEC activities related to student access, policy research and cost-savings initiatives. Previously, as chancellor of the North Dakota University System for nearly 10 years, he and the board were able to streamline programs and administrative functions, update course offerings, employ new technologies and recruit dynamic campus leaders.

In addition, Isaak has served as chair of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) and as a commissioner to both the MHEC and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Isaak earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration as well as an MBA from the University of North Dakota. He also completed the Business Management Institute program at Stanford University and is a certified public accountant.
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