• Dr. Mary Darden

Higher Education Innovation to host a one-of-a-kind Presidents Conference in Kentucky in October

Updated: Jul 15


We are ecstatic about our 2021 Presidents Conference this October 11-13 titled Disruption Through Entrepreneuring: Radical Transformation in a Just-In-Time World!


We will have more than a dozen highly successful, transformative, and innovative college and university presidents, all of whom will be sharing their stories, advice, and insights to help other presidents to do what they did: Move their institutions from surviving to thriving.

To kick off the conference, we have a panel of top leaders from a variety of industries who will frankly and openly discuss what they need to see from higher education. These include Kentucky’s booming equine, distillery, and auto industries. Beginning on Day 2, the conference will feature nationally renowned speakers along with breakout sessions running on two parallel tracks for community colleges and four-year colleges and universities.


Presenters include the Chancellor of Dallas College, Dr. Joe May, talking about the institution’s radical transformation journey from a seven-college district to a new one-college structure; Southwest Tennessee Community College President Dr. Tracy Hall speaking on organizing for large scale systematic change; and Borough of Manhattan Community College President Dr. Anthony Munroe and BMCC Dean Chris Shults speaking about their heralded reinvention of the community college business model.


Presenters in the four-year college and university sector include Elon University President Emeritus and well-known author Dr. Leo Lambert emphasizing the importance of relationships in driving success and Sweet Briar College President Dr. Meredith Woo, who will address the topic of changes in the post-pandemic world.


Tying the conference all together, we have additional outstanding speakers including the president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Dr. Aaron Thompson, sharing how to be a transformative president, and HEI President Dr. Mary Darden keynoting from her new book, “Entrepreneuring the Future of Higher Education” (published with the American Council on Education and Rowman and Littlefield). The emcee is HEI Chief Leadership Innovation Officer and former President of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System Dr. Jay Box.


For this incredible event, we will be gathering in beautiful central Kentucky, one of the most gorgeous places in the U.S., where we will enjoy an opening night block party thrown by the Woodford County Tourism Commission and close out our three-day event at the beautiful Keenland Race Course for lunch and an afternoon of horse racing. Additionally, there are many optional tours and events available for family members during the conference.


If you are a college or university president, this can’t-miss, one-of-a-kind conference will offer more tangible tools for your innovative leadership tool bag than you could possibly imagine. At the request of our previous attendees, registration will be limited to just 60 presidents to allow for better networking.


We have an early bird registration special on our website until the end of July.


Higher education has never needed original, challenging, and ground-breaking new ideas, concepts, and programs more than right now.


Please join us for the HEI 2021 Presidents Conference, presented by Barnes & Noble College!

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