Arizona Board of Regents approves appointment of Dr. José Luis Cruz as president of Northern Arizona University

Photo of Dr. Cruz at NAU standing outside

Arizona Board of Regents approves appointment of Dr. José Luis Cruz as president of Northern Arizona University

March 10, 2021

The Arizona Board of Regents today voted to approve the appointment of Dr. José Luis Cruz as the 17th president of Northern Arizona University. With its vote, ABOR has authorized the board chair to execute a multiple-year contract with Dr. Cruz.

The move follows an extensive national search and the recent announcement of Dr. Cruz’s selection as finalist for the position. Dr. Cruz will begin his term on June 14, 2021.

“On behalf of the board, I am pleased to officially welcome and congratulate Northern Arizona University’s 17th President – Dr. José Luis Cruz,” said ABOR Chair Larry E. Penley. “Dr. Cruz has an outstanding record as a proven academic leader and innovator. His understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing higher education – coupled with an unmatched commitment to improving educational outcomes for all students – will be invaluable assets to NAU and the state. We are grateful to have Dr. Cruz’s leadership and vision at the helm of NAU, and look forward to working with him as he works to help write the next chapter of this great university.” 

Dr. Cruz joins NAU having most recently served as the executive vice chancellor and university provost at The City University of New York (CUNY). He began his tenure at CUNY in 2016 as the third president of Lehman College, the only senior college in the Bronx, and was later elevated by the Board of Trustees to the role of executive vice chancellor and university provost for the 25-campus system in 2019.  Previously, Dr. Cruz served as provost of California State University, Fullerton. He is a former vice president of higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust in Washington, D.C. and a former chief student affairs officer for the University of Puerto Rico system. He began his career as a faculty member in engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, rising through the ranks and serving as chair of the electrical and computer engineering department and dean of academic affairs. His full curriculum vitae is available here.

“I am honored and excited to officially join the Lumberjack family, and thank the Arizona Board of Regents for the trust it has placed in me,” Dr. Cruz said. “I cannot wait to begin working with NAU students, faculty and staff members – as well as the entire Flagstaff community and those who entrust their educational journeys to NAU online and statewide  – as we build upon this institution’s wonderful legacy of educational opportunity and transformative change."


Sarah Harper, 602-229-2542, 602-402-1341 |
Julie Newberg, 602-229-2534 |