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Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick

Fellows Program Executive Director 

Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick is a national leader in higher education and a strong advocate for access to opportunity, equity, and student success.  She served the Maricopa Community College District for almost 30 years in a variety of leadership roles, including as Chancellor for the system.  She is a Senior Fellow for the College Excellence Program at The Aspen Institute and a Guided Pathways Coach for the Texas Success Center.

Dr. Harper-Marinick is very committed to service in the community and has actively engaged in national and local boards.  She currently serves on the Boards of Excelencia in Education, Creighton University, UnidosUS, Valley of the Sun United Way, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Teach for America Regional Board, New Pathways for Youth Advisory Board, and Valley Leadership Impact Makers Advisory Council.  She was active as a Chancellor in the American Council of Education (ACE), American Association of Community Colleges, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, League for Innovation in the Community College, National Community College Hispanic Council, Arizona Commerce Authority, Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), Arizona Chamber of Commerce, and YWCA.  She served on the Federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistant, twice as Chair, by appointment of then U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  She is an Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow and a Distinguished Fellow of the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

Dr. Harper-Marinick has been the recipient of various awards and recognitions, including:  2022 NCCHC Chancellor of Excellence Award- in recognition of exceptional support and advocacy of Hispanic student success in higher education, 2020 Chicanos Por La Causa Cause For Change Award, 2019 Herozona Foundation Education Award, 2018 Most Admired Leaders in the Valley, 2018 YWCA Tribute to Leadership, 2018 Leon Grant Spirit of Community Award, 2017 Valley Leadership Woman of the Year, 2016 Athena Public Sector, 2017 One of the Valley’s Most Admired Leaders, 2017 One of the top 10 CEOs in the Valley (Phoenix Business Journal), 2016 Valle del Sol award for having taken a dramatic and courageous stand on an issue affecting Hispanics, 2016 Community Service Award from FBI and LULAC for outstanding serviced to the community, 2015 Woman of the Year from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Diamondbacks Hispanic Community Leadership.

Dr. Harper-Marinick was featured in Diverse:  Issues in Higher Education magazine as one “25 women who have made a difference in the world by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges and exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills”, in the “Women Making their Mark” issue of International Educator, in in Arizona by the AZ Business Magazine AZ Business Magazine as one of 25 Most Influential Hispanic Business Leaders, and in Revista Mercado (Dominican Republic), Phoenix Magazine, Latina Styles, and Hispanic Executive.

Dr. Harper-Marinick is originally from the Dominican Republic and came to the USA in 1982 as a Fulbright Scholar to complete graduate work at Arizona State University (ASU).  She holds Master and Ph.D. degrees in education from ASU.  She has been a teacher and a mentor to many, especially women; has authored scholarly articles and chapters; and is a sought-after speaker at national conferences.

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