David L. Warren

David L. Warren

Board of Trustees

President's Office, 2nd Floor, Johnson Hall

(919) 760-8511


David L. Warren, Ph.D., became president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) in 1993, after nearly a decade as president of Ohio Wesleyan University.

A tireless crusader for America’s private colleges and for increased financial aid funding for all college students, Warren is widely regarded as one of the most persuasive and influential voices for higher education within Washington, D.C. He is frequently asked to speak at higher education national conferences and on campuses, and is regularly quoted by the news media on national higher education issues.

Beyond NAICU, Warren has orchestrated and led cooperative efforts with the other major higher education associations. He has co-chaired the National Campus Voter Registration Project which, in each presidential and congressional election since 1998, has engaged the nation’s campuses in the political and electoral process. He has spearheaded the Student Aid Alliance, an ongoing campaign of 50 higher education associations to expand student aid, which has resulted in the doubling of Pell Grant funding, to a maximum grant of $5,550, since 2007. He also is responsible for the creation of CampusCares, an initiative to gain national recognition for the community service and civic engagement contributions by America’s colleges and universities, and the University & College Accountability Network (U-CAN), a major national effort to enhance consumer’s access to comparative information on colleges and universities.

More recently, Warren was a driving force on behalf of all higher education in shaping the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which was signed into law in 2008 after five years of deliberation and debate. NAICU also took a leadership role in the passage of the new GI Bill, with its provisions for the participation of independent higher education through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Now, in response to administration calls for dramatically increasing the nation college graduation rate over the next decade, he has led NAICU in launching Building Blocks to 2020, a major effort to encourage and report on the role of America’s private colleges and universities in achieving greater access to and completion of a college education.

The recipient of 24 honorary degrees and numerous other academic and civic awards, Warren has been described as “one of the most gifted leaders and creative thinkers in all of American higher education” by former American Council on Education President Stanley O. Ikenberry. He has been cited for his efforts “to restore proposed cuts in federal student aid, gain tax relief for college students and their families, and reduce intrusive and burdensome federal regulation of colleges” (Middlebury College), has been recognized as “a trusted and valued resource on educational policy issues for leaders in higher education, the United States Congress, and the White House” (University of New Haven), and has been saluted as “one of the most respected and effective leaders in American higher education” (Kentucky Wesleyan College). The Sage Colleges, in its honorary degree citation, noted that his achievements epitomize higher education’s central role in personal empowerment and the public interest.

Warren has been a leader in the national community service movement, as a member of the founding board of Campus Compact, and a member of its executive committee since 1986. In addition, while president of Ohio Wesleyan, he served as chair of a state task force that addressed state government reform, and was Governor Richard Celeste’s appointee as chairman of the Ohio Ethics Commission for two years. Warren currently serves as a trustee at Eckerd College.

Before becoming president of Ohio Wesleyan, Warren was the chief administrative officer of the City of New Haven, Conn., from 1982 to 1984. From 1978 to 1982, Warren held a variety of positions at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio, including senior vice president and university provost. From 1968 to 1976, he held administrative and faculty positions at Yale University, including assistant secretary for state and community relations, and executive director of Dwight Hall, a privately endowed center that provides Yale students with volunteer, work-study, and field-based learning opportunities.

Warren earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington State University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Washington State recognized his accomplishments in 1991 with the Alumni Achievement Award for Distinguished Leadership. He earned master’s degrees with honors in both divinity and urban studies from Yale University, and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Michigan, where in 1998 he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the university’s Education Alumni Society. He also was a Fulbright Scholar in India and a Rockefeller Fellow at Yale.

His numerous articles on volunteerism, student activism, crisis management, and theology have appeared in publications such as Commonweal, Change, and Christianity and Crisis. In addition, Warren has contributed chapters to books such as New Futures: The Challenge of Managing Corporate Transitions and Current Perspectives on Social Problems.

He and his wife, Ellen, have two sons and a daughter: Jamison (Duke 1995), Mackenzie (Northwestern 2000), and Katrin (Middlebury 2001).

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