Elise Awwad Named President and Chief Executive Officer of DeVry University

Higher Ed innovator will be first female president of DeVry; as part of planned succession, Tom Monahan to assume new role as Executive Vice Chair of DeVry Board of Trustees

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – July 10, 2023DeVry University’s Board of Trustees announced today the appointment of Elise Awwad as the University’s new president and chief executive officer. The first female elected to the position in the University’s 92-year history, she is expected to assume office on Sept. 5. Awwad succeeds Tom Monahan, who will be moving into the newly created role of executive vice chair of the board of trustees at DeVry, as part of a planned succession.


“My fellow trustees and I are delighted to appoint Elise as DeVry University’s new president and CEO,” said Michael Peel, Chair of DeVry’s board of trustees. “Elise is a trailblazer whose commitment to our mission will be vital in propelling the University toward a brighter future. We look forward to partnering with her as DeVry continues to transform how we prepare learners for career success.”


Peel continued: “The Trustees would also like to thank Tom Monahan for guiding DeVry to sustained growth, outstanding student success metrics, and strong financial performance. On his watch, the DeVry leadership team has created a foundation of excellence that will be long-lasting. We are fortunate Tom has agreed to stay on the board of trustees and serve as executive vice chair, providing continuing insight to his board colleagues and supporting Elise’s success.”


“It will be both an honor and privilege to lead DeVry University, an institution with an unwavering focus on preparing learners to thrive in careers shaped by continuous technological change,” Awwad said. “DeVry’s unique legacy is rooted in innovation. Our forward-thinking founders envisioned the kind of technology-focused, hands-on education that DeVry still stands for today. I look forward to working with students, alumni, faculty and staff to build on this inspiring legacy and shape DeVry’s next chapter.”  


Already known as one of the most innovative leaders in higher education, Awwad currently serves as DeVry’s chief operating officer. In this role, she has redefined student support to include not only academic success, but also intensive career preparedness, lifelong professional support and learning, and support for the student’s whole person. To accomplish this, she has re-envisioned how technology and process excellence can support and extend the work of top-flight faculty and advisors, earning wide recognition from industry observers. Through her leadership, DeVry has consistently improved key measures of student success while reducing the real-dollar cost of education through a four-year tuition freeze and substantial investments in grants and scholarships. 


Awwad continued: “Since joining DeVry as an admissions advisor in 2004, I’ve had the opportunity to work directly with students and partners to understand what learners need to thrive in the classroom and, equally importantly, in the workplace. As president, I’ll be deeply committed to ensuring that we continue to deliver unmatched return on student investment in their education.”


Awwad is also widely known as a world-class leader of teams and people — and has leveraged this passion to create new pathways for students and programs for colleagues.  Her launch of DeVry’s innovative Women+Tech Scholars program — and subsequent scholars platforms — integrated unique career development and mentorship support into traditional academic pathways.  She has also created a range of internal programs aimed at supporting colleagues’ personal and professional growth and belonging, including DeVry’s noted leadership training and vibrant network of female colleagues. 


In his new part-time role, beyond his normal board leadership responsibilities, Monahan will partner with Awwad to accelerate her near-term priorities, most notably continuing to grow and deepen partnerships with business and government entities and mining those relationships to accelerate DeVry’s rate of innovation.   


“As I transition to a new role, I do so with all the confidence and admiration in our next president. Elise is a true visionary and will deliver outstanding impact for DeVry’s students, alumni, faculty, and staff,” said Monahan. “Along with my board colleagues, I am energized that we have such an incredible leader to guide us into a new era of innovation, growth, and success.”    


Over the next two months, Awwad will conduct listening tours with internal and external university stakeholders. The valuable feedback and insights gained will serve as the foundation for the “DeVry of the Future.”    

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About DeVry University 

DeVry University strives to close society’s opportunity gap by preparing learners to thrive in careers shaped by continuous technological change. Founded in 1931, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs onsite and online in Business, Healthcare and Technology. DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC, www.hlcommission.org/). The university’s Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation. To learn more, visit devry.edu.