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Rita Hartung Cheng
Northern Arizona University

Rita Hartung Cheng serves as the 16th president of Northern Arizona University. As a first-generation and non-traditional college graduate, Dr. Cheng firmly believes in making higher education accessible and affordable for all students.


Under her leadership, NAU has embarked on an aggressive agenda to thrive in the fast-changing environment of higher education. She has amplified the university’s strengths and set forth a vision of excellence in education through student-centered teaching, a robust research environment, an extensive global engagement program, and inclusive support services focused on success measured through retention and graduation rates.


Prior to NAU, Dr. Cheng served as chancellor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She previously held positions on the faculty and various administrative roles including, provost and vice-chancellor, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is internationally recognized for her research in government and nonprofit accounting. 


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Dr. Cheng earned a Ph.D. in management from Temple University's Fox School of Business and Management, where she was recently recognized as one of 100 notable alumni in the school’s 100-year history. She also holds an MBA from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor’s in business administration with honors from Bishop‘s University in Quebec. Committed to service, Dr. Cheng also serves on a variety of local and national boards.

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