Rita Hartung Cheng
Northern Arizona University’s 16th president
A first-generation and non-traditional college graduate, Dr. Cheng has been committed to making higher education accessible and affordable to all students.
Under her leadership, NAU has pursued an aggressive agenda to thrive in a 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 and measured through retention and graduation rates. She has focused on enhancing diverse, market-driven programs, and has prioritized the institution’s financial sustainability.
Since 2015, NAU’s research rankings rose from No. 86 to No. 70 in the country among public universities without a medical school. NAU also ranks No. 7 nationally for its long-term study abroad programs, up from No. 17 in 2015.
Prior to NAU, Dr. Cheng served as chancellor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. While at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she held positions on the faculty and various administrative roles including provost and vice chancellor.
Dr. Cheng earned a Ph.D. in management from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, where she was 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.
Review and download President Cheng’s curriculum vitae.