Board of Trustees

Brian Mueller

Brian E. Mueller joined GCU in July 2008 to usher in a new era for the institution. Since that time, GCU has transformed from a small, private, liberal arts, Christian-based university to a thriving center of teaching, learning and scholarship with an abundance of extracurricular activities to enrich and enhance the academic and life experience of our community's future Christian leaders. Mr. Mueller envisions GCU as not just an institution for higher learning, but also as an instrument for change to bring more highly educated, critically thinking, entrepreneurially minded graduates into our community.

Mr. Mueller has a wealth of higher education expertise, including in the areas of student recruitment, marketing, enrollment, admissions, student retention, financial aid and academic affairs. Mr. Mueller earned a Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Concordia University and began his higher education career as a professor in the Concordia University system. Immediately prior to joining GCU, Mr. Mueller was president of Apollo Group, Inc., the parent company of the University of Phoenix. He also served in a variety of positions with the University of Phoenix online, including chief executive officer, chief operating officer and senior vice president.


Dr. Fred Miller

Dr. Fred Miller, GCU Board of Trustees

Fred Miller, MD, PhD, CMD, is currently medical director at Bridgeway Health Solutions in Tempe,
AZ. He is a dynamic, results-driven physician with a proven background of 31 years of both clinical and administrative roles offering leadership and direction to design-focused, effective plans and strategies to support customer health care needs and organizational goals. He is a collaborative leader working closely with medical and legal professionals to resolve complex issues in the clinical, medical administrative and forensic services arenas. 

Also, Dr. Miller has achieved success increasing revenues and reducing overall costs, while mitigating and managing risks in high-risk environments.

Dr. Miller received his bachelor's from Knoxville College in Knoxville, TN, his PhD and Master of Science from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, NJ. Dr. Miller's teaching experience includes being an assistant professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, and teaching at Paradise Valley Hospital in Phoenix and Middlesex Community College in Middlesex, NJ. During his more than 30 years of medical experience, some of Dr. Miller's experience includes being the chief medical director for Pima County, the medical director at Posada Del Sol and the director of the emergency department at Paradise Valley Hospital.

Will Gonzalez

Will Gonzalez, GCU Board of Trustees

Will Gonzalez has been with the City of Phoenix Prosecutor's Office since 1996. His work as a community prosecutor has produced the largest court fine in the City of Phoenix Municipal Court's history against a slumlord in the amount of $377,500. In his assigned neighborhood of Palomino, Mr. Gonzalez assisted in developing a business alliance, inter-faith coalition, block watch and a neighborhood revitalization committee whose strategy brought about a $3.6 million Boys & Girls Club facility for the community. 

He has assisted other prosecutors, school districts and cities in developing community strategies for their neighborhoods, and has presented at state and regional conferences for the Arizona Department of Education, the State Bar of Arizona and the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys' Advisory Council. He has also presented at national conferences for the Department of Justice, the National District Attorney Association and the National Organization for Victim Assistance.

Mr. Gonzalez is a two-time recipient of the City of Phoenix Excellence Award, an active member of the Latino Institute and founding member of the Maricopa County Regional Homeless Court Task Force. He is also a member on the Vision Team for the Arizona Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Centers. He serves as chairman for the Community Board of Directors for GCU and also teaches for the Colangelo College of Business. He is also the co-chair for the Paradise Valley Community College President Circle for the Maricopa County Community College District. He attended Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, TX, where he obtained his Juris Doctor. He is also a graduate of GCU's business college, obtaining a Master of Science in Leadership, and he attended the Thunderbird School of Global Management, obtaining a Certificate in Global Leadership.


Dr. Jim Rice

Dr. Jim Rice, GCU Board of Trustees

Dr. Jim Rice is a retired superintendent of the Alhambra Elementary School District, a culturally diverse district serving more than 15,000 students in preschool through eighth grades. He has been in the district his entire career, serving as teacher, principal, assistant superintendent for academic services and assistant superintendent for human resources. Not only has Dr. Rice worked in Alhambra for nearly 36 years, he is a former student, graduating from eighth grade at Andalucia School.

GCU is so proud to honor Dr. Rice as the 2007 distinguished alumnus. Dr. Rice received his Bachelor of Science degree from GCU in 1971. His master's and doctorate degrees are from Arizona State University in 1975 and 1994, respectively. He has dedicated himself through servant leadership to educating the next generations. His work will allow children to dream and to aspire - leaving a legacy for the future that is endless in its possibilities. Dr. Rice has been recognized for his exceptional leadership including being named Arizona's Distinguished Administrator in 2002, receiving the Willis J. Ray Volunteer Award from GCU in 2003 and receiving an Award of Excellence for Contributions to Public Education from the Arizona School Public Relations Association in 2004. Dr. Rice was inducted into the ASU College of Education Hall of Fame in October 2005, received the ASA Administrator of the Year - Superintendent Division in 2006 and was most recently named Arizona's Superintendent of the Year in December 2006.

Dr. Rice has presented throughout the state and nation on strategic initiatives and significant topics in education. What makes Dr. Rice's contributions even more significant is his ability to lead the Alhambra district with its many challenges. Eighty-seven percent of Alhambra's students receive free or reduced-price food services. Fifty-one percent are English language learners, and 61 languages are spoken in this district. Despite these demographics, this top-rated district is known for its high expectations, exceptional student achievement and outstanding educational programs. Alhambra school district has received numerous state and national awards.

Don Andorfer

Don Andorfer, GCU Board of TrusteesDon Andorfer joined GCU in the spring of 2006 as interim president in the effort to help the university prepare for its accreditation review by the Higher Learning Commission in 2007. Under his leadership, the university expects to rise to new levels of excellence in its academic standards.

Prior to joining the university, Mr. Andorder served as president of Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne, IN, for 18 years from 1985 to 2003 and served in various management positions since 1977. 

He continues to act as a consultant to his predecessor at Indiana Institute of Technology. From 1960 to 1970, Mr. Andorfer served as a full-time faculty member at the International Business College (Fort Wayne, IN), and then from 1970 to 1977 as dean and director of the International Junior College of Business (Fort Wayne, IN). Mr. Andorfer has actively participated as a consultant and evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association for the past 15 years. During that time, he occupied a three-year term on the Higher Learning Commission's Academic Review Committee.

Mr. Andorfer and his wife, Mary Janet, continue to play an active role in their community. They recently chaired a capital campaign to raise $1.5 million with St. Aloysius Catholic Church for its elementary school and new community center. He has served on numerous boards and is the recipient of several honors and awards. To name just two, he received the Sagamore of Wabash Award (Indiana's highest citizen award) and another naming him the "Citizen of the Year" by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette in 2003, along with two other university presidents. At the conclusion of Mr. Andorfer's service at the Indiana Institute of Technology in 2003, "Andorfer Commons" (the newest and largest building on the campus) was dedicated in his honor, remembering him as a man of character and excellence. Mr. Andorfer earned his Bachelor of Science degree in education and Master of Arts degree in education from Ball State University (Muncie, IN). In addition, he has completed graduate work in School Finance and Administration.

Academic Leadership

Dr. Hank Radda

Provost

Hank Radda, PhD, joined GCU in December 2010 and currently serves as GCU's provost. He has extensive experience creating organizations and systems to educate and serve people, based on scholarship and best practices. He has worked with national private, public and not-for-profit organizations. Dr. Radda earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, as well as his Master of Science in community-school psychology from the College of New Rochelle in New York. He earned his PhD in clinical psychology from The Union Institute in Ohio. 

Dr. Radda has served on numerous boards, presented at a variety of conferences and events and has been published in academic journals. He is considered to be a strategic visionary skilled at establishing operational excellence. Previously, Dr. Radda served in senior management positions in both the social welfare system and in education as the co-founder of John Dewey Academy, a nationally recognized therapeutic college preparatory school for high-potential, at-risk youth.

Mark Alexander

Senior Vice President of Curriculum and Publishing

Mark Alexander has been involved in education for over 30 years. Working in higher education since 2001, Mark leads creative teams who are engaged in curriculum development, library and bookstore services and acquiring digital content. In prior roles, Mark worked in the software development industry designing and developing classroom training and computer- and web-based training for a variety of enterprise software applications. 

Mark earned a Master's degree from Arizona State University in Learning and Instructional Design and a Bachelor of Music from Colorado State University. Mark is currently pursuing a PhD in General Psychology with an emphasis in Cognition and Instruction at Grand Canyon University.


Dr. Jennifer Lech

Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and University Registrar, Title IX Coordinator, 504 Coordinator and Accreditation Liaison Officer

Jennifer Lech, PhD, has been with GCU since 2004, for 12 of 16 years working in postsecondary education, academic compliance, the Title IX program and 504 coordination. Dr. Lech developed the initial curriculum of the university as it began its transformation to avoid bankruptcy in 2004.

She is now responsible for academic and institutional integrity through the departments she oversees, including the Office of Academic Records, policy and program management, institutional accreditation, state compliance, academic compliance and the Title IX program. She developed the accreditation processes being used for the institution, colleges and programs. Dr. Lech acquired the approvals, exemptions or in-progress applications in all 51 states and territories. Dr. Lech holds a Doctor of Philosophy in applied management and decision sciences from Walden University, Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Washington State University.

Dr. Antoinette Farmer-Thompson

Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness

Antoinette Farmer-Thompson, DHEd, joined GCU in 2008. During her tenure, she has been innovative in launching GCU's Honors College, for which she is now the dean, and serving as vice president of Institutional Effectiveness. As vice president of Institutional Effectiveness, she oversees university assessment, academic reporting, academic support/tutoring, career services, dual enrollment, academic excellence, academic affairs project management and other ancillary areas.

Previously, Dr. Farmer-Thompson served as dean of associate studies and assistant dean for the College of Health Sciences. She has helped transform organizations and people through process improvement, human capital planning and large project leadership for more than 22 years. She earned a Doctor of Health Education (DHEd) from A.T. Still University, Master of Business Administration from GCU, Master of Arts in adult education from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science in justice studies from Arizona State University. More important than anything is her love of God and family. She is married to Dr. Ronald Thompson, owner of two dental practices (Mesa and Scottsdale), and they have three sons - Kale, Colbe and Brennan. Dr. Farmer-Thompson is an author and is publishing her first book, "I Still Have My Tiara," which helps women to understand their God-given value even through the chaos of life.


Kelly Palese

Vice President of Faculty Operations

Kelly Palese has 15 years of experience in higher education working in both student and faculty development, as well as teaching. Ms. Palese has trained, coached and mentored hundreds of instructors and continues to conduct research in the area of online instructional best practices. She has a BS in secondary education and an MAEd in educational counseling. She is currently pursuing a PhD in psychology.

Dr. Kimberly LaPrade

Dean, College of Education

Prior to her current role, Kimberly LaPrade, PhD, served GCU as associate dean, College of Education (2008-10) and technology program chair and assistant professor (2007-08). Dr. LaPrade earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in English writing and sociology in 1990 and her Master of Education in secondary education in 2000 from GCU. She then completed her PhD in educational leadership from Capella University in 2008. Dr. LaPrade holds secondary teaching (7-12) and principal (K-12) certificates from the State of Arizona and was an educator in K-12 schools for more than 20 years.

Her areas of concentration include teaching English to urban high school students and technology to educators. Her areas of research interest include best teaching and assessment practices, instructional leadership, education administration and online learning. Currently, Dr. LaPrade's research focus is in the area of assessment and reflection in online instruction, where she is scheduled to present "Reflection from Multiple Lenses: Using, Teaching, and Assessing Reflective Practice in Small and Large Teacher Education Programs" at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education conference this spring.


Dr. Michael Berger

Dean, College of Doctoral Studies

Michael Berger, EdD, joined GCU in 2004. Previous to his role as dean, Dr. Berger oversaw development of curriculum and instructional material for GCU. His dissertation focused on instructional techniques that online faculty can use to better connect with their students. He has presented at numerous conferences on the subjects of higher education assessment, online learning and virtual doctoral education. Dr. Berger earned bachelor's and master' degrees from the University of Dayton, and he received his EdD in organizational leadership from GCU.

Dr. Randy Gibb

Dean, Colangelo College of Business

Randy Gibb, PhD, joined GCU in July 2014 and currently serves as the dean of the Colangelo College of Business. Dr. Gibb has 26 years of operational U.S. Air Force leadership and academic administration experience, as well as his own entrepreneurial endeavors. His background includes leading the U.S. Air Force Academy's Behavioral Science & Leadership Department, helping establish a human systems integration degree program at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, OH, as a senior military professor and serving at Arizona State University as an associate professor and chair of the Human & Environmental Systems Department. 

Additionally, he started his own consulting practice and is co-founder of a software-as-a-service start-up technology company. Dr. Gibb has extensive experience in leadership development, leading organizations and strategic change. He has published and presented in various academic journals and conferences on those topics. He completed his Air Force career in 2012 as a colonel and command pilot. Dr. Gibb, originally from Wisconsin, earned his PhD and Master of Science in industrial engineering - human factors from Arizona State University. He also has a Master of Arts from the U.S. Naval Command & Staff College in Newport, RI, and was a distinguished graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1986.


Dr. Jason Hiles

Dean, College of Theology

Jason Hiles, PhD, joined GCU in 2013. He is a graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design where he received a BFA in sculpture in 1998. He also earned an MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2001 and a PhD in systematic theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2008. Upon graduation from Southeastern, he was appointed assistant professor at Louisiana College and later named associate dean of the Caskey School of Divinity. Dr. Hiles is a member of the Evangelical Theological and Evangelical Philosophical Societies.

Claude Pensis

Dean, College of Fine Arts and Production

Claude Pensis has been a faculty member at GCU since 1982 during which time he has also been theatre chair and artistic director. Mr. Pensis has also served for 1.5 years as a faculty associate for Arizona State University as their lighting instructor. He is a native of Wisconsin and received a Bachelor of Science degree in theatre from the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh and a Master of Fine Arts in stage direction from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. As either a director or a light designer, Mr. Pensis has been involved in more than 400 stage productions and has received numerous local theatre awards and nominations. He is a member of the Stage Lighting category of the United Scenic Artists, Local 829.


Dr. Mark Wooden

Dean, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Mark Wooden, PhD, earned a Bachelor of Science in wildlife conservation biology and a PhD in biology with a focus on integrative and comparative environmental physiology from Arizona State University. In addition to previously serving GCU as the dean of the College of Health Sciences and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he has held a variety of administrative positions at GCU, including department chair of math and sciences.

Dr. Wooden possesses experience teaching in the field as professor of biology, adjunct faculty, teaching associate and guest lecturer at several universities in Phoenix. His vast knowledge has afforded Dr. Wooden the opportunity to teach an array of fascinating biology classes such as human anatomy and physiology, endocrinology, pathophysiology and developmental biology.

Dr. Sherman Elliott

Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Sherman Elliott, EdD, started with GCU in January 2011 as a faculty member in the College of Education where he served for a year and a half as chair of secondary education. Since 2013, Dr. Elliott has served as the assistant dean and recently acting dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Prior to joining GCU, Dr. Elliott held the positions of assistant clinical professor of secondary education and director of the Center for Civics Education at Arizona State University.

Dr. Elliott received his doctorate in teaching innovation and leadership in 2009 from Arizona State University. He holds a BA in government and an MA in theology from the University of San Francisco. Dr. Elliott has served as an executive board member for the Arizona Council of the Social Studies and serves as a leader reviewer for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and a judge for National History Day. Dr. Elliott's research interests include effective strategies for teaching religious studies objectives in social studies courses, Holocaust education and adolescent moral development.


Dr. Lisa Smith

Dean, College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

Lisa Smith, PhD, RN, CNE, served GCU as assistant dean of the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions prior to her appointment as dean. Previously, she taught for 10 years in a pre-licensure nursing program in South Florida. Before academia, Dr. Smith spent 20 years in hospital nursing, 15 of those years in managerial and executive leadership positions including chief nursing officer with a for-profit hospital system, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA).

Dr. Smith has been a registered nurse (RN) for 32 years, and has earned BSN, MSN and PhD degrees. She also holds national certification as a certified nurse educator (CNE) with the National League of Nursing. Additionally, Dr. Smith has two published articles on nursing simulation, one on the influence of virtual world and high fidelity simulation when teaching critical skills, and the second article on "Substitution of Clinical Experience With Simulation in Prelicensure Nursing Programs: A National Survey in the United States."

Board of Directors

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Brian E. Mueller has been serving as our chief executive officer since July 1, 2008, as a director since March 2009 and as the president of GCU since Sept. 1, 2012. Mr. Mueller has been serving as the president of the Grand Canyon University Foundation, a foundation formed to benefit public charities, since its formation in 2010 and as the president of LOPE Kingdom Fund, an entity formed to provide seed funding for entrepreneurial ventures initiated by GCU students, since its formation in 2014. From 1987 to 2008, Mr. Mueller was employed by Apollo Education Group, Inc., a for-profit, postsecondary education company and the parent company of the University of Phoenix, serving between January 2006 and June 2008 as its president and a director. Mr. Mueller previously served as the chief operating officer of Apollo Education Group, Inc. from December 2005 to January 2006; as chief executive officer of the University of Phoenix Online, a unit of the University of Phoenix, from March 2002 to November 2005; and as chief operating officer and senior vice president of the University of Phoenix Online from May 1997 to March 2002. From 1987 to May 1997, Mr. Mueller held several positions in operations management for Apollo Education Group, Inc. From 1983 to 1987, Mr. Mueller was a professor at Concordia University. Mr. Mueller received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and a Master of Arts in Education degree from Concordia University.

Director

Sara R. Dial has been serving as a member of our Board of Directors since March 2013. Ms. Dial was previously a member of the Board of Trustees at Seattle Pacific University. Ms. Dial has served as president and CEO of Sara Dial & Associates, an economic development consulting firm specializing in site selection and government relations since 1996. She has led high profile economic development initiatives in Arizona including the creation and implementation of an urban revitalization model, the "Discovery Triangle" and the restructuring of Arizona's statewide economic development organization under Gov. Jan Brewer, resulting in the creation of the agency now known as the Arizona Commerce Authority. From 2002 through 2003, Ms. Dial also served as the chief executive of Social Venture Partners Arizona, a philanthropic foundation using a venture capital approach to giving. In 2004, Ms. Dial was elected as chairman of the board of Social Venture Partners Arizona. From 1993 to 1996, Ms. Dial served as the director of the Arizona Department of Commerce, having previously served as the finance director from 1991 to 1993. Prior to her work in the public sector, Ms. Dial worked in the investment banking industry at Rauscher Pierces Refsnes, Boettcher and Company and Kemper Securities Group, focusing on municipal finance. Currently, Ms. Dial is a director for Mobile Mini, Inc., a publicly traded provider of portable storage solutions, and she also sits on the local and national advisory boards of BBVA Compass Bank. Ms. Dial is a graduate of Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations.

Director

Kevin F. Warren has been serving as a member of our Board of Directors since September 2012. Mr. Warren has served as a senior officer for the Minnesota Vikings, a National Football League franchise, since 2005 and currently serves as the club's chief operating officer, with responsibility for day-to-day business operations. Prior to joining the Vikings, from 2003 to 2005, Mr. Warren worked with the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig, which included working with the Wilf ownership group during its acquisition of the Vikings. From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Warren served as senior vice president of business operations and general counsel for the Detroit Lions. Prior to that time, Mr. Warren worked with the St. Louis Rams, as vice president of football administration in 2001 and as vice president of player programs and football legal counsel, from 1997 to 2000. Mr. Warren earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from GCU and, in March 2012, was inducted into the GCU Athletics Hall of Fame. Mr. Warren also earned his master's degree in business administration from Arizona State University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Law.

Director

Jack A. Henry has been serving as a member of our Board of Directors since November 2008. Since 2000, Mr. Henry has served as the managing director of Sierra Blanca Ventures, LLC, a private investment and advisory firm. From 1966 to 2000, Mr. Henry worked as a certified public accountant for Arthur Andersen, a national accounting firm, retiring in 2000 as the managing partner of the Phoenix office. Mr. Henry currently serves on the boards of directors and audit committees of several private companies and is president of the Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors. Mr. Henry received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan.

Director

David J. Johnson has been serving as a member of our Board of Directors since November 2008. From 1997 to 2006, Mr. Johnson served as chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of Directors of KinderCare Learning Centers, Inc., a for-profit provider of early childhood education and care services, and from 1991 to 1996, he served as president, chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of Directors of Red Lion Hotels Corporation, a hotel company, each of which were portfolio companies of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Prior to that time, Mr. Johnson served as a general partner of Hellman & Friedman, a private equity investment firm, from 1989 to 1991; as president, chief operating officer and director of Dillingham Holdings, a diversified company, from 1986 to 1988; and as president and chief executive officer of Cal Gas Corporation, a principal subsidiary of Dillingham Holdings, which was also a portfolio company of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., from 1984 to 1987. Mr. Johnson currently serves as a director of Red Lion Hotels Corporation. Mr. Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Southern California.