José Luis Cruz, Ph.D., who currently holds the position of executive vice chancellor and university provost at The City University of New York will become the 17th president of NAU after an unanimous vote of approval from the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR).

In a press release, ABOR Chair Larry Penley voiced his confidence in Cruz to become the next leader of NAU.

“Dr. Cruz has an extraordinary record of academic leadership, and I am confident he is the right leader to build on NAU’s success and ensure a bold and boundless future for this beloved and historic university,” Penley said. “He is a proven innovator in higher education who keenly understands the enormous opportunities that NAU offers as well as the challenges facing higher education. His unsurpassed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, coupled with a long track record as a leading national advocate to improve educational outcomes for all students — especially those who have historically been underserved — will serve Arizona and NAU well.”

Previously, Cruz served as provost of California State University, Fullerton. He is a former vice president of higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust in Washington, D.C. and a former chief student affairs officer for the University of Puerto Rico system. 

In the press release, Cruz thanked ABOR for the selection to become the next NAU president.

“I am honored that the Arizona Board of Regents has selected me as the finalist for the position of president of Northern Arizona University,” Cruz said. “Rima and I are very much looking forward to joining the proud Lumberjack family, serving the Flagstaff community and the peoples of the great state of Arizona. We truly believe a bold and boundless future is within reach.”

Cruz will visit the NAU campus Friday and meet in virtual and limited in-person settings with students, faculty, staff and community leaders. He will share an address at 4:45 p.m. via a livestream.