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Rita Cheng

Northern Arizona University
President

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.

Dr. Cheng earned a Ph.D. in management from Temple University's Fox School of Business and Management, an MBA from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor’s in business administration with honors from Bishop‘s University in Quebec.