The University Record, July 6, 1999
By Jane R. Elgass
Juan E. Mestas, currently deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has been recommended as the University of Michigan-Flint's next chancellor. The U-M Board of Regents will act on the recommendation at its July 15 meeting. His appointment will be effective Sept. 20.
In recommending Mestas for the post June 28, President Lee C. Bollinger noted that Mestas "is deeply respected at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and in Washington, D.C. He has done a remarkable job at NEH, and the continuing vitality and enhanced stature of the Endowment are due in large measure to his thoughtful administration of day-to-day operations."
Bollinger also noted that Mestas "brings to the position of chancellor tremendous administrative skills, a strong sense of academic quality, and a deep commitment to higher education and its public purposes."
As the second person from the top at the NEH, Mestas was responsible for formulation, development and implementation of policy, and managing the agency¹s budget and expenditures. He also represented the NEH on matters concerning policy, planning, legislation, regulation and funding with other government bodies, higher education institutions, corporations and foundations.
In addition, Mestas helped guide the agency through several years of severe budget cuts and layoffs, while maintaining morale.
Prior to joining the NEH in 1994, Mestas was vice provost and dean of students at Portland State University (199294), managing and providing leadership for the Division of Student Affairs, which was comprised of 17 units. He was active in policy development while serving on the Executive Committee and the Council of Academic Deans. He also was associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature.
Mestas holds degrees in Hispanic languages and literature from the Universidad de Puerto Rico (B.A.) and the State University of New York at Stony Brook (M.A. and Ph.D.). His scholarship has been devoted to study of the 19th-century Cuban poet and author Jose Marti.
He held several posts at California State University, Long Beach, including director, Retention Services and Educational Equity Programs; director, Educational Access Services; director, Educational Opportunity Program and associate director (concurrently), Student Development Programs. He also had teaching and administrative posts at Stony Brook.
An American Council on Education (ACE)/Pew Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in 198990, Mestas contributed to analyses of higher education's "new majority" and the role federal funds play in encouraging the recruitment and retention of at-risk youth. He also participated in public policy discussions and higher education studies sponsored by the Pew Higher Education Roundtable, and aided the Delaware governor's office in conceiving pilot projects to address the state's dropout and underachievement problems.
As a visiting associate at ACE in 199091 he was responsible for several projects in the Center for Leadership Development (CLD) involving policy development, curriculum review, and program planning and implementation for the ACE Fellows Program, Office of International Education and other ACE units. In 1991-94 he was a member of CLD's faculty, teaching courses on leadership, student retention and diversity issues.
Mestas is a member of the Council of ACE Fellows and has held several posts in that organization. He also has been a member of the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel, National Council of Education of Educational Opportunity Associations, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and Raza Advocates for California Higher Education.
His community contributions have included service on the Bernard Daily Educational Fund (Oregon), Portland Downtown Community Association, Abrazar Inc. (senior citizens agency in Orange County, Calif.), LULAC Head Start (Long Beach, Calif.) and San Jose State University Day Care Center.