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August 02, 2016

Zora Mulligan appointed new Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education appointed Zora Mulligan as Missouri’s new commissioner of higher education Wednesday, Aug. 3.

Mulligan replaces David Russell, who retired Feb. 29. Deputy Commissioner Leroy Wade has served as interim commissioner since March 1.

The commissioner of higher education leads the Missouri Department of Higher Education, the administrative arm of the Coordinating Board.

“Zora has wealth of knowledge about Missouri’s higher education system,” said Brian Fogle, chair of the Coordinating Board. “Her leadership will be vital to our continuing work to increase the percentage of Missourians with a college degree or certificate to meet the state’s need for a skilled and knowledgeable workforce.”

Mulligan previously worked at the department where she served as assistant commissioner, general counsel and legislative liaison from 2007 to 2010. She was the executive director of the Missouri Community College Association from 2010 to 2014. Most recently, she served as chief of staff for the University of Missouri system.

Originally from West Plains, Mulligan earned a bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology from Drury University in Springfield and a master’s degree in education and juris doctor from the University of Kansas.

Mulligan will begin her duties as commissioner of higher education on Aug. 29.

She assumes leadership of the department as it begins to implement a new coordinated plan for higher education, approved earlier this year by the Coordinating Board. The plan, Preparing Missourians to Succeed: A Blueprint for Higher Education, focuses on helping Missouri reach its Big Goal for Higher Education – for 60 percent of working age adults in the state to earn a two- or four-year degree or professional certificate by 2025.