President, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB)
Richard Legon became AGB’s fourth president in 2006 following his several assignments with the association. Prior to joining AGB, Rick served in local and national government, as well as in national association positions. He also served as the first fundraiser for a small college in Chicago.
During his presidency, AGB has enhanced its leadership role in recognition of the heightened focus on board and institutional governance. Rick has led the association in high profile initiatives in recent years, mostly focused on policy issues challenging higher education’s unique form of governance, as well as urging a new level of board and presidential collaboration.
The association’s release of the report of its National Commission on The Future of Higher Education Governance calls upon boards to engage in “consequential governance” following the commission’s seven specific recommendations. The report is a call to action for boards and institution leadership to strengthen higher education during a time of change. AGB is committed to advancing the recommendations of that report.
Rick also led the association’s successful three-year effort to persuade the Securities and Exchange Commission to provide board members with an exclusion to its proposed changes in the definition of a “municipal advisor” as part of the Dodd-Frank legislation to address Wall Street reforms. AGB’s leadership in this effort helped to save the structure of higher education board governance and retain its independence.
Under Rick’s leadership, AGB has taken the lead on such issues as intercollegiate athletics, education quality and outcomes, conflict of interest, external influences impacting higher education independence, conflict of interest, risk assessment, state threats to institution independence, and others. In 2010, he led the launch of AGB Search, which quickly became a leader in new approaches to selecting and developing higher education leadership. In 2015, along with AGB’s Board of Directors, he introduced the association’s newest enterprise, AGB Institutional Strategies, an AGB auxiliary that focuses exclusively on the business and operational challenges facing universities and colleges.
Rick has written extensively about board governance—in AGB’s Trusteeship magazine and other AGB publications, and in other association magazines. He is also the author of AGB’s Margin of Excellence, a work that addresses the governance of institutionally related foundations.
He has led hundreds of board retreats and workshops and is a regularly sought-after voice on higher education leadership issues.
Rick, who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from George Washington University as well as an honorary Doctorate from the University of Charleston (West Virginia.), currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College. He formerly served on the Board of Visitors of Virginia State University.