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Founded in 1955, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) is comprised of 85 independent, nonprofit colleges and universities in California. Together, these institutions make up the Independent California Colleges and Universities sector (ICCU).
AICCU works on behalf of the ICCU sector to articulate the principles and priorities of its institutions in the higher education ecosystem of California. AICCU provides a strong and visible presence at the state and federal level, as well as professional development opportunities for its member institutions’ senior leaders.
Meet the AICCU Team
Kristen Soares is the fourth president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. As president, Soares works in partnership with leaders around the state...
Susan Cotton joined AICCU in January 2016 as executive manager. Cotton is responsible for administrative support and financial operations. Cotton is responsible for administrating...
Amber Gonzalez has been the executive assistant to the president at AICCU since 2014. She provides support not only to the president...
Vice President for Government Relations
Alex Graves joined AICCU in January 2019. As vice president for government relations, he is the chief lobbyist and is responsible for legislative advocacy and public policy leadership...
Dir. of Communications & Strategic Initiatives
Danyelle Okamoto joined AICCU in July 2009. As director of communications and strategic initiatives, she is responsible for the development, management, and implementation of...
Susan Reyes joined AICCU in March 2019. As legislative coordinator, she plays a key role in advancing AICCU’s government relations and public policy initiatives...
Director of Research
Randy Tarnowski joined AICCU in May 2019. As director of research, he develops the organizational research agenda and leads the collection and analysis of institutional data...
Vice President for Policy
Thomas Vu joined AICCU in January 2014. As vice president for policy, he develops and manages the execution of AICCU’s agenda on state and federal policy. This includes outreach and engagement responsibilities...
AICCU speaks on behalf of the Independent California Colleges and Universities (ICCU) sector and seeks to strengthen those institutions through collaboration, governmental advocacy, and public engagement aimed at supporting the ability of the ICCU sector to successfully serve students, families, their communities, and the state.
AICCU will be a transformative influence and positive force for change in the California higher education ecosystem through advocacy and leadership at the state and federal levels. The association will support member institutions in their commitment to prepare and empower students to have positive impacts in their communities, the country, and the world. Finally, AICCU will be a valued resource for policymakers, business and community leaders, and the media via our work to advance statewide goals of making college more accessible, affordable, and effective for students, society, and the economy.