Rasmussen College Board of Directors


An innovator of higher education, Rasmussen College is a career-focused, private college that specializes in offering the most in-demand degree programs in a highly supportive, student-centered educational environment.  Rasmussen College offers market-relevant programs from the certificate and diploma level through the Associate’s and Bachelor’s level online and across its 24 campuses in the Midwest and Florida to more than 15,000 students. By combining its expertise in career development with high academic standards and with unparalleled student support services, graduates of Rasmussen College leave with the most up-to-date knowledge, the skills that employers look for, and the tools to succeed in their chosen field.  Since 1900, the primary focus at Rasmussen College has remained constant: student achievement is of the upmost importance, the employer who hires its students continues to be a valued partner, and Rasmussen College is dedicated to being a primary contributor to the growth and development of the communities it serves. 

  • Board of Directors
  • Leadership Team

Rasmussen Board of Directors

  • Henry S. Bienen
  • J. Michael Locke
  • Herman Bulls
  • John A. Canning, Jr.
  • Faris F. Chesley
  • James E. Cowie
  • Gerald A. Gagliardi
  • Stanford J. Goldblatt, Esq.
  • Bernard Goldstein
  • Robert E. King
  • Thomas M. Slagle
  • John C. Staley
  • Kristi A. Waite
Henry S. Bienen

Chairman, Rasmussen College
Education: Cornell University, BA with Honors; University of Chicago, MA, Ph.D.

Dr. Bienen is the President Emeritus of Northwestern University and the author or editor of 18 books and numerous articles. He was Dean of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor.

Dr. Bienen was awarded an Honorary Degree from Northwestern University. He is a Presidential Councilor at Cornell University — Cornell’s highest honor. He was awarded the Carnegie Leadership Award in Higher Education.

J. Michael Locke

Education: DePauw University (BA in economics), Harvard University (JD with a focus on corporate law), Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management (MBA with majors in finance and entrepreneurship)

Mr. Locke currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Cancer Research Foundation, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (formerly CCA), and the McDermond Center Advisory Board of DePauw University. Previously, Mr. Locke was the Senior Vice President of Collegis, Inc., a provider of technology services to colleges and universities. Prior to Collegis, he was Chief Financial Officer of Eduprise, Inc., a pioneer in the e-learning market serving higher education.

Herman Bulls

Education:United States Military Academy at West Point, Harvard Business School

Mr. Bulls is an International Director at Jones Lang LaSalle and Founder and Chairman of the Public Institutions Business Unit which provided integrated real estate services to governments, higher education and nonprofit entities. He is a former assistant professor of finance and management at West Point and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the West Point Association of Graduates. A retired Army Colonel, he is a graduate of the Army’s Airborne and Ranger Schools and serves on several corporate boards including USAA, Exelis and Comfort Systems, USA.

Thurston R. Manning, Ph.D.

Education: A.B., Denison University; J.D., Duke University

John A. Canning, Jr. is a Co-Founder and Chairman of Madison Dearborn Partners ("MDP"), one of the most experienced and successful private equity investment firms in the United States. Prior to co-founding MDP in 1992, Mr. Canning spent 24 years with First Chicago Corporation, most recently as Executive Vice President of The First National Bank of Chicago and President of First Chicago Venture Capital. He has more than 32 years of experience in private equity investing. Mr. Canning is currently a Vice Chairman and a member of the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University.

Faris F. ChesleyDirector
Education: DePauw University (BA in economics), Golden Key Honorary Society

Mr. Chesley is the Chairman of Chesley, Taft & Associate’s, LLC, an independent employee-owned investment management firm in Chicago. Prior to starting the company in 2001, Chesley served as Vice Chairman of ABN AMRO Incorporated, successor to The Chicago Corporation, and Vice President and Director of Prescott, Ball & Turben, Inc.

Mr. Chesley is an independent trustee of the Henderson Global Funds, a London-based mutual fund complex with more than $100 billion in assets. He also currently serves as Chairman on the Investment Committee of the Presbyterian Homes. Other activities have included serving on the DePauw University Alumni Board and as trustee of the Hadley School for the Blind.

James E. Cowie

Education: B.A., Colby College; MBA, Stanford University

Mr. Cowie is a Managing Director at Frontenac Company, a Chicago based private equity firm. Mr. Cowie invests in business services and technology-enabled solutions. He represents Frontenac on the boards of Diversified Maintenance and Wausau Financial Systems in addition to Rasmussen. He has also led or co-led several other Frontenac investments, including 3E Company, Collegis, Gevity HR, Premier Systems Integrators, Systems Maintenance Services, and US Servis among others. He joined Frontenac in 1988 from Merrill Lynch Capital Markets. Mr. Cowie is a Life Trustee of the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Trustee Emeritus of Colby College.

Gerry Gagliardi

Education: Syracuse University; Stanford University

Mr. Gagliardi is currently a Managing Partner of NetWolves Corporation. Prior to his appointment to the Rasmussen College Board of Directors, he served as a member of the Business School Advisory Board at Rasmussen College, where he became familiar with the school’s vision to remain a leader in providing higher education. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of TelMar Corporation, a telecom product and technology provider. Mr. Gagliardi’s role as a Managing Partner at Lyme Technology, LLC, combined with preceding leadership positions at Unisys Corporation, Inacom Corporation and NCR Corporation, has lead to years of management and leadership expertise.

Thurston R. Manning, Ph.D.

Education: B.A., magna cum laude, Harvard College
LL.B., magna cum laude, Harvard University

Stanford J. Goldblatt, Esq. is Of Counsel, Winston & Strawn LLP. Mr. Goldblatt has served as head of its private equity practice. He is a Trustee Emeritus of The University of Chicago, a Trustee of the University of Chicago Medical Center, and Chairman of the Cancer Research Foundation.

Thurston R. Manning, Ph.D.

Education: University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University

Bernard Goldstein is a founder of Broadview International LLC, an investment bank serving the information technology industry. Mr. Goldstein currently serves as a Trustee for the University of Pennsylvania Library, the Charles Babbage Foundation and is a past director of Apple Computer.

Robert E. King

Chairman, Rasmussen, Inc
Education: Northwestern University, B.S. in Business Administration

Mr. King has spent his career building businesses with a focus on the application of technology to education. He has participated in the formation of five companies. One of these companies was an early pioneer in the development of video/computer-based self-instruction and another in the use of the internet to deliver degree-based programs.

For his work in the application of technology to education, Benedictine University awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Benedictine University, the Academy for Urban School Leadership, the African Wildlife Foundation, and Northwestern University Wildcat Athletics Venture Enterprise (NU/WAVE) fund. He is a member of The Commercial Club of Chicago and The Economic Club of Chicago.

Thomas Slagle

Chief Executive Officer, Rasmussen College
Education: University of Toledo

Thomas Slagle is Chief Executive Officer of Rasmussen College and based out of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Prior to joining Rasmussen College, Mr. Slagle was President and Chief Operating Officer for School Specialty, a leading K-12 supply and supplementary materials provider, where he oversaw more than $1 billion in annual revenue and all operational activities. Before entering the education industry, Mr. Slagle spent 23 years in the healthcare field with Johnson & Johnson, Baxter Healthcare, and Cardinal Health in various leadership positions, with domestic and international scope. Upon leaving Cardinal he was Group President of the $7.5 billion medical segment.

Thurston R. Manning, Ph.D.

Education: College of the Holy Cross, DePaul University School of Law

John C. Staley is the former Managing Partner of Ernst & Young’s Lake Michigan Area where he was responsible for the audit, tax and consulting practices. Mr. Staley served with Ernst & Young for 36 years spanning offices in New York, Brussels and Chicago. In addition to Rasmussen College, Mr. Staley is currently the Chairman of the Board of Hospira Inc., Director of Mattersight Corp., and a Member the Board of Trustees of DePaul University where he is a past Chairman.

Kristi A. Waite

President, Rasmussen College
Education: B.A., Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Board of Directors appointed Ms. Waite the President of Rasmussen College in 1997. Her family has owned Rasmussen College for three generations. Her grandfather purchased the College from Walter Rasmussen in 1945, and her father and uncle acquired the College in 1961. Ms. Waite and her father purchased Aakers College of Grand Forks, North Dakota and subsequently moved the campus to Fargo, North Dakota (now Rasmussen College – Fargo/Moorhead). President Waite has chaired the Minnesota Career College Association and is active in legislative issues affecting higher education in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota and Florida. In February of 2007, she was awarded the Upsize Lifeline Award developed for leaders dedicated to helping other leaders by "throwing a lifeline."

Rasmussen College Leadership Team

To contact a member of the leadership team, call 888-549-6755

President, Rasmussen College
Kristi Waite

Chief Executive Officer, Rasmussen College
Tom Slagle

Chief Academic Officer
Trenda Boyum-Breen, Ph.D.

Chief Financial Officer
Brent Dobsch

Senior Vice President of Compliance and Financial Services
George Fogel

Vice President of Student Affairs
Tawnie Cortez

Senior Vice President of Admissions Services
Don Devito

Vice President of Admissions and Student Experience
Dwayne Bertotto

Regional Admissions Vice President
Lisa Douglas

Regional Vice President
Eric Whitehouse

Senior Regional Vice President
Greg Witte

Campus President
Douglas Gardner

Vice President of Academic Affairs and Program Leadership
Matt Petz

Regional Admissions Vice President
Eric Tepper

Vice President of Career Services and Public Benefit
Tamryn Hennessy

Vice President of Human Capital
Wayne L'Heureux

Vice President of Nursing
Joan Rich

Vice President of Academic Affairs – Operations
John Smith-Coppes

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