Mark Becker is president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), a membership organization that fosters a community of university leaders collectively working to advance the mission of public research universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
The association’s membership consists of more than 250 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations focused on: increasing access, equity, completion, and workforce readiness; promoting pathbreaking scientific research; and bolstering economic and community engagement. Drawing on the powerful collective action of its members, the association’s advocacy arm helps shape federal policy that maximizes the positive impact of public and land-grant universities. APLU’s members span across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico.
Becker, who became president of APLU in September 2022, came to the association with a deep knowledge and appreciation of the association, having previously served as a member of its Board of Directors and as Chair of the Board for the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, which has a permanent partnership with APLU – something for which he was a vocal and leading advocate.
Prior to leading APLU, Becker spent more than three decades at many of the different types of universities that comprise APLU’s membership, having served as a post-doctoral fellow, professor, dean, provost, and president at flagships, land-grants, and urban serving institutions.
Most recently, Becker served as president of Georgia State University from January 2009 to August 2021. He led the transformation of Georgia State from a formerly little-known “commuter school” into one of the nation’s premier urban research universities. During his tenure, Georgia State was one of the fastest growing research universities in the nation as sponsored awards more than doubled, and the university became a widely recognized national leader in the introduction of innovative programs and initiatives to foster student success. Under Becker’s leadership, the university became one of the most diverse universities in the U.S., led the country in eliminating disparities in graduation rates based on race, ethnicity, or income, and was first in the nation among nonprofit institutions in graduating Black students. Georgia State’s consolidation with Georgia Perimeter College in 2016 brought the university’s student enrollment to more than 50,000, making it the largest university in Georgia.
Becker’s data-driven approach to advancing the university became a hallmark of his tenure as was his work to ensure the benefits of the university were felt by all. His engagement with community, business, and government leaders, along with the university’s growing footprint in the city, helped revitalize downtown Atlanta while fostering a deep engagement with the greater region.
Prior to assuming the presidency of Georgia State University, Becker served as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of South Carolina from 2004 to 2008. He served as Dean of the School of Public Health and later Assistant Vice President for Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response at the University of Minnesota. He began his career with fellowships, post-doctoral appointments, and faculty positions at Cornell University, the University of Washington, University of Florida, and University of Michigan. Becker has been a Principal Investigator on research funded by National Institutes of Health and by the National Science Foundation, and he was a co-investigator on projects supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aetna Inc, and Quality Care Research Fund.
Becker has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being named one of America’s 10 most innovative university presidents by Washington Monthly in 2015, the Academic Leadership Award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 2017, and the Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education from TIAA Institute in 2019. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Becker attended Harford Community College in Maryland, earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Towson State University, and his doctoral degree in statistics from the Pennsylvania State University.