University Park, IL,
16:33 PM

Governors State President Dr. Cheryl Green: a Fearless Leader in Challenging Times


Dr. Cheryl Green. Passionate. Fierce. Innovative. Committed. Accomplished. Tenacious. Visionary. These are just a few adjectives that describe Dr. Green, the sixth president of Governors State University (GSU).

She took the helm as president during the COVID-19 pandemic in July of 2020, bringing 30 years of experience in higher education to the herculean task of navigating education in a pandemic storm.

Green forged the path ahead by creating COVID-19 testing sites on campus, utilizing the expertise of Governors State University’s College of Health and Human Services' faculty and students. As racial tensions escalated alongside COVID cases, Dr. Green connected with students and listened as they voiced fears and concerns, opening talks to the establishment of a Social Justice Initiative to raise awareness and create solutions to barriers. To highlight the battles already won, Dr. Green brought the Illinois Black Hall of Fame to GSU to celebrate African American excellence in education, politics, medicine, and sports, among other areas.

Under her leadership, the College of Education at GSU has improved access for students seeking early childhood education degrees. For College of Arts and Sciences students seeking law degrees, Dr. Green partnered with her alma mater -  Southern Illinois University Carbondale -  to offer students the opportunity to earn both bachelor’s and juris doctor (JD) degrees in six years. 

Dr. Green also supported the College of Business in its pursuit of the first AACSB Continuous Improvement Review (CIR) visit to maintain accreditation, a distinction held by only five percent of colleges and universities across the world. 

As the university welcomes students back to campus, Dr. Green is proud to announce new student enrollment has increased 20% from pre-pandemic levels.  In addition to enrolling a record number of first-year students, the university experienced a 58.3% increase in fall 2022 compared to fall 2021 enrollments. She calls her work to address socio-economic inequities through education an honor and privilege.

 “We persisted and we prevailed during the recent pandemic, and we can continue to do so, if we focus on our mission and purpose as an institution of higher ed and as uniquely talented individuals,”  Dr. Green said.

Prior to GSU, Dr. Green served as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, as Interim Chancellor for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Tennessee State University.

Green’s commitment to making a difference is also evidenced by her service to the community, which spans the United States and has included serving on ten different advisory boards or boards of directors. Currently, she serves on the Manchester University Board of Trustees, the Association of Governing Boards (ABG) Council of Presidents, the Will County Center for Economic Development Board of Directors, and the Southland Development Authority Board of Directors.

Dr. Green is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, an organization whose mission includes the cultivation and encouragement of high scholastic and ethical standards and service to all humanity. She is also a member of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Will County Black Diamond Chapter. This organization is composed of distinguished women throughout the country who are interested in the well-being of all individuals, youth, and adults, and in the preservation of values significant to wholesome living.

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Green is also the loving mother of two adult children who constantly keep her inspired to believe in the worth and potential of all human beings and to make a difference in the world.