Ashish Vaidya will join Growing Inland Achievement (GIA) as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, following an extensive nationwide search process.
INLAND EMPIRE, CA – GIA today announced Dr. Ashish K. Vaidya as the incoming President and CEO to further the organization’s mission of increasing educational attainment and economic success in the Inland Empire. His appointment will begin on January 10, 2024.
Dr. Vaidya’s career includes serving as President of Northern Kentucky University and other key roles at California State University, Los Angeles, St. Cloud State University, and California State University, Channel Islands.
Dr. Kim Wilcox, Board Chair of GIA and Chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, stated, “Dr. Vaidya has a proven track record of fostering regional economic development, enhancing student success, and building strong community partnerships. His extensive experience in higher education and commitment to regional collaboration make him an ideal leader for GIA.”
As a Senior Fellow at the American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU), Dr. Vaidya has been at the forefront of national initiatives, including leading a project focused on articulating why postsecondary institutions must be intentional about serving multiple communities in the regions where they are placed.
Dr. Vaidya interacts with students at NKU. Photo provided by NKU.
Dr. Vaidya’s appointment comes at a crucial time for GIA, as the organization supports major initiatives such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Intermediaries for Scale initiative, where GIA facilitates institutional self-assessments, guidance, and technical assistance for Inland Empire colleges.
Ann Marie Sakrekoff, who has served as the interim President and CEO of GIA since May, expresses enthusiasm about Dr. Vaidya’s arrival, stating, “Dr. Vaidya’s rich background in higher education and experience with collective impact and leading regional initiatives perfectly aligns with our organizational needs and regional mission. I look forward to working collaboratively with him to build on regional successes and continue to drive equitable student success in the Inland Empire.”
Dr. Vaidya, who holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Davis, is eager to take on the role, stating, “I am thrilled to join GIA and eager to support a bold agenda of accelerating educational and economic equity in the San Bernardino and Riverside region. My son was born in the city of Upland in San Bernardino County and we have strong ties to the Inland Empire. It is a privilege to return ‘home’ and be of service to this dynamic region. This consequential work takes a united network of leaders across sectors working collectively to improve outcomes. Together, we can be an example to the nation on how to advance regional educational and economic success.”
Growing Inland Achievement (GIA) serves the Inland Empire region of Southern California—the 12th largest metropolitan statistical area in the U.S., including over 4.7 million residents and over one million students. GIA supports a regional cross-sector network of education, government, nonprofit, and business partners, collectively working to achieve a shared vision of educational and economic success. GIA’s shared vision is that by 2035, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties will be widely recognized for their educated workforce, thriving communities, and vibrant economy that creates prosperity for all.