Isaak to retire from Midwestern Higher Education Compact presidency

Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) President Larry Isaak announced today (January 8) his plan to retire as MHEC’s president, effective November 16, 2018.

"It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve as the Compact’s president for nearly 15 years. I will leave MHEC knowing it is a vibrant organization offering a vast array of value-added services for its constituents. We look forward to new adventures and spending more time with family and friends,” said Isaak of himself and his wife, Ruth. “Any successes during my time as president are due to a tremendous staff, engaged and supportive governing commissioners from each of the twelve member states, and the hundreds of individuals from institutions and state government who have provided leadership on MHEC’s services.” 

Isaak has overseen extraordinary growth in MHEC’s convenings, programs, research, and contracts. MHEC’s convening and collaboration has led to many programs and activities that produce a variety of outcomes and results ranging from the dissemination of knowledge and expertise about practical solutions, to leveraging the collective purchasing power of the region to achieve efficiencies and savings. Through the use of the Compact’s programs and contracts, education institutions (including public and private not-for-profit), school districts, state and local governments, and students achieved nearly $125 million in annual savings in FY17. MHEC’s research has expanded to inform institutional and state efforts in improving postsecondary policies, practices, and outcomes.

"Larry has been a transformational leader who has produced dramatic and measurable success for the Compact and its member states” said Tim Flakoll, MHEC chair and North Dakota governor’s designee. “His ability to build and grow relationships throughout the twelve MHEC states and nationally has greatly benefited MHEC and our stakeholders, and has been the key to putting MHEC on the regional and national map for its innovative programs and cutting-edge research services."

Dr. Ken Sauer, MHEC vice chair and senior associate commissioner and chief academic officer for the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, noted that efforts during Isaak’s time as president resulted in a significant number of students benefitting from MHEC’s tuition savings program, student health insurance solutions, and other student-related services like online education through the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Sauer added, “The policy research and guidance provided to state education and government leaders has attained a high measure of credibility and usefulness at the state, regional, and national level.”  In FY17 MHEC’s Midwest Student Exchange program served over 11,000 students.

“Larry has been tireless in developing credible working partnerships and engagements with many state and national higher education leaders and organizations,” said Olivia Madison, MHEC treasurer and Iowa governor’s designee.  She added, “His leadership has resulted in millions of dollars of foundation grants to MHEC for services helping students and institutions, including the most recent effort to assist veterans to garner higher education credits for their military experience and training.”

Isaak was selected as MHEC’s president in November 2003 following a nationwide search. He came to the Minneapolis headquarters from North Dakota where he had served as the chancellor of the North Dakota University System for ten years. Isaak has worked in senior level positions in state government and higher education for 44 years. 

About MHEC
Legislatively created, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact’s purpose is to provide greater higher education opportunities and services in the Midwestern region. Collectively MHEC creates solutions that build higher education’s capacity to better serve individuals, institutions, and states by leveraging the region’s resources, expertise, ideas, and experiences through multi-state: convening, programs, research, and contracts. Member states are: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.


Mary E. Roberson
MHEC Director of Communications and Marketing
(612) 677-2765 Office or (612) 805-3396 Cell