Larry Isaak


Larry Isaak served as president of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) from November 2003 to November 2010 and was re-appointed in April 2011. During this time, Isaak has helped lead a significant expansion in MHEC activities related to student access and success, policy research, and cost savings initiatives.

MHEC’s cost savings programs and contracts have expanded rapidly – saving states, institutions, and local governments an estimated $123 million annually in FY 2017. Together MHEC's contracts and programs have saved nearly $1 billion since 1991.

MHEC is actively engaged in a number of new and evolving initiatives including health insurance solutions, the Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit, and State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. Additionally, MHEC prepares biennial reports on a number of higher education performance indicators for each of the MHEC member states and is currently pursuing a special policy focus on affordability. Isaak’s leadership highlights MHEC’s mission of advancing education through collaboration and resource sharing through MHEC’s convening of educators, policymakers, and other leaders in ways that foster and promote interstate and inter-sector dialogue, problem-solving, and cost savings. MHEC collaborates with many other national and regional organizations as well as foundations that have generously provided funding to support some of MHEC's initiatives.

Previously, Isaak was the chancellor of the North Dakota University System for nearly ten years and was named chancellor emeritus upon his departure in October 2003. Isaak is credited with guiding collaborative leadership efforts transforming the North Dakota University System through the North Dakota Higher Education Roundtable, proclaimed as a national model for collaborative leadership. Prior to being named chancellor, he served as vice chancellor for administrative and student affairs from 1984 to 1994.

Isaak also worked in the North Dakota Office of Management and Budget, serving both as acting director and as the state executive budget analyst. He also served as the assistant legislative budget analyst and auditor for the North Dakota Legislative Council. Prior to serving state government, he was employed with a private CPA firm.

Isaak has served as chair of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) and as a commissioner to both the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Isaak, a certified public accountant, received both his master's degree and his bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of North Dakota. He also completed the program at the Stanford University Business Management Institute.