Katy Abel, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
617-994-6932 (office) or 617-429-2026 (cell)
For Immediate Release
March 17, 2013
Carlos Santiago Joins DHE as Sr. Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs; Sean Nelson Named Deputy Commissioner for Administration & Finance
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education announced today that Dr. Carlos Santiago, former Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic College Fund, will join the Department effective April 8 as Senior Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs. The Department also announced that Sean Nelson, former CFO of the Boston Public Library, the nation’s oldest public library, has assumed the position of Deputy Commissioner for Administration and Finance.
Both Santiago and Nelson will work closely with Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland to advance the goals of the Vision Project, the Commonwealth’s strategic agenda to achieve national leadership among state systems of public higher education.
“Dr. Santiago is superbly qualified to take on the challenge of academic leadership within the Department of Higher Education,” said Commissioner Freeland. “His broad academic experience and committed focus on the needs and experiences of underserved students will be enormously beneficial to our campuses and the Department.”
“I am delighted to join Commissioner Freeland and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in implementing the Vision Project and engaging in other activities in support of the citizens of Massachusetts,” said Dr. Santiago. “I look forward to working with the state’s exceptional public colleges and universities to ensure that Massachusetts leads the nation in college accessibility, affordability, and academic excellence.”
Prior to leading the Hispanic College Fund, Dr. Santiago served as Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee for six years. He worked closely with (now former) Governor Jim Doyle to enhance the stature of UW-Milwaukee as the state's 2nd largest research institution. As a result of these efforts, $365 million in public and private investments were secured for new campus construction and other initiatives. UW-Milwaukee also opened two new schools, the School of Public Health and the School ofFreshwater Sciences, and expanded doctoral programs by one-third during Dr. Santiago’s tenure.
Dr. Santiago previously served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University at Albany, SUNY. Before turning to administrative work, he had a
distinguished career as a teacher and scholar at both Wayne State and SUNY Albany,
achieving tenure at both institutions and specializing in labor economics and Latin
American and Caribbean Studies. Dr. Santiago received his Ph.D. in Economics from
Cornell University, and was a Full Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
Sean Nelson, recently named Deputy Commissioner for Administration and Finance, oversaw the Boston Public Library’s $41 million annual operating budget and $15 million capital budget in concert with the strategic planning goals and initiatives of the Library and its board of trustees.
In addition to his four years as CFO at the BPL, Nelson has served as the Chief
Financial Officer for the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety and as a Fiscal
Policy Analyst at the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. A New Bedford
native, he received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst,
and his Master’s in Public Policy from Tufts University.
“I am delighted that Sean has chosen to bring his talents to the Department of Higher Education,” Commissioner Freeland said. “He has both a strong background in state government as well as experience with a major nonprofit institution. This combination of insider experience and outsider perspective will be a major asset as he assumes his new responsibilities.”
“I’m eager to work collaboratively with the campuses, the board, and our legislative partners in advancing the principles of the Vision Project,” said Nelson. “I hope to be a strong advocate for all funding initiatives affecting the campuses. It’s an exciting time to be working in the field of higher education.”