Capella University chancellor to retire next month

Michael Offerman, president emeritus and chancellor of Capella University, will retire at the end of September, according to an announcement by Capella's parent company.

Offerman served as president of the Minneapolis-based online university from 2001 to 2007. He will remain president emeritus.

Here are more details from the Capella press release:

“Mike Offerman’s vision and dedication helped establish Capella as a leader

in higher education,” said Kevin Gilligan, chairman and CEO of Capella

Education Company. “Mike is a nationally respected voice because he has been

unafraid to challenge the status quo and push for increased accountability and

transparency across higher education. Mike’s focus on outcomes and adult

education has helped make Capella University what it is today. We wish Mike

well in his much deserved retirement,” Gilligan concluded.

“The last 10 plus years at Capella University has been a wonderful and

exciting gift,” said Offerman. “Few people have an opportunity to help create

a new university of any kind let alone one that is pioneering innovation in

serving adult students online with a strong commitment to high-quality

learning outcomes. The thing that inspired me to come to Capella after more

than 20 years in more traditional universities was the passion that I saw

demonstrated every day by Capella learners, faculty and staff. The amazing

thing is that the passion remains as strong today as the first time I

encountered it. I move on to the next phase of my life with a sense of pride,

joy and gratitude for having the opportunity to be a part of the Capella


“The best representation of Mike Offerman’s legacy at Capella is the thousands

of adult learners who have improved their lives thanks to a Capella University

degree,” said Deborah Bushway, PhD, interim president of Capella University.

“This Saturday when Capella graduates from around the world walk across the

stage at the Minneapolis Convention Center to receive their degree, they will

be a living testament to Mike Offerman’s leadership. I look forward to

continuing a great relationship with Mike going forward.”

Offerman has an extensive background in adult and distance learning and will

continue to be a frequent speaker at national conferences on these topics. He

has led a national consumer information and accountability effort for colleges

and universities serving adult students at a distance known as Transparency by

Design, which publishes the website College Choices for Adults. Prior to

joining Capella, Offerman held continuing education leadership positions at

the University of Arizona and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He

was also dean of the Division of Continuing Education at the University of

Wisconsin-Extension and founding executive director of the University of

Wisconsin Learning Innovations Center. Offerman received a Bachelor of Arts in

History from the University of Iowa, a Master of Science in Higher Education

Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a Doctor of

Education in Educational Policy Studies at Northern Illinois University. He

has served on a number of national boards including the American Council on

Education, the University Continuing Education Association, and the editorial

board of Change Magazine.


Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.