Dr. Abel Antonio Chávez joined Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) as its 10th president in July 2022.
In the short time he has been with OLLU, he has led efforts to secure more than $22 million in donations and grants and raised the profile of the university through more than 300 visits with local, state and national leaders.
A first-generation, first in family, son of immigrants, and bilingual administrator and academic, Dr. Chávez is an integrative leader and learner. He has served in multiple roles in and beyond higher education, allowing him holistic institutional oversight and understanding of the university operation. He has a track record of, and is committed to, conceiving, building, enhancing, and positioning programs in relevant fields, that enhance quality, access, affordability, and completion, while serving the needs of students, families, economies, and campus.
A global leader in community-based energy, material, and greenhouse gas emissions accounting, he has served as lead author on multiple global assessments, has several peer-reviewed works, and has partnered with various local governments and institutions of higher education across the world. His global trajectory includes stops in Asia (India, China, Philippines, Kazakhstan), Europe (Germany, Spain), and Mexico.
As a scientist with a commitment to serving minority and underserved students, Dr. Chávez often mentors and supports student-led initiatives that elevate students, their communities, and their educational attainment goals. He has led several efforts including initiatives for Mexican students through a partnership with the Mexican federal government’s IME Becas program, and one with the State of Colorado for underserved and rural students.
As a recognition of his commitment and service to communities and education, the Mexican Government presented Dr. Chávez with the Ohtli Award, their highest civil honor.
Prior to joining OLLU, Dr. Chávez served as Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success at Western Colorado University. He provided university-wide thought and change leadership to enhance the institution’s portfolio and position through rigorous program-, market-, and strategic-analysis.
Dr. Chávez holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado Denver, an MBA from the University of Houston, and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado Denver.