Ben Cannon Named Chair of State Higher Education Executive Officers Association Executive Committee

Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission Executive Director Ben Cannon was named the chair of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) Executive Committee.

Before serving as chair-elect, Cannon served the SHEEO Executive Committee as treasurer during 2020-21.

“We are excited to have Ben Cannon serve as our Chair this year,” said Dr. Robert Anderson, president of SHEEO. “I have had the opportunity to get to know Ben through his service on the Executive Committee, and look forward to working with him as we advance a higher education agenda that provides opportunity for all students and advances the core tenets of the states and institutions that serve them.”

The Executive Committee is responsible for shaping SHEEO’s federal priorities and strategies and for leading its communications with Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and other federal agencies. 

“I’m so pleased for this opportunity to chair the SHEEO Executive Committee and to work with my counterparts around the country, as well as with the exceptional staff at SHEEO,” said Cannon. “It is critical that state higher education leaders collaborate on issues that directly impact our goals for student success, equity, and more. I look forward to helping ensure that SHEEO continues to serve the needs of its member organizations through research, convenings, and national leadership that enhances the role and promise of higher education.”

SHEEO, the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing boards and coordinating boards for postsecondary education, works to assist its members and states in developing and sustaining excellent systems of higher education.

Cannon has served as the executive director of the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission since 2013. In this position, Cannon oversees state funding allocations, policy-setting, and coordination for Oregon’s higher education system, including community colleges and public universities. Cannon is a former teacher, state representative and education policy advisor to the Governor. Elected three times to the Oregon House of Representatives (2006-2011), he chaired House committees with jurisdiction over environment, energy, and water policy. From 2003 to 2011, he taught humanities at a middle school near Portland. He earned his BA from Washington University, St. Louis, and attended Oxford University, England, on a Rhodes Scholarship, earning graduate degrees in comparative and international education and philosophy, politics, and economics. ​

The full SHEEO Executive Committee is as follows:


Chair: Ben Cannon, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission

Past Chair: Blake Flanders, Kansas Board of Regents

Chair Elect: Sarah Tucker, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

Treasurer: Clayton T. Christian, Montana University System


Brian Bridges, New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education

Shannon Gilkey, Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner

Harrison Keller, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Dennis Olson, Minnesota Office of Higher Education

Ginger Ostro, Illinois Board of Higher Education

Shana Payne, Delaware Higher Education Office

Stephanie Rodriguez, New Mexico Higher Education Department

Aaron Thompson, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education