Academic and Business Leaders
Board of Trustees
Learn More About the Trident University Board of Trustees
Much like our administrators and faculty, our board members believe in Trident’s legacy of excellence, commitment, and leadership. These board members guide the vision of Trident University International to ensure a bright future for Trident students as well as the institution.
Dr. Bill Pepicello (Board Chair) has been a leader in higher education for 40 years, holding advanced degrees from Brown University. He has addressed audiences nationwide and internationally on the topics of leadership, non-traditional higher education, e-learning, and the changing landscape of American higher education. His experience includes having served as a professor at University of Delaware and Temple University. He also served as the Southern California Regional Dean for National University. As the President of the University of Sarasota, he led the team that transformed that institution into what is today Argosy University, and secured institutional accreditation for the newly formed university. He also served as the Chief Academic Officer for American Intercontinental University. Bill served University of Phoenix for two decades and helped guide the University through the transition from a degree completion institution to a comprehensive university serving students from the associate through doctoral levels. He founded both the College of General and Professional Studies and the School of Advanced Studies at the University. He also was responsible for opening new campuses of the University of Phoenix in multiple states, as well as the expansion of online services. After having served as the Provost, in 2006 Bill became the sixth President of the University of Phoenix, and as such was responsible for the leadership of the largest private university in the United States. He retired in 2014 and has been active in consulting and writing about higher education and leadership. Bill has served on the Arizona Commission for Private Postsecondary Education, under the Office of the Governor for the State of Arizona; was the Chair of the Banner Health Foundation Board; and is the past Chair of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council Board of Directors. Additionally, he served on the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), under the U.S. Department of Education.
Mark Handler (Vice Chair) has over thirty years of diversified global experience in the media sector. He has held leadership and key management roles and has participated on several senior level boards. Mark spent 25 years with The Walt Disney Company and retired in 2009 as Executive Vice President /Managing Director International for the Walt Disney Internet Group in Burbank, CA, a position he held since 2000. Mark was previously President of Disney TeleVentures, 1995-2000, and Senior Vice President Sales and Affiliate Marketing, Disney Channel 1984-1995. From 1978 to 1984, Mark worked in executive roles for Cox Communications. During his long and varied career, Mark spearheaded domestic and international expansion programs, developed several innovative business models and grew start-ups into nine figure revenue bases. He has hired and developed cutting edge talent in major international and domestic territories. Mark was also responsible for the strategic divestiture of Infoseek Japan as well as several acquisitions in the digital space. Mark currently is on the board of DeskSite, a digital video entertainment company. He serves as vice chairman and board member for Colorado Technical University, a for-profit, bricks and mortar/online university with over twenty thousand students. Mark is a board member of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and leads the finance committee for Hope House for the Multiple-Handicapped, Inc. Mark and his wife Priscilla reside in Los Angeles.
Stanley Mengel (Secretary) retired after serving 11 years as President and CEO of the Missouri Council on Economic Education and as a member of the Economics Department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Previously, Mengel was Manager of Public Affairs at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. In Ohio, Mengel was Vice President for Training with Northwestern Mutual Life. Mengel was the Ervin Pietz Professor of Economic Education at Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Director of the National Center of Economic Education for Children. At the University of Akron, Mengel held the Firestone Chair and was Director of the Center for Economic Education and while at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Mengel was Assistant Professor of Economics and later President of the Ohio Council on Economic Education. Mengel was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and a Stanford-Wilson Fellow at Stanford University in the Economics Department earning an M.A. and Ab.D. in Economics. Mengel’s undergraduate work was at the University of Missouri-Columbia where he graduated with General Honors and Departmental Honors in both Economics and in Political Science.
Alton Adams is currently the Managing Director of Boardwalk Consulting, a national executive search firm focusing on non-profits. Adams is an experienced executive who has served a host of mission-based organizations over his career. Presently, he is a member of the executive committees of the Atlanta Chapter of Boy Scouts of America and the Atlanta Humane Society. Past service includes six years on Georgetown University’s Board of Regents as well as board service with TechBridge and the High Museum in Atlanta. Adams is also a thought leader on issues of diversity and inclusion, having been tapped to design and lead D&I efforts at both Accenture and KPMG. A native of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, Adams received his BA degree in Economics from Georgetown University and his MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. At various times in his career, he has lived in Massachusetts, California and Maryland, but he, his wife, Dena Williams Adams, and Bernie, their 120-pound St. Bernard, are proud to call Atlanta home.
Dr. Ronald Godwin has served for more than 20 years at Liberty University in varying executive positions. Dr. Godwin retired as Provost and Sr. Vice President of Academic Affairs in 2014. In these roles, Godwin was the primary voice on academic matters within the administration. He oversaw incredible growth not only in the campus and its facilities, but also in the scope and quality of academic offerings. Over the years, Godwin was instrumental in the development of Liberty’s distance learning program, helping Liberty pioneer online programs for higher education.
In his administrative career, Godwin has held a variety of leadership positions, including two presidencies of private Christian colleges, Executive Vice President of the Washington Times, Executive Vice President of the Moral Majority, President of Liberty Broadcast Network, President of Liberty University Foundation, and Dean of the Helms School of Government and Senior Administrator of Residential Recruiting at Liberty.
Godwin received his B.A. from Bob Jones University, his M.S. from Old Dominion University, and his Ph.D. in Post-Secondary Planning and Management from Florida State University.
Mark Novad has more than 25 years of experience focused on the areas of business operations and human resources. He has held global executive leadership positions at Intel Corporation, II-VI Incorporated and most recently with Education Management. Mark has served on boards of director and as a board advisor. He earned a BS in Journalism and Telecommunications from Arizona State University.
Mark’s expertise lies in all aspects of business operations, specifically the identification and resolution of employee and organizational issues. He has a proven track record of developing effective strategy and managing tactics for successful implementation. Mark has extensive experience in the areas of compensation, benefits, Human Resources Information Systems, employee communications, organizational restructuring, change management and operational improvement in both publicly-traded, privately-held and not-for-profit environments. The majority of Mark’s career has focused on process improvements to position businesses for success, his overriding philosophy is to develop a passion and respect for companies’ most valuable assets – their people. Mark has been intimately involved in the design and implementation of strategic and tactical programs focused on qualitative improvements benefitting both the company and the employee.
Walter Pryor is currently the Senior Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel at Ceannate Corp. Walter is a seasoned legal expert with a background in government relations. His previous positions include Vice President of Government Affairs for Career Education Corp, Principal and General Counsel for the Podesta Group, Legislative Director for Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Deputy Director and Managing Attorney of the National Association of Attorneys General. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Hendrix College, the Board of Directors of Legal Prep Charter Academies in Chicago, the Board of Directors of the Washington Children’s Foundation, and the Board of Trustees of National Collegiate Preparatory Public Charter High School in Washington, D.C. Walter earned his B.S. in Political Science as a cum laude graduate of Hendrix College and received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Stephanie Thurston is a seasoned leader in the for-profit higher education sphere. With nearly 20 years of experience at the executive level, Ms. Thurston has overseen growth in a variety of areas with a special emphasis on strategy and operations. She is currently the Directory of Strategy and Business Operations at Pearson Education. There, her focus is on the North American Higher Education Courseware market. In this role, she uses her extensive background to refine and make available products that meet the needs of students, faculty, and administrators. Prior to coming to Pearson, Ms. Thurston held roles with Education Management Corporation including Vice Chancellor – Strategy and Operations, Vice President – Finance and Associate Vice President – Reporting and Strategic Development. Ms. Thurston is active in her community, working as a mentor with 1871 – Chicago’s Technology & Entrepreneurship Center. Stephanie is an avid runner, and when she is not advancing the cause of Higher Education, she can be found pounding the pavement of one of Chicago’s many trails.