Board of Trustees

"Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action, and example."

The Board of Trustees of Sofia University is the corporate body established by the charter with complete responsibility for the government and welfare of the University and all the interests pertaining thereto including students, faculty, staff, and alumni.


In the exercise of this responsibility, the Board is guided by both WASC and ABG and the following policies:

The Board of Trustees shall carry out certain responsibilities as a Board, without delegation. These responsibilities are, in short:

  • The selection of the President of the University
  • The determination of the major goals of the University and the approval of the policies and procedures for the implementation of such goals.
  • The review and approval of the operating and capital budget of the University.
  • Such other responsibilities as law, governmental directives, or custom require the Board to act upon.



The board consists of 9 voting members: 8 independents and 1 affiliates. In addition to the voting board members, there are non-voting members from staff, faculty, and deans. There are multiple committees including the Financial Plan Committee, Audit Committee, Executive Committee, and the Academic & Student Service Committee.



David Figuli, JD

Chairman to the Board

Martin E. Dresner, Ph.D.

Vice Chairman to the Board

Kathryn Laurin

Secretary to the Board

Click to read more about David Figuli

• Juris Doctor, Cleveland State University
• BA, Mathematics Major, Cleveland State University
• American Trial Lawyers Association – National College of Advocacy
• 1987 to present: CEO, Owner Higher Education Group, LLC. An international consulting firm providing consulting services to colleges, universities and educational enterprises. Services extend to management consulting on organizational structures, accreditation, licensing, Title IV Federal student financial aid, financial structuring, faculty personnel policies, intellectual property, and legal management issues
• 2009 to present: Co-Founder, Owner, Education Equities Fund, LLC. Firm originally formed to carry on and expand the scope of operations of Higher Education Group by adding financial engineering and strategic business planning to the services profile and to make strategic investments in small, underdeveloped colleges. Company currently owns Hussian College, Inc. and Academic IQ
• 2011 to present: Owner, Chairman, Hussian College, Inc. An accredited college system composed of 7 physical campuses and an online campus with locations in 5 states serving over 2000 students in programs leading to credentials from the certificate to the master degree levels
• 1987 to present: President, Partner, Figuli Law Group: Private law practice emphasizing the provision of legal services to colleges, universities, educational companies and associations
• 2013 to present: Member, Board of Trustees, Harrisburg University of Science & Technology. A regionally accredited STEM university with over 4000 students offering programs from the certificate to doctoral levels
• 2010-2015: Founder, Principal, University Ventures Fund
• 1983-1998: Co-founder, Officer and Director, Higher Education Group Inc.
• 1987-1995: General Counsel, Regis University, Denver, Colorado
• 1989-1992: Co-owner, Director and Officer, Education Communications Consortia, Inc. A joint venture with NACUBO to provide pay and mobile phone services to students
• 1983-1993: Assistant to the President for Legal Affairs and Graduate Lecturer, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado
• 1987-1992: Co-owner, Officer, Director, Thermo Michigan, L.L.C., Colorado Developed a co-generation power plant in association with a Michigan university
• 1981-1987: Partner, Department Head, Wickens, Herzer & Panza, P.C., Ohio
• 1980-1981: Chief Legal Counsel, Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education, Montana
• 1977-1981: Labor Relations Consultant and General Counsel, South Dakota Board of Regents, South Dakota
• 1975-1976: Legal Counsel and Director of Development, Bethesda Foundation, Nebraska

Professional Recognition:
• Board of Editors of the Cleveland State University Law Review
• 1975: Recipient of 1975 Cuyahoga County Bar Association (Cleveland, Ohio) Exegesis Award for article on Civil Rule of Procedure 60(b).
• Notable Mention, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Vol. 24, No. 3, March 1982; Vol. 28, No. 24, August 1984; Vol. 31, No. 5, October 1985
• Marquis’ Who’s Who in American Law – 1985 Edition
• Marquis’ Who’s Who in Society – 1986 Edition
• Member, Newcomen Society, 1988 – 1989
• Member, Japan American Society, 1990 – 1991

Board Directorships:
• 2019 to present: Chair of the Board of Trustees, Sofia, University
• 2013 to present: Member, Board of Trustees, Harrisburg University of Science & Technology
• 2011 to present: Chair of the Board, Hussian College
• 2000-2002: Board Member, Mount Marty College, South Dakota
• 1997-2000: Board Member, Chair of Facilities Committee, Evergreen Mountain School, Colorado
• 1995-1997: Vice-Chair, Executive Committee Member, Teikyo-Post University, Connecticut
• 1996-1998: Board Member, Executive Committee Member, Marycrest International University, Iowa
• 1993-1995: Board Member, The Carl Corporation, Colorado
• 1990-1992: Vice-Chair, Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, Colorado
• 1988-1992: Council Member, Southeastern College, Florida

Click to read more about Martin E. Dresner, PhD

Ph.D., University of British Columbia, Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration (Policy Analysis). Dissertation: The International Regulation of Air Transport: Changing Regimes and Price Effects
MBA, York University
B.Comm, University of Toronto

2003-present: Professor of Logistics, Business and Public Policy, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.
1995-2003: Associate Professor of Logistics, Business and Public Policy, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.
1998, August: Visiting Professor, University of Bremen, Germany.
1996, January-March: Visiting Scholar, University of British Columbia, Canada.
1989-1995: Assistant Professor of Logistics, Business and Public Policy, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.
1988-1989: Instructor of Transportation, Business and Public Policy, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.
1983-1988: Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant, University of British Columbia, Canada.
1980-1983: Commercial Credit Officer, Toronto Dominion Bank, Canada.

Research Interests
Research has focused on public policy and strategy issues concerning international and domestic transportation and logistics.

Click to read more about Kathryn Laurin

• Hochshule für Musik, Frankfurt, Germany
• Master’s Degree Music with Distinction, Indiana University
• Bachelor’s Degree Music with Distinction, McGill University, Montreal

• 2016-present: CEO, Victoria Symphony where she is responsible for all financial management, artistic programming, contract negotiations, strategy development, fundraising, marketing, communications and HR management
• 2009-2014: President, Camosun College where she held responsibility for a budget of $115 million and staff of 950 and for the development and delivery of applied programs, degrees, diplomas and certificates. Developed successful relations with the community, government, industry and major stakeholder groups. While in that position she achieved a 33% increase in revenue over 3 years
• 2006-2009: President and Vice Chancellor, Mount Saint Vincent University where was accountable for all operations with a budget of $40 Million and staff of 450, responsible for the development and delivery of academic programs, degrees and certificates, and she delivered balanced budgets during a period of unpredictable government funding
• 2005-2006: Vice-President Administration, University of Regina, where she was responsible for the areas of finance, IT, IR, HR and physical plant. She oversaw an operating budget of $120 million
• 1999-2004: Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Regina where she oversaw an operating budget of $5million and staff of 60 and she was responsible for all fine arts academic program development and delivery
• 1994-1999: Chair, Department of Music, University of Regina. In this position she oversaw a $1 million budget and was responsible for day to day operations and delivery of programs and program development
• 1985-206: Professor of Music, University of Regina. In this position she developed and delivered numerous undergraduate and postgraduate courses

Professional Development:
• 2015: Executive Mini MBA, York University Schulich School of Business
• Center of CEO Leadership Member, University of British Columbia’s Saunders School of Business
• Canadian Board Diversity Council Get on Board Training Program for board directors Nova Scotia CEO Forum
• Harvard University Faculty of Education President’s Forum
• Senior University Administrator’s Senior Management Training Program

Board Directorship:
• 2016-2016: Victoria Conservatory of Music
• 2009-2014: Camosun College
• 2006-2009: Mount Saint Vincent University
• 2013-2014: Association of Canadian Community Colleges
• 2012-2013: Post-Secondary Employers’ Association, BC
• 2013-2014: Resource Training Organization of BC
• 2009-2014: Pacific training institute of Sport Excellence
• 2008-2009: United Way Chair of Post-Secondary Division
• 2009: Scotia Festival of Music
• 1999-2004: Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery
• 1999-2003: Sask Film

Awards and Acknowledgements:
• 2008: Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEO’s
• 2005: YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Arts and Culture

Allen Huang, Ph.D.


Michael Zhu


Fu Lei


Click to read more about Allen Huang, PhD

• Ph.D., University of Alabama, Education
• MA, Eastern Kentucky University, Special Education
• BA, National Chenchi University
• 2007-2009: President, University of the West
• 2003-2007: Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs, University of Northern Colorado (UNC)
• 1999-2003: Associate VP for Research and Dean of Graduate School, UNC
• 1997-1999: Dean, College of Education, UNC
• 1995-2007: Executive Director, Bresnahan and Halstead Endowment, UNC
• 1978-2007: Assistant, Associate, Chair and Professor of Special Education Division, UNC
• 1972-1975: Head Teacher, Madison County School of Hope
• 1966-1970: Teacher, Taipei Kuting Jr. Highschool

• 2009-present: President of Global Higher Education Consulting Group. In this position, Dr. Huang supports innovative multicultural education ventures for clients, including Beifang Education Group, China
• 200-present: Advisor, Beifang Group, China

Click to read more about Michael Zhu

• CA, BC, Canada
• BComm, Accountancy, Concordia University, Quebec
• Graduate Diploma in Accountancy, Concordia University, Quebec

• 2017 to present: CFO BEGC Holdings Ltd., Canada
• 2014-2017: Partner, Michael Zhu CA, Canada
• 2012-2014: CFO, Mineral Hill Industry Ltd and Nass Valley Gateway Ltd., Canada
• 2009-2012: Manager in Assurance & Business Advisory Business, Manning Elliott LLP, Canada
• 2006-2009: Senior Research Analyst in Valuation and Business Modelling, Ernst & Young LLP, Canada
• 2005-2006: Senior Accountant, Bessner Gallay Kreisman, S.E.N.C.R.L., LLP, Canada
• 2004-2005: Accountant, Rabinovitch Luciano, C.A. Firm, Canada
• 2002-2003: Accountant, Nasir Akram, C.A. Firm, Canada
• 1997-1998: Stockbroker, Everbright Securities Co., Ltd., China
• 1993-1997: Research Analyst, Jillian Province International Trust & Investment Corp., China

Professional Development:
• 2008 to present: Chartered Business Valuator Program, Canada
• 2006: Chartered Accountant, BC, Canada
• 1999: Canadian Securities Course

Click to read more about Ms. Fu Lei

• Master’s Degree, Calgary University
• Bachelor’s Degree, Tsinghua University

• 2006-present: Technical Lead at Cisco Systems, working for different business groups. As a Technical Lead, she manages her group, co-ordinates between different departments and participates in important decision-making at the company level.
• 20 years of experience in the IT industry, including CYSCO, Juniper and Nortel.
• Active in educational circles in the Bay Area.

William Hynes, Ph.D.


Menglin Cao, Ph.D.


Miao Yang


Click to read more about William Hynes

• Ph.D., University of Chicago: History of American Religious Thought
• M.A, University of Chicago: History of Christian Thought
• M.A. Marquette University: Religious Studies
• B.A. Conception College: Philosophy and English

Previous Academic positions:
• 2016-present: President Emeritus, Holy Names University, Oakland, California
• 2016: Founding Member Higher Education Innovation Group
• 2010-2016: President & CEO, Holy Names University, Oakland, California
• 2009-2010: President Emeritus and Professor of Religious Studies, St. Norbert College
• 2000-2008: President & CEO, Saint Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin
• 1990-2000: Academic Vice President & CAO, Saint Mary’s College of California
• 1982-1990: Academic Dean of the College, Regis University, Denver, Colorado
• 1980-1982: Associate Dean of the College, Regis University
• 1980-1982: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellow at the University of North Carolina – at Chapel Hill
• 1976-1979: Director, Division of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Regis University
• 1975-1976: Executive Director, Colorado Endowment for the Humanities, Boulder, Colorado
• 1972-1975: Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Regis University
• 1966-1972: Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, St. Xavier University, Chicago

Professional positions:
• 2017-present: Founding Partner, High Education Innovation Group, HEIG, Washington DC
• 2016-present: Founding Member, Oakland Promise, Scholarships for College Bound H.S. Seniors
• 2011-present: Founder of the Early Admit Program at Holy Names

Board Directorships:
• 2015-present: Member, Board, Pauline Kael House, Berkeley, CA
• 2010-present: Member, Oakland Dialogue, Business and Education Leaders, Oakland, CA
• 2013-present: Member, Annual Meeting Planning Committee, American Association of Catholic Colleges & Universities
• 2013-present: Trustee and Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, Board, Aliant International University, San Diego, CA
• 2010-2016: Member, Board, California Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
• 2008-2010: Member, Board, Pulaski School District, Pulaski, Wisconsin
• 2004-2007: Member, Commission on International Education, American Council of Education (ACE)
• 2000-2008: Member, Board of Directors, Wisconsin Association of Colleges and Universities (WAICU)
• 2006-2008: President of the WAICU Executive Committee

Click to read more about Menglin Cao

• PhD. In Economics, University of Maryland, College Park
• MA in Economics, University of Maryland, College Park
• BA in Economics, University of Maryland, College Park

• Senior VP with Data Management and Insight Organization at Wells Fargo
• Current: Leader of NLP, Text, and Speech Data Science group in the AI Model Development Center of Excellence, focusing on Natural Language Processing (NLP), Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and cognitive capabilities. Her team builds and delivers AI/ML models and capabilities to lines of business across Wells Fargo
• 2006-2019: Wells Fargo – various leadership roles in Marketing and Risk Organizations across Consumer, Middle Market and Wholesale Businesses
• Teaches “Data Visualization”, a Wells Fargo in-person training course
• Guest lecturer at San Jose State University, California State University at Stanislaus
• Guest lecturer at Berkeley School of Information Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) program
• Veteran guest speaker on California Bay Area’s TV Station KTSF Channel 26

Click to read more about Miao Yang