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

Kathryn Laurin

Vice Chairman to the Board of Trustees

Allen Huang, Ph.D.


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 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

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

Michael Zhu


Fu Lei


William Hynes, Ph.D.


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

• 2019-present: Principal Software Engineer at Fortinet. One of the main contributors to Fortinet’s cloud security infrastructure development.
• 2006-2019: Technical Lead at Cisco Systems. Worked for different business groups. As a Technical Lead, she has ownership of multiple deliverables for the business group. She co-ordinated cross-functional group project development and participated in important decision-making for each deliverable.
• Over 20 years of experience in the IT industry, including Fortinet, Cisco, Juniper, Ciena.
• Active in educational circles in the Bay Area.

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

Menglin Cao, Ph.D.


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

Miao Yang


Click to read more about Miao Yang

Geoffrey M. Cox


Click to read more about Geoffrey M. Cox

• Ph.D., The University of Chicago, Philosophy
• B.A., Knox College, Philosophy

Previous Academic positions:
• 07/2016 – present: Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Finance, Graduate School of Education Stanford University, Stanford, CA
• 06/2004 – 12/2015: President and University Professor, Alliant International University, San Francisco, CA
• 09/2000 – 06/2004: President of Cardean University; Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, UNext Llc / Cardean University, Deerfield, Illinois
• 11/92 – 09/2000: Vice-Provost for Institutional Planning, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
• 07/1984 – 06/1988: Assistant to the Vice-President for Business and Finance, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
• 07/1990 – 11/1992: Director, Center for Continuing Studies, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
• 07/1988 – 11/1992: Associate Provost and Director of Financial Planning and Budgets, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

• Lecturer, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

• Lecturer, Humanities Collegiate Division, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
• 1988-89: Instructor, Department of Philosophy, ST. Xavier College, Chicago, Illinois

Board Directorships:
• 2019 – present: Monterey College of Law, Board of Trustees
• 2004 – 2015: Trustee ex officio of Alliant International University and its subsidiaries and affiliates including Presidio Graduate School; The Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma; and St. Luke’s School of Medicine (Mexico City)
• 1999 – 2006: Board of Directors, Cisco Learning Institute
• 1993 – 1997: Board of Directors, Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital

Dr. Daniel Ping Yu


Click to read more about Dr. Daniel Ping Yu

• Ph.D., University of Washington School of Law: Asian and Comparative Law
• LL.M, University of Washington School of Law: Asian and Comparative Law
• GDL, Fudan University.
• LLB, East China University of Political Science and Law.

• 03/2019 – present: Adjunct Professor, Tianjin University School of Law
• 10/2018 – present: Adjunct Fellow, China University of Political Science and Law,
• 05/2008 – 2016: Adjunct Fellow, Beijing Normal University Research Institute of Criminal Law Science
• 06/2000 – 06/2010: Senior Fellow, New York University School of Law US-Asia Law Institute, New York, NY, USA.
o Researched and taught the courses of the Criminal Law and Law & Society in China
• 11/1998 – 10/ 2000: Senior Fellow, Open Society Institute, New York, NY, USA
• 06/1987 – 10/1992: Assistant Professor, Fudan University Department of Law, Shanghai, China

Board Directorships:
• 04/2021 to present: Executive Director, Columbia University Teachers College Education for Persistence, and Innovation Center
• 05/2019 – present: Independent Director, Chuying Nongmu, LLC
• 05/ 2016 – present: Independent Director, STRI Holding, LLC
• 03/2013 – 06/2014: Country Director, American Bar Association (ABA) Rule of Law Initiative China Office
• 07/2010 – 02/2013: Managing Director, UDA Consulting Group, advising Chinese and American corporations in joint ventures

• 02/2014 to 03/2021: Independent Consultant,
• 10/ 2007 – 05/ 2008: Consultant, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
• 09/ 2007 – present: Business Representative, China Capital Investment Group (CCIG) International