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Seasoned Leader with Extensive Experience Spanning Higher Education, Private Sector and Government to Head University of Maryland University College Supporting Organization

ADELPHI, Md. (April 19, 2017) - Michael Roark, an executive with more than 25 years of experience in senior level positions across higher education, the private sector, and government, has been named chief executive officer of UMUC Ventures. Mark Gerencser, chairman of the organization’s Board of Directors, announced the appointment effective April 17, 2017.

“Michael Roark’s depth and breadth of experience as a leader in driving innovation and performance are the attributes we sought to propel the success of UMUC Ventures,” said Gerencser. “Just as important, his dedication and commitment to education have been clear throughout his career and match perfectly with the mission of UMUC.”

Roark takes the helm of the non-profit, 501(c)(3) supporting organization created by University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and formed in 2016 under the leadership of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. UMUC Ventures serves as a holding company for enterprises with the potential to generate revenue that will help build the university’s endowment and reduce the cost of a UMUC education for Maryland residents.

“UMUC Ventures is an innovative and exciting approach to making college affordable,” said Roark. “I am eager to bring the immense talents of UMUC staff to the broader higher education community. My sincere thanks to Ventures Chairman Mark Gerencser and the Board of Directors, to USM Chancellor Robert Caret and Board of Regents Chair James Brady, and to UMUC President Javier Miyares, for placing their trust and confidence in me and the UMUC Ventures employees.”

UMUC Ventures currently has one subsidiary company, HelioCampus, an analytics firm spun off from the university in 2016. HelioCampus offers data analytics technology and services for a fee to institutions of higher education across the nation. The new company is on target to meet its goals this fiscal year.

“UMUC Ventures represents a bold step forward for a Maryland institution that is widely respected and nationally recognized for innovation,” said USM Board of Regents Chair James T. Brady. “We welcome Michael Roark as he takes the helm of UMUC Ventures and charts a course that can benefit the university, the USM, and our state.”

“Increasing access to higher education in Maryland is among our highest priorities,” said USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret. “With an exclusive goal of turning proceeds into scholarships for Maryland residents, UMUC Ventures will serve as an important catalyst in meeting that challenge. We look forward to supporting Michael Roark in his new role.”

“UMUC Ventures is key to the university’s strategy of achieving sustainable growth and controlling the cost of higher education,” said UMUC President Javier Miyares. “The board’s selection of Michael Roark is a critical step in that process. We welcome his vision and leadership as we pursue new ways of fulfilling our university’s public mission.”

Prior to joining UMUC Ventures, Roark served as a vice president at Strayer University for the past seven years, leading its academic and institutional effectiveness operations. His major accomplishments at Strayer included transforming the academic experience of the lowest performing students, resulting in a nearly 50 percent improvement in one-year success rates for first-time students. Roark also drove a redesign of the math curriculum using adaptive curricula and a tutoring-based pedagogy to eliminate the need for remedial math courses while also moving graduates’ quantitative skills above national averages.

As a presidential appointee in the U.S. Department of Education (2009–2010), Roark served as chief administrative officer to the Deputy Secretary of Education. In that role, he helped to make the core operating processes more consistent across 100 grant programs, which enabled better risk management, policy alignment and program impact.

In four years with AOL (2006–2009), including as chief financial officer for AOL Europe, Roark restructured operations into a unified global organization spanning three continents and reducing costs by more than 50 million Euros. In addition, he supported the company’s transformation group and partnered with operating executives to expand audience, deepen usage and improve monetization.

Roark served as chief financial and administrative officer at The Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of the Arts and Design in Washington, D.C. (2001–2005). During his tenure, the regionally accredited college enrolled 3,000 students and the museum welcomed some 300,000 visitors a year. He oversaw an institutional budget of $22 million and a portfolio that included information technology, human resources, retail operations and food service, as well as facilities and security.

As a consultant and project leader at the Boston Consulting Group (1996–2001), Roark worked in the media, technology and consumer goods sectors, where, among other engagements, he built an acquisition strategy in the computer training industry and start-up plans for a manufacturing company and an e-commerce company.

Roark earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford University and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


UMUC Ventures is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) supporting organization created by University of Maryland University College. UMUC Ventures serves as a holding company for revenue-generating opportunities that will help build the university’s endowment to maintain the affordability of a high quality UMUC education for adult learners in Maryland and around the world. HelioCampus, an analytics company launched in 2016, is a subsidiary of UMUC Ventures.


A pioneer in distance education since 1947, University of Maryland University College is a world leader in innovative education models, with award-winning online programs in workforce-relevant areas such as cybersecurity, biotechnology, data analytics, and information technology. Now celebrating its 70th anniversary, UMUC offers open access with a global footprint and a specific mission—to meet the learning needs of adult students whose responsibilities often include jobs, families, and military service. Today, UMUC is harnessing the power of learning science and technology to deliver high quality education that is accessible, affordable, and valued. UMUC is a constituent institution of the University System of Maryland (USM) and is governed by the USM Board of Regents.

UMUC Contact: Bob Ludwig (301) 887-7614

UMUC Ventures Contact: Katy Herr (202) 521-7917