Dr. Elsa M. Núñez served as President of Eastern Connecticut State University from 2006 until her retirement in 2024, becoming the first Latina president of a public college or university in New England. With over 20 years of experience as a senior administrator at institutions such as the City University of New York and the University of Maine System, she significantly enhanced Eastern’s academic reputation, leading it to be ranked among the top public universities in the North Region by U.S. News & World Report and recognized by The Princeton Review. Dr. Núñez was a strong advocate for educational access and success for underrepresented students. Under her leadership, Eastern has achieved an 84% retention rate. She also served as chair of the American Association of Colleges and Universities and on the Board of Directors of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Committed to environmental sustainability, Eastern was awarded "Green Campus" status by The Princeton Review for 14 years and holds a Gold STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Dr. Núñez aimed for carbon neutrality by 2030.

An accomplished author, Dr. Núñez wrote two books, six book chapters, and numerous articles on diversity, equity, and higher education. She will be joining The Harvard University Graduate School of Education as President-in-Residence, teaching public policy in higher education.