Cynthia Shapira

Chair, Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors

Cynthia D. Shapira is serving her eighth year as chairwoman of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors.  She initiated system redesign to achieve access and affordability, close attainment gaps, ensure financial sustainability, and ensure excellence in public higher education system governance.

Cindy is vice-chair of the Brandeis University board of trustees and a former trustee of Point Park University.  She also sits on the Wellesley College President’s Advisory Council. She is a member of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges’ board of directors and a commissioner on the Council on Higher Education as a Strategic Asset.

Nationally, Cindy serves on the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council, established to address critical issues at the intersection of education, academia, and homeland security. She co-chaired the subcommittee on School and Campus Safety Considering the Conflict in the Middle East

In Pittsburgh, Cindy serves on the board of the Allegheny County Airport Authority.  She also has chaired the Advisory Board of the Pennsylvania Center for Women In Politics at Chatham University and served on the boards of the Pittsburgh Promise, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and WQED Pittsburgh.  Cindy was the founder and chairwoman of the Southwestern PA United Way’s 21 & Able Initiative to address the needs of youth with varying abilities aging out of special education and to promote a right and entrée to work agenda and Honorary Chair of Allegheny County 365, a project to dramatically increase inclusion and access for individuals of varying abilities.

Cindy was a vice-chair of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s transition team and worked on the Governor’s Advisory Board on Education and Workforce Development. Prior Governor Tom Corbett appointed her to the Pennsylvania Commission on Women.  She was an Elector in the 2012 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Electoral College and on the 2014 Federal Judiciary Selection Panel for the Western Pennsylvania District.

Honors include Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania in 2017, City & State’s 2022 Pennsylvania Fifty Over 50, and City & State’s 2022 Higher Education Power 100.

Cindy holds an Ed.D in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. from Wellesley College.

She was a management consultant in the education and non-profit sectors independently and with KPMG and Pappas Consulting Group, Inc.  Representative clients included two state public higher education systems and several state universities, Loyola University Chicago, Grinnell College, University of Kansas, St. Paul’s School, UNICEF USA, National Council of Churches, and Hadassah, WZOA.