Sonya Malunda has been appointed as the eighth president of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) by the consortium’s Board of Directors.
On October 2, 2017, Malunda will assume the role of president. She will succeed Christopher Welna, who announced his upcoming retirement in November 2016. Welna has served as president of the ACM since 2006. Today’s announcement concludes the search for the ACM’s next leader conducted by the consortium’s Board of Directors and assisted by the search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates.
“Sonya is an exceptional leader who will make a superb next president for the ACM,” said Steven G. Poskanzer, President of Carleton College and Chair of the ACM Board of Directors. “She will bring to this new leadership post deep intelligence, vision, charisma, and a rare ability to forge connections across organizations and between groups in pursuit of educational excellence.”
Malunda has served at the University of Chicago for nearly 20 years, currently as Senior Associate Vice President for Civic Engagement. In this role, her work focused on building community and civic partnerships. She also specialized in developing college pipeline programs, forming connections to faculty-led community research projects, cultivating student engagement opportunities, and managing local and state government relations. Many of the projects Malunda spearheaded were designed to improve the quality of life on the South Side of Chicago and across the city in areas of education, housing, public safety, business diversity, arts and culture, job creation, civic leadership, non-profit capacity building, and engagement planning for university development projects.
Among Malunda’s many accomplishments, she has served as one of the architects of the University of Chicago’s model of civic engagement, which leverages the institution as an anchor for local neighborhoods and a global center for education, research, and innovation. She led the community engagement campaign along with university senior leaders, community partners, and other key stakeholders to secure the siting of the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South side. Malunda provided leadership in the creation of the UChicago Promise program, which helps Chicago high school students gain access to and succeed in top-tier colleges and universities. She also co-led the creation of America’s Urban Campus, a consortium of 21 higher education institutions in the city of Chicago.
Previously, Malunda also served at the University of Chicago as Associate Vice President for Community Engagement, Assistant Vice President and Director of Community Affairs, and Director of Community and Government Affairs.
“I am honored to serve as the next president of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest,” Malunda said. “For almost 60 years, ACM has helped its member colleges create and sustain a strong set of collaborative relationships and programs. Building on this rich history, I look forward to continuing ACM’s consistent record of success and to moving ACM ahead in new, creative ways.”
Malunda is co-chair of the University of Chicago Diversity Leadership Council and serves on numerous boards and advisory committees, including the Spelman College Alumnae Association, the Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community, the Network of Woodlawn, and High Jump. She is also a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and a Fannie Mae Fellow in Harvard University’s Program for State and Local Government Leaders at the Kennedy School of Government.
Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Malunda was the First Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Housing (DOH), where she worked to develop programs and policies to create and preserve affordable housing and expand home ownership opportunities for Chicago residents. Before her DOH appointment, she had a career in commercial real estate finance at the former First National Bank of Chicago and Continental Bank.
She holds a B.A. in Economics from Spelman College, and a Masters of Management degree in Finance from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management with a concentration in Real Estate and Organizational Behavior.