Letter from Arizona Business Community and Members

Phoenix, Arizona- December 1, 2023

As representatives of the Arizona business community and members of Grand Canyon University’s many advisory boards, we support GCU in its ongoing challenges with the U.S. Department of Education and its recent decision to appeal the unprecedented $37.7 million fine the federal government has imposed on the university.

The Department’s accusations appear to be retaliation for the university filing an ongoing lawsuit against the Department regarding its nonprofit status and are not validated by either the federal court system, which has already ruled in GCU’s favor twice in a similar matter, or the Higher Learning Commission, which did a comprehensive review of GCU’s programs in 2021.

As industry experts serving on GCU’s 22 advisory boards, we work closely with faculty to shape GCU’s job-focused curriculum. In much the same way that industries need change, so does higher education. In an industry that has seen skyrocketing tuition and student debt levels, GCU has found a model that has allowed it to freeze tuition on its Phoenix campus for 15 straight years and keep debt levels below the national average. Rather than cut programs, services and faculty as many universities have done amidst shrinking enrollments, GCU continues to invest in its academic infrastructure and grow its student body.

Since 2016, GCU has increased its academic offerings from 195 programs, emphases and certificates to 318, vetting those programs through a complex viability phase that includes everything from looking at job projections to the number of open positions and what skills employers are looking for regarding certification or capital requirements. The university leans on industry experts when making changes in job-focused curriculum to ensure students are prepared for specific careers.

In addition, advisory board members participate in small group mentorship, serve as panelists in college speaker series and offer internships and project-based learning experiences to GCU’s exceptionally driven students.

The excessive oversight the DOE is instilling on GCU has potential for negative effects to the state of Arizona and its industries. GCU contributes significantly to our economy, injecting $2.1 billion annually and plays a vital role in addressing our state’s workforce needs because of the way it approaches higher education by putting its students first.

The country needs more institutions like GCU, dedicated to keeping Christian education affordable and expanding access to quality education. GCU works tirelessly to create more pathways — giving people of all socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to seek degrees. We urge you to reconsider the Department of Education's stance regarding GCU and work toward a reasonable resolution.


Sherri James, Superintendent, North Clackamas Christian School

William Haffelder, Supervisor, Tokyo Electron America, Inc.

Jeremy Richards, Principal, Scottsdale Christian Academy

Geoffrey Brown, Superintendent, Northwest Christian School

Darren Wilson, Director, NTT Data Services

Adam Goodman, President and CEO, Goodman’s Interior

Phil Colon, Vice President, Onsemi

Weston Smith, CEO and Founder Lux Manufacturing and Lux Longboards

Melanie Spence, Software Engineer, Cox Automotive

Eric C. Maass, Founder, Six Sigma Experts

J Chen, Chief Development Officer, CFM

Dean Barrett, Senior VP Global Marketing, McDonalds (Retired)

Tony Roybal, COO, Abracon

Tracey Beal, Executive Director, School Connect

Thea Andrade, Superintendent, Phoenix Union High School District

Marci Contreras, Founding Program Director, Franklin Pierce University

Stacey Pynn, Certified Technical Recruiter. Paychex

Nancy Padberg, President & CEO, Catholic Education Arizona

Chris Tinard, Head of Production, Hirestory

Tracey Heisler, Assistant Principal, Notre Dame Preparatory High School

Jim Watkins, Principal, Lee & Associates

Greg DeWinter, VP Engineering, OpenTech Alliance

Fred Meeske, Senior Vice President Rosendin

Nick Schuerman, Executive Director, Victory Colligate Academy

Courtney Martin, Principal, Sonoran Science Academy

Troy J. Bales, Superintendent, Paradise Valley School District

Curtis Finch, Superintendent, Deer Valley Unified School District

Ben Smith, Partner, Health Innovation Team

Lon Bartel, Law Enforcement Training, VirTra

Matt J Doretti, Global Financing, IBM

Diana Dunaj-Kullman, Director, University of Phoenix

David Swisher, Director, GPA Global

Reggie Rice, Adult Ministries Pastor, Christ’s Church of the Valley

Rick Dircks, Executive Vice President, Dircks Moving & Logistics

Rev. Dr. Randall Deal, Sr., Rock Point Church

Paul L. Jackson, Managing Partners, TRL Venture Partners

Mike Kenyon, Vice President, Ambiq

Tamara McDaniel, Producer, Hungry Coyote Entertainment

Rusty Case, Phoenix Independent Film Makers Group LLC.

Danny Kim, Vice Principal, Valley Christian Schools

Beau Lane, Partner and Executive Chairman, LaneTerralever

Michael Andrews, Managing Partner, Andrews & Associates

Mark Luccitti, COO, Lux Manufacturing

Richard Lawrence, Program Supervisor, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Dr. Lupita Hightower, Superintendent, Tolleson Elementary School District

Jeff Larson, Rock Point Church

Bill Borinstein, Senior Pastor, Hope Bible Church

Debra Lawrence, CEO MoezArt Productions, Inc. 

Frank J. Grimmelmann, President and CEO, Arizona Cyber Threat Response Alliance, Inc.

Melissa Holdaway, Director, Arizona Society of CPAs

Felix Garcia Ibanez, Senior Manager, Ernst & Young LLP

Dustin Fennell, Manager, Amazon Web Services

Deb Bond, Security and Compliance Leader, ISSA Chapter

Matt Apodaca, Director, Corbins

Milt Coleman, Intel (Retired)

Jackie Tautimez-Campbell, Manager, Prime Solutions Group, Inc.

Jennifer Mellor, CIO, Greater Phoenix Chamber

Larry Villano, President and CEO, Resilient Health

Peter Hushek, President, Phoenix Heat Treating

Dan Kuiper, Head of School, Valley Christian Schools

Tyler Thompson, Pastor, Redemption Arcadia

Ryan Romeo, Associate Pastor, Living Streams Church

Jay Ennesser, Senior Vice President, Zero Electric Vehicles, Inc.

Dr. Brent M. Hodges, Superintendent, Scottsdale Christian Academy

Gisselle Herrera, Asst. Superintendent, Tolleson Elementary School District 

Joseph M. Smeriglio, Aerospace Engineer, Neeme Systems Solutions

Jane Forte, Director, Covenant Home School Resource Center

Dr. Scott A. Menzel, Superintendent, Scottsdale Unified School District

Kevin Longoria, Chief Executive Officer, RPM-One

Rev. Shane Copeland, Senior Pastor, St. George's Anglican Church

Tim Gast, Principal, Valley Lutheran High School

Mike Barragan, Asst. Superintendent, Glendale Elementary School District 

David Joynt, Senior Pastor, Valley Presbyterian Church

Jason Mitchell, Principal, North Valley Christian Academy Middle School and High School

Chad Lanese, Superintendent, Buckeye Elementary School District

Larry Strohmaier, Grand Canyon Homes Supply

Zel Fowler, President, Arizona Alliance of Black School Educators 

Frank Guebara, Snell & Wilmer

Amy Henning, CEO, Southwest Network

Brian Holman, Executive Director, Empower College Prep

Richard K. Lawrence, Program Supervisor, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Wade McGregor, Field Sales Engineer, Shimadzu Scientific Instruments

Andrew Miles, Field Application Engineer, Radiall USA

Lance Spivey, Police Chief,  St. Johns Police Department

Delores Clemons, Manager, State Farm

Travis Sticka, Vice President, Western States Fire Protection

Steve Krueskamp, IT Manager, Boeing

Reuel Maddela, Manager, PayPal

Steve Gunnerson, President, Nautilus Systems, Inc.

Shawn Boskie, President, Canyon Productions

Pat Olstad, Senior Product Engineer, Sub-Zero Group Inc

Penny Allee Taylor, Consultant, PAT Networking

Jason Klonoski, Board of Directors, Ridgeline Academy Charter School

Carolyn Andrews, Leadership Expert, AMEX (retired)

Brandy Labinjo, Transportation Operations, APS

Jami Woebkenberg, Senior Director, Banner Health

Dr. Lyle Lee Jenkins, Author/Speaker, Lee Jenkins Perfect School

Mitch Laird, Franchisee Owner (Retired), Laird Management

Ashlee Jensen, Director, Arion Care

Jennifer Schrader, President & COO, Caliber

Butch Glispie, Owner, Pono Construction, LLC

Angela Weathers, CEO and President, Train Up A Champion

Dr. Kimberly Guerin, Superintendent, Madison Elementary School District

Robert A. Gray, Leader, Global Information Security

Daniel Gourley, Owner, 5 Words Media

Stephan Cole, Field Trainer, Rosendin

Antonio Garcia, PH.D., Bio and Technology Investor and Consultant

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