Harlan Sands

President, Cleveland State University


Harlan Sands is a highly regarded and widely respected higher education leader with extensive experience at urban research universities. He has a proven track record of advancing academic excellence, empowering faculty, championing research and aligning strategies and operations to meet the emerging needs of higher education in the 21st century. He brings 30+ years of experience as a higher education thought leader, academic administrator, business process transformer, teacher and student advocate.

He was appointed by the Cleveland State University Board of Trustees to serve as the University’s seventh President, effective June 1, 2018. Prior to joining Cleveland State, Sands served as Vice Dean of Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also held leadership roles at the University of Louisville, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Florida International University.

Prior to his career in higher education, Sands practiced law as an assistant public defender in Miami and served on active duty for more than a decade in the U.S. Navy.