Board of Trustees
The Western International University® (West) Board of Trustees is the institutional governing body for the University vested with the oversight of the affairs of the University, including assuring the integrity of academic programs and the conduct of the academic affairs of the University. Learn more about our board members by viewing their biographies below.
Abbie H. Beller, Board Chair
Global Advantage, Inc.
Abbie Beller joined the West Board of Trustees in 2006, served as Vice Chair, and became Chair in 2014. She previously chaired the Board’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee. As president and founder of Global Advantage Inc., Ms. Beller brings more than 30 years of international management experience to her role on the Board.
Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, market entry, and positioning; cross-cultural understanding and negotiations; and global project management. Prior to launching Global Advantage, Ms. Beller held executive management positions with non-profit, educational and for-profit organizations in Arizona, Washington, D.C., California and Europe. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from Elmira College and her Master of Business Administration from Western International University. After graduating, Ms. Beller joined West as a faculty member and later served as Chair of the Management Department, receiving two outstanding faculty awards before retiring from teaching in 2012. She has received a special commendation from the City of Los Angeles for exemplary community service and numerous awards for service to the military community.
Barry Wong, Board Vice Chair
Lawyer, Equal Opportunity &
Community Engagement Professional;
Former Arizona Corporation Commissioner and Legislator
an Arizona-licensed lawyer, native Phoenician and a son of immigrant parents from China has served on the Western International University Board of Trustees for a number of years as an independent member. His law practice experience gives him strength of knowledge in business, finance and government relations.
Further, Barry previously served four terms as a State Representative in the Arizona House of Representatives, and served as a Commissioner on the utility and state securities regulating Arizona Corporation Commission. He is active in many community organizations. Barry holds degrees from Arizona State University, B.S. in Accounting (magna cum laude), University of Arizona College of Law, J.D. and Thunderbird School of Global Management, Global Leadership Certificate.
Tony M. Astorga
SVP & CFO (Retired)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Tony Astorga joined the West Board of Trustees in 2014 and serves on the Finance Committee. Mr. Astorga retired in 2011 from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, where he served as Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer as well as Chief Business Development Officer.
He also served previously as President of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mexico. Mr. Astorga currently serves on the boards of the Arizona Community Foundation, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Catholic Charities, CSA General Insurance Agency, Financial Executives International, GlobalMed, Phoenix Art Museum, and US Bank Arizona, and chairs the AZHCC Foundation. Mr. Astorga is also a member of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Arizona Society of CPAs and has held numerous leadership roles in community and government organizations. He is the recipient of numerous civic and business awards. Mr. Astorga earned his Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Arizona State University and has attended executive education programs at Fuqua School of Business-Duke University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management-Northwestern University, and Graduate Center for Health Professions-University of California San Francisco.
Chief Operating Officer
Apollo Education Group, Inc.
Mitch Bowling serves as Chief Operating Officer of Apollo Education Group. Prior to joining the organization in December 2013, Mr. Bowling held senior leadership roles at industry-leading companies, including Comcast Corporation and The Hertz Corporation.
He most recently served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, New Businesses at Comcast, where he led the company’s entry into the emerging home security and home automation space. Prior to that role, Mr. Bowling served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, High Speed Internet. Mr. Bowling earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Marshall University.
Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President of Investor Relations
Apollo Education Group, Inc.
Beth Coronelli serves as Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President of Investor Relations for Apollo Education Group. She leads the company’s interaction with the investment community and serves as the chairman of the investment committee for Apollo Education Ventures.
Prior to joining the organization in 2011, Ms. Coronelli was the Managing Director of Investor Relations at PrivateBancorp. Previously she served as Senior Vice President at Equity Office Properties and Vice President at General Growth Properties. She also has helped start two entrepreneurial ventures and served as acting director of the University of Iowa Executive MBA Program. Ms. Coronelli received her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Iowa State University and her Master of Business Administration from University of Iowa. She currently serves on the board of Humanity Rising, a non-profit focused on inspiring students to make a difference in their communities through service.
Senior Vice President, Business Development, Corporate Communications and External Affairs
Apollo Education Group, Inc.
Mark Brenner serves as Senior Vice President of Business Development, Corporate Communications and External Affairs of Apollo Education Group. His responsibilities include developing talent solutions for large organizations, directing all activities related to communications and leading external affairs on behalf of Apollo Education Group and its subsidiaries.
Prior to joining the organization in 2010, Mr. Brenner served as Vice Chairman of the Board and Executive Officer of College Loan Corporation. He also has held senior management positions with Fernwood Capital Management, Marshall Morgan LLC and William R. Hough & Co. Previously, Mr. Brenner served as Director of Legislative Affairs and General Counsel for the Education Finance Committee, held staff positions with the House Education and the Workforce Committee and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. He also served as an advisor to New York State Senate Majority Leader Ralph Mariano (R-NY).
Mr. Brenner received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Siena College, as well as a Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School, and currently serves as a National Trustee for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
David J. Kaufman
Thompson Coburn LLP
David Kaufman joined the West Board of Trustees in 2014 and serves on the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. Mr. Kaufman is a partner with the law firm of Thompson Coburn LLP, where he represents clients in mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities offerings, private equity and general corporate matters.
He also regularly advises boards of directors, their committees and officers on their fiduciary duties and other obligations. Mr. Kaufman is a frequent speaker and writer on myriad legal topics and is recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for Corporate/M&A & Private Equity. His civic involvement includes the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations and PAWS Chicago. Mr. Kaufman attended the University of Michigan, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science, a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and a Juris Doctorate from the Law School.
Tracy K. Lorenz
Western International University
Tracy Lorenz is President of Western International University. Since assuming her role in 2011, she has focused her efforts on making higher education affordable and accessible for working adults. Ms. Lorenz previously served as CFO and Vice President of Strategy and Development for West.
Her responsibilities included maintaining the financial health of the organization and guiding the operational leadership team charged with overseeing the student experience from enrollment through graduation and beyond. Previously, Ms. Lorenz worked as Vice President at Career Education Corporation (CEC), where she led the team that opened all of CEC's on-ground campuses as well as the launch of CEC's fully online Art and Design school. Ms. Lorenz also worked in International Accounting at McDonald’s Corporation, and began her professional career at KPMG as an auditor, where she was promoted to run audit engagements in real estate, banking and manufacturing. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Indiana University and passed her CPA exam the same month she graduated. Ms. Lorenz also serves on the board of the Dress for Success Phoenix affiliate.
James L. Ratcliff, PhD
CEO & Chairman of the Board
Rowpar Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Dr. James Ratcliff joined the West Board of Trustees in 2012 and is Chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. Dr. Ratcliff is CEO and Chairman of the Board of Rowpar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In 2014, he was the recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Exporter of the Year Award for Arizona.
Dr. Ratcliff has held numerous academic leadership positions, serving as senior research scientist, professor and director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the Pennsylvania State University and as professor and program head for higher education at Iowa State University. He has authored numerous articles, books, book chapters, patents and patents pending, and has served as a consultant to colleges, universities, NGOs and government agencies on six continents. Dr. Ratcliff is an active member of the Association for Corporate Growth, Arizona International Growth Group, American Education Research Association, Association for the Study of Higher Education, Economic Club of Phoenix, and International Association for Dental Research. He holds a Bachelor of Science in History from Utah State University, a Master of Science in History from Washington State University, and a PhD in Higher Education Administration from Washington State University.