José Luis Cruz began his tenure at The City University of New York (CUNY) in 2016 as the third president of the Herbert H. Lehman College, the only senior College in the Bronx, and was later elevated by the Board of Trustees to the role of Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost for the 25-campus system in 2019. During his tenure, Lehman enhanced its national reputation as an engine of opportunity and the Office of Academic Affairs has registered important accomplishments on behalf of the University’s more than 20,000 teacher-scholars, 26,000 professional staff and 500,000 students and learners.

A leading national advocate for policies to expand opportunities and improve educational outcomes for all students—especially those who have historically been underserved—Cruz is a frequent keynote speaker and writer on higher education issues. He has testified several times before the U.S. Congress, and his work has been covered by major media outlets.

Previously, Cruz served as provost of California State University, Fullerton. He is a former vice president of Higher Education Policy and Practice at The Education Trust in Washington, D.C. and a former vice president of Student Affairs for the University of Puerto Rico system. He began his career as a faculty member in engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, rising through the ranks and serving as chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and dean of Academic Affairs.

Cruz chairs the board of directors of The Education Trust and serves on the boards of the Data Quality Campaign and the Institute for Higher Education Policy. He is also a member of the advisory board of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), the Anchor Institutions Task Force, and the Community Advisory Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and serves on the steering committee of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and is a commissioner on the Postsecondary Value Commission. Previously, he served on the board of directors of the New York Botanical Garden, the Regional Plan Association, and the Association of Chief Academic Officers.

Cruz is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a patented inventor, and a National Science Foundation Career Award recipient. He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering (magna cum laude) from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez and his master’s and doctorate degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Institute of Educational Management.