Round Rock, TX – Trellis Foundation, a public charitable organization focused on improving college attainment for low-income students and students of color in Texas, has announced the appointments of Dr. Mark Milliron as chair and Ms. Dora Ann Verde as vice chair to its board of directors. Dr. Milliron will assume the role of chair from Dr. Richard Rhodes, who will now serve as the immediate past chair.

Dr. Rhodes, chancellor of the Austin Community College District, served as the Trellis Foundation’s inaugural chair from 2017 to 2021. His tenure has been marked by his thoughtful deliberations and commitment to ensuring equitable access and outcomes for all students, as well as a significant expansion of awarded grants in areas such as holistic student support, streamlining student pathways, and reconnecting learners. In the foundation’s strategic plan development, Dr. Rhodes championed the organization’s explicit commitment to racial equity, and during his tenure, the foundation awarded $11.5 million to more than 50 distinct grant partners across the state of Texas. Additionally, the foundation’s endowment has grown to $257 million, providing support for ideas, strategies, and resources aimed at improving and increasing the educational success of students.

“Dr. Rhodes’ vision and commitment have shaped the Trellis Foundation in ways that will impact higher education in Texas for years to come,” said Kristin Boyer, executive director. “The organization reflects his belief in the value of education beyond high school for every student who aspires to achieve it. We could not be more grateful for his leadership.”

Beginning in January, Dr. Milliron will take over as the chair of the Trellis Foundation Board of Directors. Dr. Milliron currently serves as senior vice president of Western Governors University (WGU) and executive dean of the Teachers College, the nation’s largest college of education. Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 131,000 students nationwide and has more than 257,0000 graduates in all 50 states. In previous roles, Dr. Milliron served as the co-founder and chief learning officer of Civitas Learning; deputy director for postsecondary improvement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; founding chancellor of WGU Texas; endowed fellow and director of the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development at The University of Texas at Austin; vice president for education and medical practice with SAS; and president and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College. He is a member of numerous boards and advisory groups.

In addition, Dora Ann Verde will be transitioning from secretary of the board to vice chair. Ms. Verde is a Certified Public Accountant with a private practice in San Antonio serving a variety of nonprofit clients, prior to which she served as chief of internal audit for the San Antonio Water System and partner in a public accounting firm. Her community involvement currently includes board service for many nonprofit organizations including ACE Academy in Northeast Independent School District, National Association of Corporate Directors, WINGS, San Antonio 100, and Trellis Company. She also serves as a corporate board member and chair of the audit committee for a privately held corporation.

A complete list of Trellis Foundation’s board of directors is available at

About Trellis Foundation

Trellis Foundation advances equitable educational opportunities in Texas by supporting postsecondary programs, practices and systems that reduce disparities and lead to success for low-income students and students of color. More information is available at