Cynthia D. Shapira is chairwoman of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors.  She initiated complete system redesign toward the goals of access and affordability, closing attainment gaps, ensuring financial sustainability, and promoting excellence in public higher education system governance.  She is a former vice chair of the Brandeis University board of trustees and former trustee of Point Park University.  She serves on the Allegheny County Airport Authority board and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Cindy was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania in 2017, City & State’s 2022 Pennsylvania Fifty Over 50, and City & State’s 2022 Higher Education Power 100. 

Cindy was the founder and chairwoman of the Southwestern PA United Way’s 21 & Able Initiative to address the needs of youth with varying abilities aging out of special education and to promote a right and entrée to work agenda.  She was Honorary Chair of Allegheny County 365, a project to dramatically increase inclusion and access for individuals of varying abilities in Allegheny County.

Her community work included chairing the Advisory Board of the Pennsylvania Center for Women In Politics at Chatham University.  Cindy also has served on the boards of trustees/directors of the Pittsburgh Promise, United Way of Western Pennsylvania, Point Park University, and WQED Pittsburgh.  She is past chairwoman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and past vice-chair of the Jewish Federations of North America.

Cindy served as a vice-chair of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's transition team and worked on the Governor's Advisory Board on Education and Workforce Development. She was appointed by Governor Tom Corbett to the Pennsylvania Commission on Women.  She was an Elector in the 2012 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Electoral College and on the 2014 Federal Judiciary Selection Panel for the Western Pennsylvania District.  


Cindy will receive a doctorate in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania in August 2022.  She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. from Wellesley College.  She was a management consultant for over twenty years in the education and non-profit sectors with KPMG and then executive vice president of Pappas Consulting Group, Inc.  Representative clients included two state public higher education systems, the University of Massachusetts System, the University of North Caroline System, Loyola University (Chicago), Sonoma State University, SUNY Maritime, Grinnell College, Western Carolina University, Northern Michigan University, University of Kansas, St. Paul’s School, UNICEF USA, and the National Council of Churches.