Dr. Neal King has served as senior executive, licensed psychologist, board member, college president, psychotherapist, professor, school counselor, businessman / entrepreneur and officer in multiple professional organizations.
Neal King’s career as an educator began at the age of 21 – as a high school English teacher, guidance counselor and Dean of Students at a Catholic high school in Northern California. This was after deciding his freshman year at Saint Mary’s College of California not to pursue the priesthood—and his senior year against enrolling in law school. His secondary level experience includes schools in London (UK), Laos, and Algeria as well as Northern California.
King went on for graduate study at UC Berkeley, where he completed his MA (1983) and PhD (1985) in Counseling Psychology—and served both pre- and post- doctoral internships in the university Counseling Center.
Beginning in 1987, King spent five years as a lecturer (while maintaining a private practice as a psychotherapist) at Sonoma State University, in the masters in counseling program. From there, he joined the core faculty in a similar program at JFK University, where he was soon asked to lead the effort to design and implement the university’s first doctoral program, which led to the degree of Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). These efforts were successful, and King served as the founding program director. He achieved the rank of Professor of Psychology at JFKU.
After five years at JFKU, Dr. King accepted the position of (founding) Associate Dean of what today is the Phoenix (AZ) campus of Argosy University. While there, he was asked by the founder and chairman of Argosy Education Group (AEG) to serve—in preparation for the then approaching IPO—as founding Dean/CEO of AEG’s first campus in California—which today is Argosy University Orange County (CA).
Dr. King was with Argosy from two years before it went public to two years before it merged with Education Management Corporation (EDMC)… a fascinating time in his professional development and formation.
Following his four years with AEG, the opportunity presented itself to serve as Provost and VPAA for Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design (RMCAD) in Colorado, and to (successfully) lead the college’s initial accreditation efforts with the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD). RMCAD, then a true community of “creatives”—artists and designers—allowed Dr. King to integrate his deep love of the visual arts with his academic expertise. RMCAD has since merged with Full Sail University.
Seven years with Antioch University—where he resonated deeply with Antioch’s storied dedication to social justice and cultural competence—followed Dr. King’s tenure at RMCAD. He was the first Academic Dean at the New England campus (AUNE). Soon into this new role, he was asked by the university chancellor to serve as Interim President for AUNE after a failed presidency there. He served in this capacity for sixteen months, leading efforts in strategic planning and open systems of communication with campus and system constituents. He also served on the finance board of a local school district and the New Hampshire state board of Campus Compact during his time at AUNE.
From AUNE, King accepted the Academic Dean position at the Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) campus (returning to his boyhood home) while remaining a part of the Antioch University system.
Oddly, history repeating itself, the AULA campus presidency failed as well and Dr. King was asked to step in, first as Provost / VPAA / COO and then, after endorsement by campus constituents, as president. In this role, he also served as a system Vice President and officer of the corporation, and was charged with developing AULA’s first campus Board of Trustees, reflecting changes then being effected in the university’s system of governance. During his time at AULA, Dr. King successfully transformed a $1M deficit into a $7M surplus, and facilitated the development of a new MA program in Urban Sustainability.
During his time at AULA, King was invited to join the Executive Board of California Campus Compact, and became active with the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) first as member of the Executive Committee (2009-) and Secretary-General (2011-2012), then as president (2012-2014—after the untimely death of his predecessor), and Chair of the Boar of Directors (2014-2017).
In late 2010, Dr. King was recruited for the position of president of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP), a small, insular/alternative, not-for-profit graduate institution founded in 1975.
This being a “turn around” / “disruptive leadership” role, King was tasked to facilitate significant change and help integrate the school into the wider culture of contemporary Higher Education. He was asked by the board and school community to collaboratively transition the school from an insular, single-discipline graduate institute to a fledgling university, by changing the name, introducing undergraduate study, strategic marketing, and international partnerships.
These initiatives were all successfully implemented within a three year period; ITP became Sofia University (SU) in 2012. Historically not-for-profit, SU offered both on campus and hybrid online/face-to-face programs, plus a very full Public Programs menu of lectures, workshops, films, performances, exhibitions and certificate programs—established during King’s tenure. In mid-2014 the university was acquired by private investors and is now being operated by them as a for-profit institution.
Throughout his career, Neal has championed clarity of vision, collaboration, transparency, cultural competence, sustainability, shared governance, and open communication as core values.
Having decided that it was time to apply lessons learned and whatever wisdom he may have acquired in the course of his career, Dr. King established Red Turtle Consulting, LLC in 2014, with an emphasis on assisting individuals, couples and organizations at time of life transition.
Dr. King provides leadership today as community volunteer and Executive Committee member and President Emeritus of IAUP and Advisory Board Member for the Association of Universities of Asia and the Pacific (AUAP). He and a colleague are co-Editors of Strategies for University Management, which was published by Business Expert Press in 2016.
On the more personal path: King is an avid photographer, writer and international traveler; he and his partner have made their home once again in the Southwest, where they lived in the late 1990s. Having lost their two beloved Springer Spaniels, Jack and Dugan, after many years and adventures together, they are accompanied today by Fenway, a 10-year-old rescued Springer Spaniel, and Bentley, a 6-year-old rescued mixed breed.
Neal’s first job—as a young man of 15—was as a dishwasher for a salty older Scandinavian gentleman who had a restaurant in San Pedro, California, where Neal attended fifth grade through high school. This became the first of many restaurant jobs for the future Dr. King, and while he went on to play almost every role in the business, he never lost his appreciation or respect for the dishwasher.
He worked in a wide range of restaurants, from casual fare to fine dining, bussing tables to management… most notably at Chez Panisse Café and Santa Fe Bar & Grill and STARS restaurants while a graduate student at UC Berkeley.