AUSTIN, TEX. (May 6, 2019) — Civitas Learning announced the appointment of Chris Hester as the company’s chief executive officer today. He joins a deeply experienced leadership team and adds more than twenty years of success in the development of software and tools that enable healthcare professionals to apply data-driven insights to practices that improve patient outcomes, at scale.
Since launching in 2011, Civitas Learning has made five U.S. and international acquisitions and earned recognition as one of the fastest-growing companies in Austin, growing 10x over the last four years. The company’s pioneering work with colleges and universities continues to deliver outcomes for a diverse cross section of institutions. Just last month the University of South Florida, an early Civitas customer, received the prestigious American Council on Education (ACE)-Fidelity Award for Institutional Transformation for its use of analytics to embrace a “culture of care,” improve first-year retention and graduation rates, and close equity and achievement gaps for diverse and low-income students.
With Hester’s addition to the team, founder Charles Thornburgh will continue to apply his decades of education technology expertise in his new role as chief strategy and innovation officer, concentrating on product vision and market strategy. Thornburgh has also been elevated to the role of vice chairman on the company’s board of directors.
“Chris has had tremendous success in scaling transformative analytics and workflow solutions in other industries, and I am thrilled to help bring his skills to bear on solving the unique challenges of higher education,” Thornburgh said. “As a former first-generation, non-traditional student, Chris also understands the challenges faced by so many of the students we support at Civitas. I know he’ll apply that passion and urgency to our work and mission.”
Hester previously served as president of Kinnser Software, developer of workflow tools for clinicians that integrate insights from longitudinal patient data into healthcare practices that transform how care is delivered to over 798,000 patients every year. As founder of the company, Hester led the development of the firm’s pioneering AI platform, now used by post-acute healthcare providers to understand, quantify and improve patient outcomes.
“What has always struck me about the team at Civitas Learning is their deep commitment to the mission, students, and institutions that they serve,” Hester said. “Charles and team created a platform that enables institutions to translate historically siloed data into tools that can be used by faculty, advisors, and students on the frontline of the student success movement. I can’t wait to work with him to build on the company’s success and help take it to the next level.”
“The Civitas founders’ higher education expertise combined with Chris’ track record of taking businesses to scale will enhance the company’s positive impact on students,” said Jason Brein, partner at Francisco Partners. “Chris’ commitment to the company’s mission will benefit both the Civitas Learning team and the institutions they serve.”
Earlier this year, Civitas Learning announced a growth investment from Francisco Partners, which will enable the continued integration of recent acquisitions AdviseStream and ClearScholar and further expansion of the Civitas platform — including accelerated growth and acquisitions.
About Civitas Learning®: Civitas Learning’s student success intelligence platform leverages each institution’s unique data to help them chart the best course to improved outcomes for students. The platform is grounded in unparalleled work in data science, built into workflows with integrated applications, and implemented on site with seasoned strategic service teams. Today, Civitas Learning works with 375 colleges and universities, serving nearly 8 million students. Together with their growing community of customers, Civitas Learning is making the most of the world’s learning data to help graduate a million more students per year by 2025.