George Mehaffy served for 20 years as the Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). There he was responsible for developing and managing programs for almost 400 member institutions in areas such as leadership development, undergraduate education, technology, international education, teacher education and student success. He also worked closely with provosts at AASCU institutions, visiting more than 130 campuses. His division organized a number of national conferences, including two academic affairs meetings annually. In 2003 he launched the American Democracy Project, focused on increasing civic engagement. Notable in his years at AASCU were his projects on student success, including the Graduation Rate Study and Re-Imagining the First Year, supported by more than $ 13 million in external funding.
Prior to AASCU, George had a 19 year career in higher education, first as a faculty member and department chair at Eastern New Mexico University, then serving for 8 years as the Director of the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State, then the largest teacher education program in California. He returned to Eastern New Mexico University as provost for 5 years, leading the initiative that resulted in Eastern receiving the Pew Leadership Award for the Renewal of Undergraduate Education.
He graduated with a BA in History from the University of Washington, taught history and government in high school for 4 years, then earned a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. He also served for 33 years in the Coast Guard Reserve, retiring as a Captain in 2000.