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Mellon Fellow Dan Porterfield to Lead the Aspen Institute

(Photo by Mike Miville/courtesy the Aspen Institute)

The Aspen Institute, a non-partisan think tank for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas, has named Dan Porterfield as the new president and CEO. Dr. Porterfield is currently the president of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and will succeed Walter Isaacson in June of next year. He is a 1989 Mellon Fellow in the Humanities.

During his seven years leading Franklin & Marshall, Dr. Porterfield was instrumental in raising the school’s profile and developing programs to attract more low-income and students of color through programs like the Next Generation Initiative. Nationally, Dr. Porterfield helped found the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, called the American Talent Initiative, which aims to enroll 50,000 more high-achieving low-income students in leading institutions by 2025. A proven and outspoken advocate for change in equality in higher education, he was a 2016 recipient of the White House Champion of Change Award.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Dr. Porterfield explained the importance of the Aspen Institute’s mission: “I think Aspen’s work is needed more than ever. We have to have a table that people can gather around, to share perspectives and ideas and to translate those ideas into action.”

Before leading Franklin & Marshall, Dr. Porterfield worked as senior vice president for strategic development at Georgetown University. While there, he fostered relationships between the university and D.C. public schools and established programs for area students, immigrant children, and at-risk youth. He holds B.A. degrees from Georgetown and Oxford University, earned his Ph.D. at the City University of New York Graduate Center, and is a former Rhodes Scholar.


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