F&M president, a national leader in expanding college access, takes new post

Franklin & Marshall College President Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D., PHOTO BY Franklin & Marshall College

Daniel R. Porterfield, president of Franklin & Marshall College since 2011 and a national leader on expanding college access to more low-income students, will depart in June to head the Aspen Institute, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on educational and policy studies.

During his six-year tenure, Porterfield has increased access to the Lancaster-based liberal arts college to more students from low- and moderate- income families and assumed a national role in getting other schools to do the same. Now, one in five incoming students to F&M are from low-income families as measured by their qualification for federal Pell grants.

For his efforts, in 2016 he was named one of 11 “Champions of Change for College Opportunity” by the White House.

“An innovative, strategic thinker, Dan brings to the institute an intellectual depth, a commitment to inclusivity and diversity, and an ability to lead a complex, mission-driven organization,” James S. Crown, Aspen Institute chairman, said in a statement. “Dan is a living example of values-based leadership, as he has sought to create impact and make a difference in the world throughout his career. This makes him the perfect leader for this moment in the Institute’s history.”

Porterfield will take on his new role June. 1.

“I could not be more thrilled to be joining the team at the Aspen Institute,” Porterfield said in a statement. “I have seen first-hand how this organization can take a great idea and turn it into something that can have a real impact on society.”

It was through Porterfield’s work to expand access that he got involved with the institute. He is co-leading the American Talent Initiative, aiming to recruit 50,000 talented students from low- and moderate-income families to the nation’s top 270 colleges.

The initiative got initial funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies and is being coordinated by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R.

At Franklin & Marshall, Porterfield started an intensive three-week summer program for promising low- and moderate- income high school students from around the country to try their hand at college work.

A native of Baltimore, Porterfield, earned his bachelor’s degrees from Georgetown and Oxford Universities and his doctorate at the City University of New York Graduate Center. A Rhodes scholar and English professor, he came to F&M from Georgetown.