A senior vice-president at Georgetown University today was named the new chief of Lancaster's Franklin and Marshall College.

Daniel R. Porterfield, who will step down as Georgetown's senior vice president for strategic development, will officially be installed as F&M's 15th president on Mar. 1, though the transition will begin next month, an F&M spokeswoman said.

Porterfield replaces John Fry, who resigned from F&M in March to become the president of Drexel University.

Porterfield has taught English at Georgetown since 1997, and last year he served as interim athletic director for the Hoyas.

Before his tenured post at Georgetown, he was a senior aide to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala.

Porterfield has received high praise for teaching excellence at Georgetown and won two of the school's highest honors. This year, he was accorded the School of Foreign Service Faculty Excellence Award and in 2008 the Edward Bunn, S.J., Award.

F&M officials said they picked Porterfield for his managerial talent, personal magnetism, and strategic vision.

"Dan Porterfield proved so extraordinarily appealing, so talented and so incontestably right for F&M . . . it became almost immediately clear who would be our inevitable choice," said F&M's chairman of the board, Lawrence I. Bonchek.

When asked about the challenges F&M faces, Porterfield pointed to maintaining the institution's reputation for academic excellence and keeping it affordable for the school's 2,120 full-time students.

"There's no doubt that the cost of tuition is an American challenge and each college and university must take responsibility for it," Porterfield said. "How to finance that challenge is a major priority. It requires containing costs, limiting tuition growth, increasing fundraising - especially for financial aid and always investing in academic quality."

His immediate priority, however, is "joining the community and contributing to the positive momentum of the past decade that John Fry and others have created here. "

Porterfield was recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship and studied in England alongside George Stephanopolis, who remains a friend. The Baltimore native earned his Ph.D. in English from The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. He received a bachelor's degree in English from Georgetown and subsequently earned a second bachelor's degree from Hertford College at Oxford University.

He is married to Karen A. Herrling, an advocacy attorney in state and local enforcement of immigrant rights. They have three school-age children.

Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.