Foundations and Speakers

Foundations, Presenters, and Facilitators
AARP Foundation
The AARP Foundation is committed to empowering and providing security and protection to those in need ages 50 and older in order to ensure that they live independent lives full of dignity and purpose. The foundation works with local and national organizations to address the most serious issues faced by older Americans—inadequate housing, hunger, loss of income, and isolation—and it does so through direct assistance, legal advocacy, and raising awareness. For additional information, see
Lisa Marsh Ryerson is the recently appointed president of the AARP Foundation. She is leading the foundation to become a significant force for change. Prior to her position at AARP, she was president of Wells College from 1995 to 2013. A champion of excellence in education, she has served on the executive committees of the Council of Independent Colleges, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Her academic and community involvement also have placed her in positions on the NCAA Division III Presidents Council and the North Eastern Athletic Conference Presidents Council. Ryerson earned a bachelor’s degree from Wells College and a master of science degree from the State University of New York College at Cortland.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations
The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations’ founding principle is to fund programs that “strengthen the nation’s future.” Accordingly, the foundations fund institutions and projects across the United States. The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations are active promoters of the value of a liberal arts education. The foundations enthusiastically support private higher and secondary education, graduate theological education, public television, and health care. Within private higher education, the foundations focus on academically strong colleges and universities with four-year residential programs in the arts and sciences. For additional information, see
Nancy J. Cable is president of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. Prior to her appointment at the foundations in October 2012, Cable served as vice president and senior adviser to the president of Bates College; she also served as interim president in 2011–2012. A champion for higher education, Cable previously held positions at the University of Virginia and Semester at Sea as an executive fundraiser, Davidson College as vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid, Guilford College as vice president, and Denison University as both faculty member and administrator. Cable holds an undergraduate degree from Marietta College, a master’s degree in education from the University of Vermont, and a PhD in educational history from the University of Virginia.

Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is dedicated to supporting leaders and institutions to create social change around the world. In doing so, the foundation awards grants to specific projects in broad areas: economic opportunity and assets; democracy, rights and justice; and education, creativity, and free expression. The Educational Opportunity and Scholarship program focuses on transforming secondary education, creating social justice by way of higher education, and meeting the learning needs of students in “underserved communities.” In partnership with other institutions and organizations, the Ford Foundation also supports individuals pursuing advanced degrees. The Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, organized in conjunction with the National Academy of Sciences, strives to increase faculty diversity by providing funding to those who have a commitment to pluralism and teaching and research. For more information, see
Hilary Pennington is vice president of the Ford Foundation’s Education, Creativity and Free Expression program. She leads the foundation’s work on school reform in the United States and higher education around the world. Pennington is a graduate of the Yale School of Management and Yale College. She also earned a master of arts degree in theological studies from the Episcopal Divinity School and a graduate degree in social anthropology from Oxford University. She was a Harvard Kennedy School of Government Fellow in 2000. Prior to her appointment at the Ford Foundation in September 2013, Pennington was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and president and CEO of Jobs for the Future, a research and policy development organization she co-founded. From 2006 to 2012, she served as director of Education, Postsecondary Success, and Special Initiatives at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Henry Luce Foundation
The Henry Luce Foundation is focused on broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership. It seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious, and art communities. The foundation fulfills its mission through grantmaking programs in: American art; East Asia; theology; higher education; religion and international affairs; public policy and the environment; mathematics and engineering; and women in science. It also operates the nationally competitive Luce Scholars Program, a fellowship program geared toward enhancing the understanding of Asia among potential American leaders. For additional information, see
Michael Gilligan is president of the Henry Luce Foundation and a member of CIC’s Board of Directors. Gilligan was elected president of the Henry Luce Foundation in December 2002, having been program director for theology since 1998. He previously served at the Association of Theological Schools (ATS); as academic dean of the Pontifical College Josephinum; and as teacher and administrator in the Catholic Diocese of Columbus. He received a BA from Duke University and a MA and PhD in English from the University of Virginia. He is chairman of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.

James S. Kemper Foundation
The James S. Kemper Foundation was founded on the premise that a college-level education in the liberal arts complemented by experiential education presents the ideal preparation for life and work. Today, the foundation actively promotes this philosophy. Historically a grantmaking foundation, the Kemper Foundation now focuses on operating its Kemper Scholars Program, a 65-year-old program that provides support, internship experience, and networking opportunities to students at 16 liberal arts institutions across the U.S. Through this program, the foundation hopes to foster future leaders who are active both on their campuses and in their local communities. For additional information, see
Ryan LaHurd is president and executive director of the James S. Kemper Foundation. In this position, he oversees the foundation’s largest program, the Kemper Scholars Program. Earlier, LaHurd served as president of Lenoir-Rhyne College from 1994 to 2008. He also has served as vice president for academic affairs at Augsburg College and as an English professor at Thiel College. He earned his PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Lumina Foundation for Education
The Lumina Foundation for Education is focused on increasing success in higher education in the U.S. The foundation’s philosophy is that education is the basis for opportunity, economic vitality, and social stability. It is a fierce advocate for higher education, with a goal of increasing the higher education attainment rate in the U.S. to 60 percent by 2025. To that end, Lumina has supported initiatives that focus on systemic change, specifically mobilizing higher education to increase college success, create new models of student financial support, develop new higher education business and finance models, and support related strategies.
Holiday Hart McKiernan is chief of staff and legal counsel of the Lumina Foundation for Education. Prior to joining the foundation, she was executive director and counsel for Alpha Chi Omega. Her views on higher education have been published in the The Journal of College and University Law, Education and the Law, and the European University Association Bologna Handbook. McKiernan has a strong commitment to the higher education community, serving on the board of directors of ADI, Inc., the American Association of Colleges and Universities, Higher Education Resource Services, Inc., Antioch University, and the International Advisory Board for the Stetson University College of Law Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law Policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree at DePauw University and her JD at Indiana University. She sits on the Board of Visitors of DePauw University.

National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports all fields of science and engineering including biological sciences; computer and information science; engineering; geosciences; mathematical and physical sciences; social, behavioral, and economic studies; and education and human resources. As the primary proponent for science research and education, it is responsible for keeping the U.S. at the forefront of science innovation. The foundation funds research and education through grants to colleges and universities, K-12 school systems, science and research organizations, and businesses. The foundation’s intent is that investment in science and engineering will fulfill its goals of advancing knowledge, creating a strong science and engineering workforce, and expanding scientific literacy. For additional information, see
Susan Singer is on leave from Carleton College, where she is Laurence McKinley Gould Professor of Natural Sciences. Under her leadership, the NSF’s Undergraduate Education Division is taking a comprehensive approach to strengthen STEM education by improving curricula, instruction, laboratories, infrastructure, assessment, diversity of students and faculty, and collaborations. In 2004, Singer received the Excellence in Teaching award from the American Society of Plant Biology. Fulfilling her commitment to the natural sciences, she serves on the board of directors for Project Kaleidoscope and the National Academies’ Board on Science Education. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Singer is co-author of an introductory biology text used at many undergraduate institutions.

Robert W. Woodruff Foundation
The Woodruff Foundation believes in responding to the needs of the Atlanta, Georgia, metro area. The Foundation’s principal giving interests are focused on schools and higher education; health care and education; human services; economic development and civic affairs; art and cultural activities; and conservation of natural resources and environmental education. Programs receiving support show strong leadership and involvement in the community and have a track record of proven effectiveness. As such, the foundation develops relationships to enhance and improve the vitality of the community in which it is located. For additional information, see
P. Russell Hardin is president of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. He earned an undergraduate degree with high distinction from the University of Virginia and his JD with honors from Duke University School of Law. Hardin joined the foundation in 1988 and has been president since 2006. Before coming to the Woodruff Foundation, he practiced law with King & Spalding and at the Robinson-Humphrey Company. Hardin serves as chair of the Foundation Center’s board of trustees and manager of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Fund. Hardin’s other community involvement includes serving as a trustee or director of Northwest Mutual, Gwinnett Industries, Inc., and the Commerce Club of Atlanta. Hardin was selected as one of the Most Influential Georgians at age 50.
TIAA-CREF is a full-service financial services company with $523 billion in total assets under management (as of June 2013), serving the needs of those working in the academic, research, medical, cultural, religious, and governmental fields. The company provides advice and guidance, and it offers products that provide lifetime income options, retirement plans, mutual funds, IRAs, and life insurance. TIAA-CREF is mission-driven and committed to helping its more than 3.9 million participants plan for their financial well-being. For additional information, see
Ronald R. Pressman is executive vice president and chief operating officer and a member of TIAA-CREF’s executive management team. In his role as chief operating officer, Pressman is responsible for driving the company’s strategic vision and operational excellence in order to enhance growth, execute business plans, and deliver high-quality products and services to clients. In this capacity, his efforts focus on further improving company performance, strengthening integration across the organization, helping maintain financial stability, and leading new business initiatives. Pressman has more than 30 years of industry experience in the financial services, investment management, real estate, and insurance industries. Prior to joining TIAA-CREF in January 2012, he served as president and CEO of GE Capital Real Estate and as director of the GE Capital Services and GE Capital Corporation boards. Previously, he served as president and CEO of GE Asset Management and chairman, president, and CEO of GE Employers Reinsurance Group. Pressman also held global leadership positions including serving as the CEO of GE Energy Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia and the general manager for GE International’s Central and Eastern European markets. Pressman is a graduate of Hamilton College, where he continues to serve as a charter trustee. He is currently a director at Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited. In addition, Pressman holds leadership positions in various philanthropic organizations, serving as the chairman of the national board of A Better Chance and a director of Pathways to College.

Convener and Moderators
Michael Alexander is the ninth president of Lassell College. From 1988 to 1993 he served as president and general manager of WWOR-TV (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut), where he and his management team started the A+ For Kids public service campaign, which received an Emmy award and recognition as the 12th Point of Light from the first Bush administration. He also has served as chairman and CEO of Intermetrics and its acquisitions, merging with the Titan Corporation, a publicly traded NYSE company, in 2000. Prior to his acceptance of the Lasell College presidency, Alexander was managing partner and founder of Echo Bridge Entertainment, LL C. He has served on the board of Bloomfield College, where he chaired the Academic Affairs Committee and also served on the Executive Committee. In 2005 he was appointed to the board of Antioch University. He also formerly served on the boards of trustees of the Foundation for Minority Interests in Media and the National Urban League and as a member of the Leadership Council of the Center for Business and Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Alexander earned his AB degree in history and literature from Harvard University, his MA degree in education from Ohio State University, and completed the coursework toward his doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
MaryAnn Baenninger is Drew University’s 13th president. She came to Drew from the College of Saint Benedict (MN), where she was president for 14 years. Before becoming a college president, Baenninger was executive associate director of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in Philadelphia, where she consulted with numerous institutions on their accreditation status. She is considered an expert in higher education assessment and has lectured widely on the topic. Baenninger was a tenured faculty member at the College of New Jersey and held assistant professor positions at Philadelphia University and Washington College. She has published extensively on gender and cognition and outcomes assessment in higher education. Baenninger has served on the boards of many organizations, including the Women’s College Coalition, the Council of Independent Colleges, and Minnesota Public Radio, and is a trustee of the American University of Sharjah. She has served as a councilor and executive board member of the Council on Undergraduate Research. She has a bachelor’s degree and a PhD in psychology from Temple University and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She also has received professional certificates from Bryn Mawr College and Harvard University.
Jorge Díaz-Herrera became the 19th president of Keuka College on July 1, 2011. Previously he was at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he served as dean of the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Formerly, Díaz-Herrera was professor and department head of computer science at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia, and member of the executive committee in the Georgia Tech-led Yamacraw project. He was a senior member of the technical staff at Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute, taught in the master of software engineering program, and conducted research in product line engineering. In addition, Díaz-Herrera served as chair of the first-in-the-U.S. software engineering department at Monmouth University (NJ) and on the computer science faculties at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and SUNY Binghamton. He also taught at the Universidad Centro-Occidental and was senior software engineer and department head at Empresa Regional de Computación, both in Venezuela. Díaz-Herrera serves on numerous boards, including the New York State Universal Broadband Council Digital Literacy Committee, the Strong National Museum of Play (Rochester) board of trustees, and Gallaudet University’s board of trustees. He completed his undergraduate education in Venezuela and holds a master’s degree and doctorate in computing studies from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.
Richard Ekman has been president of the Council of Independent Colleges since 2000. During his tenure, CIC has increased in membership, added many programs and services, and increased participation levels in CIC’s major programs. Ekman previously served as vice president for programs of Atlantic Philanthropies and, from 1991 to 1999, as secretary and senior program officer of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. From 1982 until 1991, he was at the National Endowment for the Humanities, successively as director of the Division of Education Programs and the Division of Research Programs. His previous experience includes service as vice president and dean of Hiram College, where he also was a tenured member of the history faculty; and assistant to the provost at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Ekman currently serves as a member of several boards, including those of Project Pericles, Harvard University’s library and graduate school of arts and sciences, and American Academic Leadership Institute. He is a recipient of the W.E.B. DuBois Medal of Harvard University. He is co-author, with Richard E. Quandt, of Technology and Scholarly Communication (University of California Press, 1999). Ekman earned his AB in history and PhD in the history of American civilization from Harvard University.
Marjorie Hass became the 15th president of Austin College in July 2009. Hass is a member of the boards of the Council of Independent Colleges, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, and she is a presidential sponsor for the Texas Women in Higher Education conference. She serves on the Southern College Athletic Conference Presidents Council and is a member of the NCAA Division III Management Council. She also has been appointed to the Texas Bar Foundation board of trustees. Prior to her presidency at Austin College, Hass served as provost at Muhlenberg College. She began her career at Muhlenberg in 1993 as a member of the philosophy faculty and also served as director of Muhlenberg’s Center for Ethics. Her scholarship and teaching focus on issues in philosophy of language and logic. Hass earned her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and PhD in philosophy at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Edward Leonard is president of Bethany College (KS). Leonard began as Bethany’s 13th president in 2007. He came to Bethany from Wilmington College in Ohio, where he served as vice president of college advancement for nine years. Prior to that Leonard served William Jewell College and Georgia College in admissions, alumni relations, and development. He has been recognized by the Independent College Advancement Association with the Ernest E. Sheetz Mentor Award, is a recipient of William Jewell College’s Citation for Achievement, and is an inductee in the William Jewell College Athletic Hall of Fame. Leonard’s service to higher education and the community over the last six years include: chair, Council of College and University Presidents of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Kansas Independent College Association; and member of the board of directors of the Kansas Independent College Finance Authority, the Lutheran Educational Conference of North America, the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery Foundation, the Swedish Council of America, and the North American Interfraternity Conference. Leonard holds a BA in philosophy from William Jewell College, an MBA from St. Louis University, and a PhD in educational administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Lester Newman is the 12th president of Jarvis Christian College. Prior to this appointment, he served as the executive assistant to the president and director of administrative management programs at Wiley College. Newman also has served as vice president for academic affairs and associate vice president for development at Lane College, a consultant for higher education, president and professor of political science at Mississippi Valley State University, and vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of political science at Johnson C. Smith University. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern University and his master’s and PhD degrees in political science from Atlanta University.
Eugene M. Tobin is the program officer for Higher Education and the Liberal Arts Colleges Program at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His grantmaking responsibilities encompass the areas of faculty and curricular development, presidential leadership, undergraduate teaching and learning, educational effectiveness, and institutional collaboration. Tobin spent 23 years at Hamilton College as a faculty member, department chair, dean of faculty, and as the 18th president (1993–2003). Prior to joining the Hamilton faculty in 1980, he taught at state colleges in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, was a National Endowment for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University, and held visiting appointments at Miami University (Ohio) and Indiana University, Bloomington. His research focuses on late 19th and early 20th century American social and political history and the history of American higher education. Tobin earned his BA in history from Rutgers University and his MA and PhD degrees in the history of American civilization from Brandeis University. He is the co-author with William G. Bowen and Martin A. Kurzweil of Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education, winner of the 2006 American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Book Award.

Discussion Group Leaders
Holiday Hart McKiernan
Lumina Foundation for Education
Ryan LaHurd
James S. Kemper Foundation
Susan Singer
National Science Foundation
Eugene M. Tobin
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation