White House Honors NCAN Members as "Champions of Change"

September 30, 2016

By Allie Ciaramella, Communications Manager 

NCAN Executive Director Kim Cook and representatives from multiple NCAN member organizations will be honored by the White House tomorrow for their work expanding opportunity for students from all backgrounds to advance to and through college.

College Advising Corps Founder and CEO Nicole Hurd and Franklin & Marshall College President Daniel R. Porterfield will join Cook blocks from NCAN’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, where all three will be recognized as White House Champions of Change for College Opportunity. Another of the 11 champions is Dana A. Hubbard, a coordinator for NCAN member AVID at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Virginia.

The event takes place at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30 and will be live-streamed at whitehouse.gov/live. You can also follow the conversation on social media using the hashtags #WHChamps and #CollegeOpportunity.

The Obama Administration is hosting the White House Champions of Change for College Opportunity event to honor individuals “who are transforming their institutions through a range of strategies, with an emphasis on efforts that have made a difference in increasing the number of college graduates, enhancing college readiness, improving access to highly-trained school counselors, strengthening STEM education, and promoting greater diversity and inclusion.”

To select the champions, the White House solicited nominations from the public of student leaders; higher education leaders; nonprofit, business and community leaders; and teachers, faculty, counselors and school staff. In nonprofit leaders such as Cook and Hurd, officials sought “leaders who have increased college opportunity in their communities, giving more students the chance to access an affordable, quality education.” Higher education leaders like Porterfield who qualified “are advancing transformative practices in higher education to create the conditions for all students, particularly low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students, to succeed and thrive.” And teachers, faculty, counselors and school staff such as Hubbard must "have strengthened educational opportunities for their students, and helped their students get the resources they need to access and complete college."

It’s not the first time Hurd and Porterfield have been recognized in the Beltway this month. Both were lauded in a recent buzz-inducing Washington Monthly article, “The Sixteen Most Innovative People in Higher Education.”

Read more about each of the champions at the White House blog, or read our member awardees’ published bios below.

Kim Cook is the Executive Director of the National College Access Network, where she leads its efforts to help states, nonprofit organizations, schools, higher education institutions, philanthropists, and the business community provide better college access and persistence support to low-income and underrepresented students. She has worked in the higher education and college access field for her entire professional career, including experience in undergraduate admissions, administration of a last-dollar scholarship program, and a succession of responsibilities at NCAN. As a Pell Grant recipient herself, she has a passion for the success of students underrepresented in higher education.  Kim holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Pace University and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Law, Economics and Government from The American University.

Dana A. Hubbard serves as the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) Coordinator at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Virginia. The AVID program works to help students in the middle become college and career ready and provide them with the necessary skills to achieve academic success. In her six years as AVID coordinator she has helped to double the size of the program and has created a program that welcomes all students and motivates them to follow their dreams of going to college. In the last three years, 100% of the graduating AVID seniors have gained admittance to and enrolled in college, and all are on track to graduate on time. Dana also teaches Biology and serves as the Head Field Hockey coach at West Potomac High School.

Nicole Hurd, PhD is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the College Advising Corps (CAC), headquartered in Chapel Hill. Nicole has led CAC from a pilot project in Virginia to the largest college access program in the country, placing hundreds of near peer advisers in high schools from coast-to-coast. In the 2016-2017 school year, CAC's 600 advisers will assist over 180,000 low-income, first generation, and underrepresented students in navigating the path to college. Under her leadership, CAC has launched innovative virtual advising work and has received numerous accolades, including a $10 million investment which was announced at the White House College Opportunity Summit and the 2012 National Service Impact Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D. has served as president of Franklin & Marshall College since 2011. Under his leadership, Franklin & Marshall has developed a distinctive student talent strategy built upon a significant increase in their need-based financial aid budget. Through his work, Franklin & Marshall has seen record application numbers and an increase in the academic profile, diversity, and selectivity of incoming classes. In addition, lower-income and first-generation students at F&M consistently achieve the same average GPA as the student body as a whole and maintaining higher retention and graduation rates. Porterfield sits on the boards of the College Board and the Lenfest College Scholarship Foundation. He has received awards for his work from the KIPP and “I Have A Dream” foundations and in 2016 was named one of the “Sixteen Most Innovative People in Higher Education” by Washington Monthly. Prior to leading Franklin & Marshall, Porterfield served as a Senior Vice President at his alma mater, Georgetown University. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and earned his Ph.D. at The City University of New York Graduate Center.

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