Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D., is the new President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, effective June 1, 2018. Elected to the position on November 30, 2017 by the Aspen Institute Board of Trustees, he was selected because of his intellectual depth; commitment to inclusivity and diversity; and ability to lead a complex, mission-driven organization to create impact and make a difference in the world. His career embodies the ideals of values-based leadership on which the Aspen Institute was founded.
Since 2011, Dan has served as the President of Franklin & Marshall College (F&M), a leading national liberal arts college founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1787. Under his leadership, F&M has set school records for applications, fundraising, and fellowships; developed cutting edge new centers for student wellness, career services, and faculty excellence; constructed a new stadium; and embarked upon a new visual arts center.
Perhaps most important, Dan led F&M to develop the Next Generation Initiative talent strategy, through which the College strengthened its academic excellence and competitiveness by tripling the percentage of incoming low-income students and more than doubling the percentage of domestic students of color.
A former Rhodes Scholar and recipient of a 2016 White House Champion of Change Award, Dan is a highly visible college president who has been outspoken on education issues. While dramatically enhancing the visibility of Franklin & Marshall College over the past seven years, he galvanized the creation of a national initiative of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, the American Talent Initiative. Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the initiative has a national goal of enrolling 50,000 more high-achieving low-income students in leading institutions by 2025. In 2016, he spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival to discuss the future of higher education.
Prior to his appointment at F&M, Porterfield served as Senior Vice President for Strategic Development for his alma mater, Georgetown University. In this role, he led Georgetown’s institutional positioning, strategy formation, communications, government relations, community relations, and intercollegiate athletics, and he spearheaded the University’s relationship with DC Public Schools, and founded a number of Georgetown programs for immigrant children, DC students, and at-risk youth. He was also an award-winning professor of English.
Before coming to Georgetown in 1997, Porterfield served for four years as a senior aide to then-US Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala. He earned BA degrees from Georgetown and Oxford and his Ph.D. from The City University of New York Graduate Center and was awarded a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities. A native of Baltimore, Dan and his wife, attorney Karen A. Herrling, have three children.