GC Alum Daniel R. Porterfield Named Aspen Institute President and CEO

December 1, 2017

Currently the president of Franklin & Marshall College, Porterfield (Ph.D. '95, English) will succeed Walter Isaacson as president of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank on June 1, 2018.

Daniel R. Porterfield (Ph.D. '95, English) has been named the next president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, the Washington, D.C.-based think tank best known for hosting the annual Aspen Ideas Festival. Currently the president of Franklin & Marshall College, Porterfield will succeed Walter Isaacson on June 1, 2018.

Porterfield is widely admired for his success at expanding access to education, particularly higher education.

"I really just have this deep belief that education is the cornerstone of a democracy, that it is the crucial gesture we make as one citizen to others to provide high quality opportunity for all," he said in a video interview with the Aspen Institute.

As president of Franklin & Marshall since 2011, Porterfield helped the school set records for applications, fundraising, and fellowships, and he spearheaded a number of capital projects.

He also led the development of F&M's Next Generation Initiative talent strategy, which tripled the percentage of incoming low-income students and more than doubled the percentage of domestic students of color.

In a press statement, Aspen Institute Trustee and former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright called Porterfield "one of our nation's most dynamic leaders." She added, "As a college president, Dan has been held in the highest regard by students, faculty and board members because he is public-spirited and dedicated to making a difference. The world needs strong, thoughtful, and engaging leaders such as Dan."

A graduate of Georgetown University and Rhodes Scholar, Porterfield turned down a scholarship to Georgetown Law School to pursue a career in education. "I realized that I could contribute to society as an educator and have the pleasure of working in ways that I enjoy," he said in an interview with Business2Business magazine.

He chose to come to the Graduate Center to pursue a Ph.D. in English. While in New York, he wrote speeches for CUNY Chancellor Ann Reynolds. He subsequently was recruited to Washington, D.C., where he became the communications director for Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala.

In 1997, Porterfield returned to Georgetown as a professor of English and the university's chief strategist. Prior to his appointment at F&M, he was Georgetown's senior vice president for strategic development.