Monday, March 13 - Luncheon Keynote

Dr. Michael Sorrell
President, Paul Quinn College

Dr. Michael SorrellMichael J. Sorrell is the 34th President of Paul Quinn College. Under his leadership, Paul Quinn has become nationally renowed for its innovative approach to using higher education to address societal problems. Dr. Sorrell will address the importance of driving policy and cultural change within his college and community.

Among the school's numerous accomplishments during President Sorrell's nine-year tenure have been: winning the HBCU of the Year (while being nominated three times), the HBCU Student Government Association of the Year, and the HBCU Business Program of teh Year awards; achieving recognition as a member of the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll; creating the New Urban College Model that transformed PQC into the country's only urban Work College and reduced tuition and fees to $14,300; demolishing 15 abandoned campus buildings; partnering with PepsiCo to repurpose the football field into the "WE over Me Farm"; achieving full-accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS); and rewriting all institutional fundraising records (including the most seven-figure gifts in school history).

Michael received his J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and his Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (where his dissertation defense was awarded "with Distinction")> While in law school, he was one of the founding members of the Journal of Gender Law & Policy and served as the Vice President of the Duke Bar Association. Michael was a recipients of the Sloan Foundation Graduate Fellowship, which funded his studies at both Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government (as a graduate fellow) and Duke University. He graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Government, served as Secretary-Treasurer of his senior class, was a two-time captain of the men's varsity basketball team, and graduated as the school's fifth all-time leading scorer.


Tuesday, March 14 - Morning Keynote

Jamie Merisotis
President and CEO, Lumina Foundation

Jamie MerisotisJamie Merisotis is a globally recognized leader in philanthropy, education, and public policy.  Since 2008, he has served as president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. and a driving force for increasing Americans’ success in higher education and postsecondary learning.  He previously served as co-founder and president of the nonpartisan, Washington, DC-based Institute for Higher Education Policy, and as executive director of a bipartisan national commission on college affordability appointed by the President and Congressional leaders. Merisotis is the author of the widely acclaimed book America Needs Talent, named a Top 10 Business book of 2016 by Booklist.

He is frequently sought after as a media commentator and contributor. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Journal, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Washington Monthly, Huffington Post, Politico, Roll Call and other publications. 

His work includes extensive global experience as an adviser and consultant in southern Africa, the former Soviet Union, Europe and other parts of the world.  A respected analyst and innovator, Merisotis is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and holds honorary degrees from several colleges and universities.  Merisotis commits his time and energies as trustee for a diverse array of organizations around the world, including his alma mater Bates College in Maine, the Council on Foundations in Washington, DC, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Anatolia College in Greece, and the London-based European Access Network.  He lives with his wife Colleen O’Brien and their children Benjamin and Elizabeth in Indianapolis.


Tuesday, March 14 - Luncheon Keynote

Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper
President, IHEP

Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper is the president of IHEP. As a results-oriented, decisive leader with significant experience in the postsecondary education field, Cooper is recognized as a well-respected practitioner, researcher, and policy advocate helping to reaffirm IHEP's role of ensuring equal educational opportunities for all students. Cooper is responsible for leading the organization’s rich history of addressing the educational needs of today’s students, particularly underserved students. Cooper also oversees the organization’s expansive research portfolio and analytic expertise to inform and shape national, state, local, and institutional policy reform. Prior to joining IHEP, Cooper held various leadership positions at the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance at the U.S. DOE, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Council for Independent Colleges, and King’s College.


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