Franklin & Marshall College President Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D., prioritizes enhancing academic excellence, promoting student success, increasing civic outreach, and helping young graduates thrive in life after college. A scholar of English, he teaches literature courses dealing with human rights, education, and social justice.
Since becoming president on March 1, 2011, Porterfield has strengthened support for faculty and student research, launched new initiatives to enhance students’ personal and professional development, and overseen a strategic planning process designed to solidify F&M’s position as a leading national liberal arts college during a time of rapid change in American higher education.
Under Porterfield’s leadership, F&M has recruited some of the most talented and diverse classes in its history, an accomplishment realized, in part, through significant increases in F&M’s financial-aid expenditures and broader outreach to promising students in underserved communities. For example, F&M has expanded partnerships with K-12 education and college access networks including the Posse Program, the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), Achievement First, Uncommon Schools, the College Advising Corps and the Cristo Rey Network, on whose Board Porterfield serves. Porterfield also serves as a trustee of the College Board and the Lenfest Foundation, and sits on the Teach For America University Champions' Board and the College Advising Corps Advisory Board.
In 2012, KIPP honored Porterfield with its “Beyond Z” award, which “celebrates members of the school community who go above and beyond for the benefit of children.” Porterfield also received the “I Have A Dream” Foundation’s 2014 Eugene M. Lang Lifetime Achievement Award for his “visionary efforts and devotion to ensuring that every child…has the opportunity to achieve greatness.”
Porterfield is a frequent contributor to the national dialogue on issues like the value of the liberal arts, college access, and the impact of technology on higher education. His pieces have been featured in publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Houston Chronicle, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he writes regularly for Forbes and The Huffington Post.
Prior to his appointment at Franklin & Marshall, Porterfield served as Senior Vice President for Strategic Development for his alma mater, Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C. In this role, he led Georgetown's institutional positioning, communications, government relations, community relations, and intercollegiate athletics, and spearheaded the University’s relationship with the D.C. public schools. He founded a number of longstanding Georgetown programs for immigrant children, D.C. students, and at-risk youth.
Before coming to Georgetown in 1997, Porterfield served for four years as a senior aide to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala.
Porterfield was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities. He earned his Ph.D. at The City University of New York Graduate Center.
A native of Baltimore, Porterfield is married to Karen A. Herrling, an advocacy attorney in state and local enforcement of immigrant rights. They have three children.