Franklin & Marshall College President Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D., prioritizes enhancing academic excellence, promoting student access and success, strengthening resources for holistic student development, 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 led F&M in the development of Claiming Our Future, a visionary strategic plan for the College, launched an innovative approach to students’ personal and professional success through a new Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development, and formulated a distinctive student talent strategy building upon a significant expansion of F&M’s financial aid program. This work, and more, has resulted in greater visibility and public leadership for F&M, record application numbers, and an increase in the academic profile, diversity, and selectivity of incoming classes.
Under Porterfield’s leadership, F&M has expanded partnerships with successful K-12 educators and college access networks including the Posse Foundation, KIPP, Achievement First, Uncommon Schools, the College Advising Corps, and the Cristo Rey Network. 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,” and he 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.” In 2016, Porterfield was named one of the "Sixteen Most Innovative People in Higher Education" by Washington Monthly and one of eleven “Champions of Change for College Opportunity” by the White House.
Porterfield is a frequent contributor to the national dialogue on issues like the value of the liberal arts, college opportunity, and the impact of technology on higher education. His pieces have been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Washington Post, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he writes regularly for Forbes and The Huffington Post. In 2014, he was the only liberal arts college president invited to speak at two White House summits and a White House Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education workshop held in Boulder, Colorado.
Porterfield serves as a trustee of the College Board and on the board of the Lenfest Foundation, and chairs the board of the Lenfest College Scholarship Foundation, which provides application assistance and financial aid to talented students from across rural Pennsylvania. He also advises Teach For America, the College Advising Corps, and the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), and is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) Presidents’ Trust, an advocacy group for the liberal arts.
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 attorney who leads efforts on behalf of vulnerable populations for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They have three children.
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