College presidents who have found some measure of success often parlay that into a job at a more prestigious institution. But Daniel R. Porterfield, president of Franklin & Marshall College, will leave higher education this year to become president of the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit policy group.
Porterfield already had a relationship with Aspen, and to some of its work trying to improve student outcomes. He is one of the founders of the American Talent Initiative, which Aspen runs and Bloomberg Philanthropies funds, whose goal is to expand the number of Pell Grant-eligible students at colleges with high graduation rates. Over seven years as president of Franklin & Marshall, Porterfield has raised the institution’s profile, and its enrollment, in part through directing more financial aid to high-achieving low-income applicants, and tripling the percentage of Pell Grant-eligible students enrolled to around 20 percent. He spoke to The Chronicle about how to find talented students, how to gauge their potential, and what keeps him up at night.
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