Speaker Biographies: LEAP Compact Launch

Mary Coucher
Mary Coucher is vice president of Intellectual Property Management at IBM. She is responsible for various aspects of IBM’s intellectual property organization, including patent and technology licensing engineering, geography business development, and financial operations. Prior to this job assignment, Coucher managed a world-wide sales force focused on selling industry specific solutions to key alliance partners as a member of IBM’s systems and technology group. Prior to that, she was responsible for merger and acquisitions for IBM’s system storage business. In previous roles with IBM, Coucher was responsible for manufacturing and distribution, integrated supply chain, order fulfillment, and product assurance functions for a major high-end server product line for the company. In addition, Coucher is currently the board chair of Oregon State University’s (OSU) Dean’s Council for the College of Business, board member of College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, and a board member of the President’s Advisory Council for Oregon Institute of Technology; she is also IBM’s Executive Sponsor for OSU’s Multiple Engineering Cooperative Program and IBM’s Partnership Executive to OSU. Coucher has an MBA from the University of Portland and a BS in chemical engineering from Oregon State University.

Abigail Davenport
Abigail Davenport is a senior vice president with Hart Research. Since joining the firm in 1994, Davenport has conducted strategic research for such diverse clients as The Coca-Cola Company, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, MTV Networks, the BlueCross and BlueShield Association, AT&T, the Recording Industry Association of America, Us Weekly, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. She has been involved in many of the firm’s corporate reputation and brand research projects. In addition, she has assisted with the polling for several congressional candidates and ballot initiatives. Davenport is a graduate of Tufts University with a degree in international relations.

Charlene Dukes
Charlene Dukes became president of Prince George’s Community College in 2007. Prior to her appointment, she served for twelve years as vice president for student services at the same institution after holding the position of dean of students at the Community College of Allegheny County, Allegheny Campus. She has served on the Prince George’s County Board of Education and was recently appointed by the governor of Maryland to the State Board of Education. She is founder of the Community College Student Development Leadership Institute, an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges. Dukes holds an undergraduate degree in English education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in administrative and policy studies (with an emphasis on higher education) from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently serves on AAC&U’s board of directors.

Mildred García
Mildred García became president of California State University–Fullerton in June 2012 after being at the helm of California State University–Dominguez Hills for five years. Prior to this, she served as president of Berkeley College in New York. Earlier in her career she served as vice provost for academic personnel and was a tenured professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Arizona State University West, and associate director of the Hispanic Research Center at Arizona State University, Tempe. She has also served as assistant vice president for academic affairs at Montclair State University, and as chief student affairs officer at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York. García received an EdD as well as an MA in higher education administration from Teachers College, Columbia University; an MA in business education/higher education from New York University; and a BS in business education from Bernard Baruch College of City University of New York. García is the current chair of AAC&U’s board of directors.

Paul Grenaldo
Paul Grenaldo is the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Doctors Community Hospital. He is responsible for the day-to-day activities of Doctors Community Hospital. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1978, he earned both his MBA and certification in health care administration from the University of Miami in Florida. Upon graduation, Grenaldo completed his administrative residency under Sister Irene Kraus, chair of the American Hospital Association, before serving as assistant to the vice president of medical affairs and then director of ambulatory care at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC. After holding key positions at a number of other organizations, he returned to Providence Hospital in March 1996 as vice president for marketing and business development. In 2005, Grenaldo was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer at Providence. In addition to his extensive career, which includes starting his own health care management and consulting company, Practical Health Services, Grenaldo has served on numerous boards and is currently the head of the finance committee and treasurer of the District of Columbia Primary Care Association, as well as the faculty of the OPM Education Consortium.

Robert T. Jones
Robert T. Jones is the president of Education & Workforce Policy, LLC, a policy consulting firm whose singular focus is the advancement of education, training, and workforce policy. He also serves as the president of the MTC Institute, the policy and research arm of the Management and Training Corp. Jones has served as the president and CEO of the National Alliance of Business, the assistant secretary of labor under President Reagan and again under President H. W. Bush, senior positions in two major US corporations, and as a chief of staff to two US Congressmen. Jones serves on the board of the Business Higher Education Forum and is a commissioner on the Senior College Accreditation Commission of the Western Association of Colleges and Universities; he is also a member of the AAC&U National Leadership Council for LEAP, the Board of Advisors for the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Global Advisory Board of CompTIA. Jones also serves on the boards of the Management and Training Corporation, Jones International University, and the UAW Labor Employment and Training Corporation. Jones is a graduate of the University of Redlands and served four years as an officer in the United States Air Force.

Martha Kanter
Martha J. Kanter was nominated by President Barack Obama on April 29, 2009, to be the under secretary of education and was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009. In this position, she reports to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and oversees policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid. From 2003 to 2009, Kanter served as chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. She is the first community college leader to serve in the undersecretary position. Kanter has served as a board member on a wide variety of national, state, and local organizations, including the League for Innovation in the Community College, the Mexican Heritage Corporation, and the California Association of Postsecondary Educators of the Disabled. She received her master's degree in education with a concentration in clinical psychology and public practice from Harvard University, and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Brandeis University. Kanter holds a doctorate in organization and leadership from the University of San Francisco.

William E. Kirwan
William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland since August 1, 2002, is a nationally recognized authority on critical issues shaping the higher education landscape. He served as president of Ohio State University for four years (1998–2002) and president of the University of Maryland, College Park for ten years (1988–1998). Prior to his presidency, he was a member of the University of Maryland faculty for twenty-four years. A respected academic leader, Kirwan is a sought-after speaker on a wide range of topics, including diversity, access and affordability, cost containment, innovation, higher education's economic impact, gender equity, and financial aid. Along with his national and international presentations on key issues, Kirwan has authored many articles on issues in higher education and has been profiled and cited in academic and mainstream publications. Currently, Kirwan chairs the National Research Council Board of Higher Education and Workforce, chairs the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center Advisory Committee, and co-chairs the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. He also serves on the Business-Higher Education Forum. Kirwan received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Kentucky and his master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Paul Lingenfelter
Paul Lingenfelter is the president of State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), a position he has held since June 2000. His work at SHEEO has focused on increasing successful participation in higher education, including strengthening student preparation by building stronger relationships with K-12 educators, improving the quality of teaching, developing accountability systems that contribute to improved performance, improving mechanisms for developing state higher education policy, and developing the data systems and financial policies needed to achieve educational improvement. From 1985 to 2000 he served on the staff of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In 1996 he was appointed vice president to establish and lead the MacArthur Foundation’s Program on Human & Community Development. Lingenfelter's educational background includes an AB from Wheaton College in Literature, an MA from Michigan State University, and a PhD from the University of Michigan in higher education.

David Maxwell
David Maxwell has been president of Drake University since May of 1999. He was director of the National Foreign Language Center in Washington, DC, from 1993 to 1999, after serving as president of Whitman College from 1989 to 1993. Dr. Maxwell was at Tufts University from 1971 to 1989 as a faculty member in Russian language and literature, and served as dean of undergraduate studies from 1981 to 1989. On the national level, Maxwell is a member of the Executive Committee of the Business-Higher Education Forum and serves on the Committee of Student Aid of the New American Colleges and Universities. Maxwell previously sat on the board of directors of both the American Council on Education and the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and is a member of the Higher Education Working Group on Global Issues of the Council on Foreign Relations. Maxwell earned his bachelor’s degree in Russian area studies from Grinnell College in 1966. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees in Slavic languages and literatures from Brown University.

Pat Reiten
Patrick Reiten is president and CEO of Pacific Power at PacifiCorp, a position he has held since September 2006. Reiten is responsible for delivering electricity safely and reliably to 733,000 customers in Oregon, Washington, and California, and also manages the largest single owned- and-operated transmission system in the American West. Pacific Power is a one hundred-year-old company serving 243 communities across the three states. Reiten has maintained director or board member leadership roles in industry organizations, panels, and committees. He currently serves with multiple organizations, including the Oregon Business Council, Associated Oregon Industries, Greenlight Greater Portland, The Freshwater Trust, Cascade Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and Jesuit High School. He was appointed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski to the Oregon Energy Planning Council and was the chair of the Oregon Business Plan in 2010. Reiten also chaired Oregon’s Transportation Vision Committee. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in economics from the University of Washington and completed executive training at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.

Kenneth Ruscio
Kenneth P. Ruscio took office as the twenty-sixth president of Washington and Lee University (W&L) on July 1, 2006. President Ruscio previously served as the dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond from 2002 to 2006. Ruscio held both faculty and staff positions at W&L from 1987 to 2002, including professor of politics, associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, and dean of freshmen. A postdoctoral research scholar at the University of California–Los Angeles from 1983 to 1985, he also taught at Worcester Polytechnic Institute from 1985 to 1987 and at Kansas University from 1982 to 1983. The year after Ruscio became president of W&L, the university launched an ambitious strategic plan emphasizing its commitment to a liberal arts education in the twenty-first century. Ruscio earned his BA in politics from W&L in 1976 and a master of public administration and a PhD in public affairs and public administration, both from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ruscio serves as vice chair of the board of directors for the Association of American Colleges and Universities and serves on the board of the Council of Independent Colleges.

Carol Geary Schneider
Carol Geary Schneider is president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Under her leadership, AAC&U launched Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), a public advocacy and campus action initiative designed to engage students and the public with what really matters in a college education for the twenty-first century. AAC&U has become widely recognized as both a voice and force for strengthening the quality of student learning in college for all students and especially those historically underserved in US higher education; the association is working with hundreds of colleges and universities and numerous state systems to expand the benefits of liberal education across the entire curriculum, through new integration between the core outlines of liberal education and students’ learning in their major fields. Schneider has published extensively on all the major areas of her educational work and has taught at the University of Chicago, DePaul University, Chicago State University, and Boston University. Schneider is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor's degree in history.  She studied at the University of London's Institute for Historical Research and earned the PhD in history from Harvard University. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her efforts to restore the centrality of liberal education, including ten honorary degrees, a Mina Shaughnessy award from the US Department of Education, and the 2013 Boyer award from the National Association of Colleges and Universities.

Michele Toth
Michele P. Toth is vice president of human resources and administration (HR&A) for Northrop Grumman’s information systems sector. In this role, she leads the HR&A team in all aspects, including human resources strategy, workforce development, talent acquisition, leadership development and training, employee relations, organization change and effectiveness, and compensation and benefits. Toth also has oversight of ethics and diversity programs across the sector, and is chair of the information systems sector’s executive diversity and inclusion council. She is also responsible for the sector’s security function, including all disciplines of security, and environmental health and safety. She was honored with the Human Resources Professional Excellence Award for Leadership in June 2008. Toth has a master’s degree in statistics and industrial psychology from the University of Baltimore and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland. She also completed the Harvard University General Management Program.