Press Release

AAC&U Announces Appointment of Lorenzo Esters as Vice President for Advancement and Member Engagement

Washington, DC—August 12, 2020—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the appointment of Lorenzo Esters as Vice President for Advancement and Member Engagement, effective August 17. In this role, he will help promote the mission of AAC&U by leading strategic advancement and membership growth and development.

Lorenzo’s professional experience has centered on increasing philanthropic and institutional capacity to support student access, retention, and completion efforts—particularly for low-income students and students of color. He recently served as Executive Director for Higher Education Partnerships at ETS, where he led a major initiative focused on helping individuals demonstrate mastery of twenty-first-century skills valued in the global marketplace. Previously, he served as Vice President for Philanthropy at Strada Education Network, where he was responsible for grant-making in areas that fostered comprehensive and innovative strategies for colleges and universities to better support student completion and career-readiness.

“I am thrilled that Lorenzo will join AAC&U’s leadership team,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “He brings a breadth of experience in higher education and a demonstrated commitment to equity and excellence in liberal education. We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome him aboard.”

Lorenzo has held senior positions in higher education institutions, national organizations, and the federal government. As Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management at Kentucky State University, he was responsible for strategic planning and leadership in a wide range of areas, including enrollment services, student life, career services, student health services, and academic advising. At the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), Lorenzo served as Vice President for Access and the Advancement of Public Black Universities, working with member institutions to advance college access and success. While at APLU, he developed the “Most Visible Progress Award” (now known as the “Degree Completion Award”), which recognizes institutions that have made significant progress in retaining and graduating students, and he secured $1 million in funding for an initiative designed to incentivize partnerships between two-and four-year institutions in order to increase the engagement of minority males in STEM. Previously, he served as Senior Advisor to the President of Dillard University and as Senior Analyst at the US Department of Education. Lorenzo is the former Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Northern Virginia Community College. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of Martin University.

“I have long admired the leadership and advocacy that Lynn and the amazing team at AAC&U provide on behalf of liberal education,” Lorenzo said. “I have observed from afar the great work the organization does to support liberal education, equity, inclusion, and student success—all things I care about greatly. Now, I am excited to support this great work moving forward as a member of the team.”

Lorenzo holds BA in English from Rust College and an MA in English from Jackson State University. He earned his EdD in higher education administration from Morgan State University.

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,200 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.