Brian C. Mitchell, Ph.D., is a founder, director, and CEO of the Edvance Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of American higher education through bold and sustainable solutions to the most pressing needs of students and educational institutions. Mitchell is also principal of Brian Mitchell & Associates, a consultancy that advises higher educational institutions and leaders on strategic planning, governance, master planning, enrollment, core community development, human resources, and financial health.
From 2004 to 2010, Mitchell served as president and the first CEO of Bucknell University, where he hired nearly 60 tenure-track professors in three years, lowering the student-faculty ratio from 12:1 to 10:1, and launched the University’s $500 million capital campaign, raising almost $170 million from all sources in 30 months. Mitchell established the School of Management, establishing four new majors within it, the Bucknell Environmental Center, including building “Bucknell Landing” on the Susquehanna River, the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy, and the Teaching and Learning Center. He merged academic and student affairs, approved a new curriculum for the College of Arts and Sciences, and spearheaded a strong Middle States University-wide reaccreditation and ABET accreditation for the College of Engineering. In 2009, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry named Bucknell one of the “best places to work in Pennsylvania,” among the state’s top 50 large employers as ranked by employee survey and review of policies and practices.
Dr. Mitchell led the team that raised over $25 million to redefine town/gown relationships that created a new 28,000 sq. ft. University bookstore, new administrative offices in a renovated, working central post office, a restored art deco theatre, business incubator, and art space in downtown Lewisburg in four years from state, federal, and private sources. He joined KINBER, a $128 million statewide federally funded, Pennsylvania-based broadband partnership to permit data intense research and link rural areas to the internet. Mitchell constructed or renovated the new state-of-the art soccer, field hockey and women’s lacrosse facilities, reconstructed the Burger Fitness Center, rebuilt the baseball and softball facilities, Rooke Chapel and most of the Elaine Langone Student Center. He completed the planning and first fundraising for the new academic quadrangle. Mitchell also opened three Posse chapters at Bucknell and established the Bucknell Community College Scholars program. Recognizing the University’s institutional strength in management and finances, Moody’s raised Bucknell’s bond rating to a strong Aa2 before the University began its comprehensive campaign.
Mitchell previously served as president of Washington & Jefferson College (1998-2004) where he rebuilt the campus, planning and constructing new business and technology buildings, new residence halls and special purpose housing, the restoration of Cameron Stadium and the creation of a 7.6-acre artificial turf complex for football, soccer and lacrosse He also rebuilt the Swanson Wellness Center and Brooks Park. Mitchell created a new liberal arts curriculum and added majors in biochemistry, child development and education, information technology leadership, international business, music, and theatre and communications. During Mitchell’s tenure, W & J dropped the College’s acceptance rate to 40% and increased average SAT scores by 44 points. During the comprehensive campaign, Mitchell raised an additional $84 million in new resources. Dr. Mitchell also led the Association for Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (1991-1998) where led the battle to preserve the tax exempt status of Pennsylvania’s independent colleges and universities in what became the bellwether case nationally following the challenge by the City of Washington to the tax exempt status of Washington & Jefferson College. The case reached the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and remains the definitive court ruling in American law.
By training, Dr. Mitchell is an immigration and labor historian and the author of the acclaimed book, The Paddy Camps: The Irish of Lowell, 1821-1861 (University of Illinois Press, 1988), and numerous articles, op eds, and book reviews.
Mitchell serves as a trustee and immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees of Merrimack College. He is a past chair of the Pennsylvania Selection Committee for the Rhodes Scholarships, the Patriot League Athletic Conference (Division I), the National Association of Independent College and University State Executives, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) and the President’s Athletic Conference (Division III). He also has served as a director of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Annapolis Group of 125 highly selective liberal arts colleges, and Geisinger Health System.
Mitchell received the POSSE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education Through Leadership from the POSSE Foundation in 2010 and the Charles W.L. Foreman Award for Innovation in Private Higher Education from the Council of Independent Colleges and the Foundation for Independent Higher Education in 2011. He is the first recipient in arts and humanities of the Haskell Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Mitchell has received numerous scholarly awards, including those from the American Historical Association, American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the U.S. Department of the Interior (National Park Service). To honor his service to the 85 independent colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, his colleague presidents named the board room in the AICUP building in Harrisburg in his honor in 1998 and named the Association’s award for entrepreneurialism and creativity in building cooperative partnerships for him in June 2014.
Mitchell has written extensively and is widely quoted in the press. He writes weekly higher education blogs for The Huffington Post, Academe (the journal of the American Association of University Professors), EDUniverse, and Today’s Campus. Mitchell is a print and online contributor to College Management and Planning, University Business Magazine, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and FOX News Online.
Areas of expertise:
- Higher education and non-profit management
- Strategic and master planning, finance, and construction
- Federal and state relations
- Community-based partnerships
- Academic and multi-institutional program development
- 19th-century urban, ethnic, and labor history
Experience at a glance:
- Board chair, Merrimack College
- President, Bucknell University
- President, Washington & Jefferson College
- President, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania
Lydia is the Managing Director of Chiefs for Change at the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Before joining Chiefs for Change, Lydia served as the Senior Director of Policy at the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation where she focused on national policy, Governor Snyder’s education initiatives in Michigan, and investments improving management, human capital, quality, and transparency across District and charter public schools in Washington, DC. Prior to The Broad Foundation, she held the position of Vice President and Executive Director of the Institute for a Competitive Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where she worked with the business community on national and state policies and programs to improve early childhood, pre-k through post-secondary public education and workforce training. Lydia is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
Areas of expertise:
- Education policy
- Grants management
- Executive leadership
- Nonprofit operations
Experience at a glance:
- Senior director of policy, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
- Vice president and executive director, Institute for a Competitive Workforce at U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Vice president of programs, Kimsey Foundation
A leader who embraces change and new ideas, Margot is both reflective and action-oriented, understanding that collaboration always leads to the most creative outcomes. Margot is a woman of principle who takes pleasure, not in exercising power, but in seeing those around her succeed and flourish. She finds her joy in problem-solving, and believes that to lead is to serve.
Margot is a strategic advisor on leadership, team and non-profit organizational development, and capacity building. She is known for her work helping leaders develop strong, cohesive leadership teams to enable them to create high-performance, high-energy organizations, capable of achieving superior results. Margot has created numerous field-building initiatives along the education lifecycle — from high school to corporate careers — developing a broad range of inventive delivery systems through multiple leverage points to improve access, success and opportunity.
Her career portfolio includes providing strategic and tactical guidance to the management of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s $2B investments in scholarships and leadership development. She has also served as UNCF Vice President and Executive Director of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program; Manager of Global Diversity for the BCSS initiative at McKinsey & Company Inc., one of the world’s preeminent management consulting firms; Chief of Staff to the President of Norfolk State University; and in several positions over almost two decades at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) including Director of Masters Admission for the Sloan School of Management and Associate Dean of Graduate Education.
A graduate of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government with a Master of Public Administration degree, and Boston University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, Margot completed the MIT Sloan School Executive Management Program. She was also conferred a Doctorate of Humane Letters honoris causa by both the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, and Loyola University of Chicago. Appointed Dean-in-Residence for the Council of Graduate Schools at the National Center for Higher Education, her research resulted in two publications: Voices and Visions of Success, and a companion document, Catalyst for Success. More recently she published an article in the Special 10th Anniversary Issue of Leader to Leader Journal entitled, Creating an Incubator for Global Leadership.
Areas of expertise:
- Social Venture, Advisor/Architect/Investor
- Higher Education, Equity/Excellence
- Executive Leadership, Coach/Mentor
Experience at a glance:
- Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Vice President and Executive Director, Gates Millennium Scholars Program at UNCF
- BCSS Operations Team Manager, McKinsey & Company
- Chief of Staff, Norfolk State University
- Associate Dean of Graduate Education, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Arthur Rothkopf was senior vice-president and counselor to the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from July 1, 2005 through the end of July 2010. His responsibilities included leadership of the Chamber’s education and workforce initiative. He supervised three non-profit entities affiliated with the Chamber: the Institute for a Competitive Workforce; the Business Civic Leadership Center (dedicated to improved business and society relations); and the National Chamber Foundation (an in-house think tank).
Prior to joining the Chamber, Rothkopf served for 12 years as president of Lafayette College, Easton, PA, a highly selective undergraduate college of liberal arts and engineering. Prior to becoming Lafayette president in July 1993, he was deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), appointed by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate. Before that, he served as general counsel of the department, also a Senate-confirmed position.
Prior to joining DOT, Rothkopf was a senior partner in the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson, specializing in tax, regulatory, and legislative representation of U.S. and foreign clients. He began his career as a lawyer for the Treasury Department and the Securities & Exchange Commission. He earned his B.A. from Lafayette and his law degree from Harvard.
Rothkopf is currently a trustee of American University, and of the Educational Testing Service. He is vice-chair of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, an advisory group to the Secretary of Education. He is a director of Verisk Analytics, a company listed on NASDAQ. He is Board Chair of the Edvance Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing community college graduates increased access to four-year independent colleges. He served as a member of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education established by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. He is past board chair of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. Rothkopf was a trustee of the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Lehigh Valley Hospital, and the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, and past president of the Pennsylvania Society.
Areas of expertise:
- Education and workforce policy
- College leadership
Experience at a glance:
- President, Lafayette College
- Senior vice president and counselor to president, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Vice Chair, Secretary of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity
- Trustee, American University
- Trustee, Educational Testing Service
- Member, Secretary of Education’s Task Force on the Future of Higher Education
- Member, Century Foundation’s Task Force on Preventing Community Colleges from Becoming Separate and Unequal
- Deputy Secretary and General Counsel, U.S. Department of Transportation
- Board chair, Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania