April 10, 2012 -- Mount St. Mary’s College President Ann McElaney-Johnson was one of 12 heads of private colleges and universities to meet in April with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and key White House staff members in Washington, D.C., to address greater access to higher education.
McElaney-Johnson and her peers represented the Yes We Must Coalition, a group of 27 colleges and universities across the nation working to help low-income, first generation and minority students receive a higher education. Formed three years ago, coalition members collaborate to lower the costs of higher education and be a voice — supported by data — to educate the public and influence policy and practice that impacts students. Each member of Yes We Must is a college or university with fewer than 5,000 students and with half its student population eligible to receive Pell Grants.
“This is a great moment for all of us to come together and talk about the really relevant issues of access and affordability in higher education on a national platform,” McElaney-Johnson said. “Mount St. Mary’s is committed to working with the other Coalition colleges and universities to make an education possible for all eligible students.”
During a 90-minute meeting, college and university presidents shared information about how their institutions operate and discussed possible future collaborations between the U.S. Department of Education and the Yes We Must Coalition.
In addition to Duncan, other White House representatives participating in the meeting included Roberto Rodriguez, special assistant to President Obama for education policy; Jon Carson, director of the Office of Public Engagement; Celilia Munoz, director of the Domestic Policy Advisory for Education; and Zakiya Smith, senior policy advisor for education.
Presidents attending the meeting included Thomas University President Gary Bonvillian; Jennifer L. Braaten, president of Ferrum College in Ferrum, Va.; Weymouth Spence, president of Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.; Michal P. Viollt, president of Robert Morris University in Chicago, Ill.; William T. Luckey Jr., president of Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky.; David J. Fike, president of Marygrove College in Detroit, Mich.; Vinton Thompson, president of Metropolitan College of New York in New York City; Terry McMahan, President of Hodges University in Naples, Fla.; David Olive, president of Benedict College in Columbia, S.C.; William J. Hynes, president of Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif.; and Nivine Megahed, president of National Louis University in Chicago, Ill.