Porterfield speaks at White House event to inspire higher education for students

By Steven Viera II News Editor

Dan Porterfield, president of the College, spoke on F&M’s commitment to preparing students for college and helping them to graduate at the White House College Opportunity Day of Action, held last Thursday, Dec. 4, in Washington, D.C.

Other speakers at the event included Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Joe Biden.

Along with other leaders in higher education, Porterfield pledged to join a collaborative effort with other colleges to help 100,000 students across the nation to attend and graduate from top-quality schools, as well as enrolling high-achieving, undocumented students under a new federal law.

“It’s gratifying that the work of the F&M community is extending an inspiring message to others in higher education and public life,” Porterfield said in a press release put out by the College’s Office of Communications. “As we have invested in a talent strategy that benefits all students, we’re showing other institutions it’s possible to increase financial aid, enhance academic excellence and deepen the talent of the student body.”

Using F&M as a model, other schools will attempt to provide financial aid and other opportunities to high-achieving, low-income students as part of dynamic recruitment efforts.

For its efforts towards enrolling and retaining 100,000 students, the College will receive funds from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which is investing $10 million over the course of the next two years, with additional funds to be allocated based on initial results.

Another organization contributing funds, cording to the press release, is the Heckscher Foundation for Children, which is committing advisory support and an additional $1 million over the next two years to support the project.

Additionally, F&M will enroll a cohort of five students from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. This initiative was created to connect many of the undocumented students who graduate from high school in the United States to opportunities for a college education.

According to the press release, a $250,000 grant from the Schusterman Foundation will help to fund this initiative. The College Opportunity Day of Action is the third time Porterfield has been tapped as a leader in White House efforts to improve access and the quality of higher education. Porterfield continues to use F&M as a model.

“We very much had a lot to listen to and learn about the work of all our colleagues from every type of higher education institution,” Porterfield said in the press release. “I learned a lot from those colleagues about how their schools are partnering with local k-12 systems and communities.”

Junior Steven Viera is the News Editor. His email is sviera@fandm.edu.

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