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Registration Beginning at 12:00 p.m.

Welcome & Introduction Speakers

1:00 - 1:15 p.m.


David Fike

President, Golden Gate University

David J. Fike, PhD became GGU's seventh President in August of 2015.

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Kristen F. Soares

President, AICCU

Kristen Soares is the fourth president of the Association of Independent California Colleges

and Universities. 

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G. Gabrielle Starr

President, Pomona College

President Starr is a national voice on access to college for students of all backgrounds and on the future of higher education.

Keynote Speaker

1:15 - 1:45 p.m.

Emil Kakkis

Emil Kakkis, Chief Executive Officer, President and a Director, Ultragenyx

Emil Kakkis is Chief Executive Officer, President and a Director of Ultragenyx. He founded Ultragenyx in 2010 to create a company that is uniquely built around a deep and meaningful engagement with patients and their caregivers to fully understand their needs.

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Session Two Speakers

1:45 – 2:45 p.m.

Partnering with Community-Based Organizations to Increase College Access 

More and more, community-based organizations are working directly with students and local educational agencies to strengthen college access, particularly among underrepresented youths. With more funding being directed to the UC and CSU for enrollment support, more awareness needs to be raised to highlight the independent sector as a place for underrepresented students. Barbara Gee, deputy director of the Northern California Promise Coalition, and Alison De Lucca, executive director of SoCalCAN, will discuss the work that their organizations do and how they partner with regional colleges and universities to ensure all students have equitable access to a postsecondary education.

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Alison De Lucca

Executive Director, SoCal CAN

De Lucca works with more than 110 organizations to expand college access and completion for

low-income students in the region. 

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Barbara Gee

Deputy Director, Northern California College Promise Coalition

Gee has over 30 years of leadership experience in three sectors: for-profit technology companies, non-profit organizations, and public sector agencies.

Session Three Speaker

3:00 – 3:45 p.m.

Federal Legislative Update and Political Insight

From new proposed Title IX regulations to the Supreme Court decision on abortion access to increases in the Pell Grant and research funding, 2022 saw significant shifts on the federal political landscape that will have an impact on higher education. With a deep background in and keen awareness of higher education policy, Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, will speak about these ramifications on independent colleges and universities, as well as the pivotal 2022 midterm elections.


Ted Mitchell

President, American Council on Education

Mitchell’s leadership of ACE and of the nation’s higher education sector is informed by a lifetime's work in higher education as a professor, dean, college president, trustee, and most recently as U.S. Under Secretary of Education in the Obama administration.

Session Four Speaker

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.

Facing the Cliff: Demographic Changes and Higher Education

The changing demographics of the country and the state—notably the decline in the birthrate and the decline number of high school graduates—will impact higher education for years to come. The pandemic depressed undergraduate enrollment across the board and, perhaps, reveals potential future challenges for colleges and universities. Hans Johnson, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and a nationally recognized demographer, will speak about the trends he is seeing and the impacts on independent higher education in the state.


Hans Johnson

Senior Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California

Johnson's research focuses on improving college access and completion.

Session Five Speaker

4:30 – 5:15 p.m.

Politics of Higher Education

Over the last four years, the Newsom Administration has implemented impactful and tangible policy goals, including substantial investments in higher education and financial aid, the establishment of the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care, and the creation of the Office of the Cradle-to-Career Data System. The architect behind these achievements is Ben Chida, chief deputy cabinet secretary for Governor Gavin Newsom. Mr. Chida will join participants to speak about the impact of these success on independent colleges and universities, as well as Governor Newsom’s higher education policy goals in his second term.

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Ben Chida

Chief Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Office of the Governor

Ben Chida is the chief deputy cabinet secretary for the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, where he has served as senior policy advisor for cradle to career. 


Concluding at 2:00 p.m.

TOPIC: State Legislative Update and New Dashboard Reveal

TOPIC: State Legislative Update and New Dashboard Reveal

Session One Speakers

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Annual Business Meeting


David Fike

President, Golden Gate University

David J. Fike, PhD became GGU's seventh President in August of 2015.

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Kristen F. Soares

President, AICCU

Kristen Soares is the fourth president of the Association of Independent California Colleges

and Universities. 


Ann McElaney-Johnson

President, Mount Saint Mary's University

Dr. Ann McElaney-Johnson is the 12th president of Mount Saint Mary’s University.

Session Two Speakers

10:00 – 10:45 a.m.

State Legislative Update and New Dashboard Reveal

AICCU secured several significant achievements this legislative session, from investments in the sector’s Cal Grant students to state budgetary support to expand and strengthen community college transfer and articulation. Alex Graves, AICCU vice president for government relations, will discuss what transpired in 2022 for state higher education policy, and Pamela Ong, AICCU research manager, will share AICCU’s new dashboard tool for segmental data research and insights.


Alex Graves

Vice President for Government Relations, AICCU

Graves joined AICCU in January 2019. As vice president for government relations, he is the chief lobbyist and is responsible for legislative advocacy and public policy leadership in support of independent higher education. 


Pamela Ong

Research Manager

Ong joined AICCU in June 2021. As the Research Manager, she is responsible for the collection and analysis of data, developing data systems, managing institutional data, and working collaboratively with AICCU institutions.

Session Three 

10:45 – 11:15 a.m.

SECURE 2.0: What to Expect

Join TIAA’s Federal Government relations, Chris Spence, for a discussion of SECURE 2.0, a comprehensive legislative proposal currently moving through Congress. Chris will discuss the status of the legislation, provide an overview of some of the key provisions, and what plan sponsors should be thinking about as this bill moves toward enactment.

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Chris Spence

Managing Director, Head of Federal Government Relations

Chris  Spence has been with TIAA since 1999. During his first eight years with the company, he served as a Financial Consultant, providing clients with holistic financial planning guidance focused on helping them achieve their retirement goals.

Session Four Speakers

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Reimagining Campus Counseling Centers

As the mental health crisis continues to grow across the United States, so too has it severely impacted college and university students. College administrators have had to think strategically about finding new ways of serving the ever-growing population of students with mental health needs. Dr. Michele Nealon, president of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and Dr. Maureen O’Connor, president of Palo Alto University, will provide an overview of the mental health issues facing today’s students, as well as direct strategies institutions can implement to best serve its students.


Michele Nealon, Psy.D.

President, The Chicago School of Psychology

Dr. Nealon leads one of the most successful non-profit professional graduate schools in the nation, directing campuses across the country that educate more than 6,000 students in the fields of psychology and related behavioral sciences.


Maureen O'Connor, Ph.D., J.D.

President, Palo Alto University

Dr. O’Connor specializes in Psychology and Counseling. Prior to joining PAU, Dr. O’Connor held multiple roles at the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City over a period of

18 years.

Session Five Speaker

12:15 – 2:00 p.m.

Facing Challenges and Finding Solutions for the Independent Higher Education Sector 

Nationally and statewide, independent higher education is at a crossroads. Nonprofit colleges and universities—and, by extension, campus leaders—face both real and existential threats, from campus closures and mergers; to the toll of the pandemic on students, enrollment, and finances; to political attacks on both sides of the aisle. Alexandra Lozanoff, with WestEd, will moderate an interactive discussion with participants to curate the most pressing issues shared by campus leaders and jointly surface promising solutions. Ms. Lozanoff will utilize technology offered by ThoughtExchange, an event sponsor, to elicit—in real-time—the challenges that campus leaders are most eager to tackle. Participants will have the opportunity to generate strategies to collectively address those challenges in the short- and long-term. Help us chart the future of the independent higher education sector!


Alexandra Lozanoff

Senior Project Manager, Postsecondary Education & Workforce Development, WestEd

Alexandra Lozanoff is a Senior Project Manager in Postsecondary Pathways and Career Mobility at WestEd. Alexandra provides technical assistance for postsecondary and workforce development clients to empower administrators, staff, and faculty to transform data into action that equitably improves outcomes for students.

NOTE: Speakers and schedules may change

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