Beginning at 1:00 p.m.

Welcome & Introduction Speakers


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.

Session One Speakers

TOPIC: Community-based Organizations and Higher 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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Meredith "Mer" Curry

Executive Director, Northern California College Promise Coalition

Curry is a proud Black and Filipina Bay Area native leading local and state-wide education, management and program development projects.

Session Two Speaker

TOPIC: Federal Legislative Update


Terry Hartle

Senior Vice President, Government Relations and Public Affairs, American Council on Education

Hartle is one of America’s most effective and experienced advocates for higher education. At ACE, where he has served for more than 25 years, he directs comprehensive efforts to engage federal policymakers on a broad range of issues including student aid, government regulation, scientific research and tax policy. 

Session Three Speaker

TOPIC: Demographic Changes in California and the Impact on Higher Education


Hans Johnson

Senior Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California

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

Session Four Speaker

TOPIC: Politics of Higher Education


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.


Concluding at 1:30 p.m.

Session One Speakers

TOPIC: State Update and Dashboard


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 Two Speakers

TOPIC: Reimagining Campus Counseling Centers


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.

NOTE: More speakers will be added soon!