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AGB Guardians Initiative Welcomes Prominent Individuals from Business, Government to Campaign Leadership Group

Oct 10, 2017

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) today announced the formation of the Guardians Initiative Leadership Group, composed of prominent corporate and government leaders who themselves serve as trustees and will provide insight and leadership as the Guardians Initiative expands its activities. The Guardians Initiative is a national campaign to engage college and university trustees in reclaiming the value proposition of higher education and its contribution to both individuals and society.

Members of the Leadership Group include:

  • Andrew Alexander, CEO and executive producer of The Second City, trustee, Columbia College Chicago;
  • Norm Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp., regent, University System of Maryland;
  • Patricia Brown Holmes, former assistant United States attorney, former trustee, University of Illinois;
  • Rosalind Brewer, group president and COO of Starbucks Corporation, former CEO of Sam’s Club, trustee, Spelman College (GA);
  • James R. Downing, MD, president and CEO of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, trustee, Rhodes College (TN);
  • Dennis FitzSimons, former chairman and CEO of Tribune Company, chair of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, trustee, Northwestern University (IL);
  • James W. Hazel, member, board of visitors, George Mason University (VA);
  • Brent Henry, member, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., former vice president and general counsel of Partners Healthcare, trustee, Princeton University (NJ);
  • Thomas H. Kean, former governor of New Jersey, former president, Drew University, former trustee, Princeton University, trustee emeritus, Teachers College Columbia University (NY);
  • Ann Hannaford Lamar, former justice, Mississippi Supreme Court, trustee, Mississippi State Institutions of Higher Learning;
  • Deborah Platt Majoras, chief legal officer and secretary of the Procter & Gamble Company, former chair, Federal Trade Commission, trustee, Westminster College (PA);
  • Richard W. Riley, former governor of South Carolina, former United States Secretary of Education, trustee emeritus, Furman University (SC);
  • Ellen Stofan, former chief scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), trustee, College of William & Mary Foundation (VA); and
  • Myron E. Ullman III, retired chairman and CEO JCPenney Company, vice chairman, Gordon College (MA).

“By virtue of their professional success and their personal service to individual institutions, members of the Guardians Initiative Leadership Group know intimately both the value of American higher education and the challenges our sector faces,” said AGB President Richard D. Legon. “Their dual perspectives will inform our work as we seek to harness the collective strength of the nation’s 50,000 volunteer trustees as advocates for higher education.”

Members of the Guardians Leadership Group will meet periodically to provide feedback on the direction of the campaign, serve as advocates for the campaign and its goals with the general public, and seek to engage colleagues in campaign activities.

As the nation’s colleges and universities begin the fall semester, the Guardians Initiative is also ramping up its activities. In conjunction with the announcement of the Leadership Group, AGB also today made available a number of resources related to the campaign through an enhanced web presence that will provide a home for issue briefs, podcasts, and an advocacy toolkit.

  • Issue Briefs. The first in a growing series of Guardians Initiative issue briefs is available now—The Business of Higher Education. The next briefs, available this fall, focus on the return on investment of a college degree and advances in teaching and learning outcomes.
  • Podcast. AGB’s exciting new podcast, Higher Education Nation, addresses several key topics for the Guardians Initiative. In the first episode, “It’s Time to Fight for Higher Education,” AGB president Richard D. Legon and president emeritus of the University of Wisconsin System and AGB senior fellow Kevin P. Reilly discuss the negative public perceptions of American higher education that are driving the work of the Guardians. A second episode, “The Business of Higher Education,” features a discussion of price, cost, value, and the misunderstandings about the higher education business model by Sandy Baum, senior fellow at the Urban Institute and professor emerita of economics at Skidmore College.
  • Advocacy Toolkit. This campaign toolkit is designed to provide trustees and institutional leaders with examples and resources that can support and inform advocacy efforts on the local, state, or regional level through presentations, op-eds, and speeches.


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