U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer Recognized by America’s Independent Colleges and Universities

November 22, 2019

  Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA)(second from the right) accepts a frames replica of his Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus (CICC) Member Spotlight from NAICU President Barbara K. Mistick, D.M.; Independent Colleges of Washington President Terri Standish-Kuon, Ph.D.; and University of Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D.  Rep. Kilmer servers as co-chair of the CICC.
U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA), a co-chair of the Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus (CICC), was recognized for his leadership and support of independent colleges and universities by Barbara K. Mistick, D.M., president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

“As an independent college alumnus, Rep. Kilmer has a firsthand appreciation for the critical role independent colleges and universities play in their communities,” Mistick said. “He is committed to ensuring students and families from all economic backgrounds have access to the financial aid necessary to make college choice possible for students to achieve their dreams of a college degree.”
Rep. Kilmer, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013, was presented with a framed replica of his CICC Member Spotlight by Mistick during a reception for private higher education leaders in Washington, DC. Rep. Kilmer is a member of the House Committee on Appropriations and chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.  Outside of his work in Congress, Rep. Kilmer serves on the Board of Trustees of Princeton University (NJ) and previously served as trustee for Tacoma Community College (WA).
His congressional district encompasses the Olympic Peninsula, most of the Kitsap Peninsula, and most of the city of Tacoma.  The district also includes three independent colleges: Faith International University, Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, and the University of Puget Sound.
“Education is the great equalizer,” Rep. Kilmer said. “It gives young people a chance to succeed in life regardless of the circumstances of their birth. As the son of two retired public-school teachers, I’ve seen the transformational power of the important work done by our educators and by educational institutions. Attending a private, nonprofit college helped me get to where I am today. I want to continue to support these institutions, so I was excited by the opportunity to serve as CICC co-chair.”
His educational experiences at Princeton have had a profound impact on Rep. Kilmer’s life.
“The trajectory of my life changed substantially because of my college experience,” he said.  “I grew up in a small timber town in Washington State.  At Princeton, I got to meet classmates from all over the world who have become friends for life. I got to learn from professors who were at the top of their field. Perhaps most importantly, my college experience helped instill the notion of service in my life and reinforced my desire to come back home to make a difference in the community in which I grew up.”
Rep. Kilmer discussed the important role of private colleges in Washington and his district.
“Importantly, the colleges in my state are offering top-notch educational opportunities to their students, supporting my state’s effort to educate more people to higher levels,” he said.  “Beyond that, though, our region’s private, nonprofit colleges have an explicit and consistent dedication to community engagement and collaboration. I am proud of the legacy of service of these amazing institutions.”
University of Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. praised Rep. Kilmer’s understanding of and appreciation for role independent higher education can play in addressing economic inequality.
“Rep. Derek Kilmer is, perhaps, among the rarest of birds in Congress these days because he both appreciates and understands American higher education” Crawford said. “He appreciates the complex challenges that confront education, along with the economic and social value it provides to our communities. Most important, Derek understands how higher education is transformative and our best course to address systemic poverty and inequality, not only for our students but for their children and for generations to come.”
Pacific Lutheran University President Allan Belton cited Rep. Kilmer for his bipartisan leadership on economic, civil rights and college access issues.
“Congressman Derek Kilmer’s commitment to bipartisanship and economic development make him a strong representative for our state. Kilmer is a visible leader within our community” said Belton.  “He shows up for essential conversations about job creation, civil rights and access to a quality education, as well as building a sense of full community with all during times of collective tragedy and celebration.”
Independent Colleges of Washington President Terri Standish-Kuon, Ph.D. praised Rep. Kilmer for working to ensure students have the ability to choose the college that best meets their needs.
“We are proud that Rep. Kilmer is leading the CICC,” Standish-Kuon said.  “He is quick to talk about the role that independent higher education played in his own life and is a steadfast champion of students having the chance to enroll at the college or university that best fits their educational aspirations.  We applaud his commitment to promoting a diversity of options in higher education and we greatly appreciate his support!”
The Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus (CICC), launched in February 2017, offers Members of Congress an opportunity to both celebrate and advance the diversity of the nation's independent colleges and universities, and learn about the challenges and issues these institutions face.  The Caucus, led by co-chairs Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), has grown to 79 members.