Speakers Biographies

February 3-6, 2019
JW Marriott Washington Hotel
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20004

2019 Speakers


Jo Allen, Ph.D.

Jo Allen is the eighth president of Meredith College (NC), one of the largest private colleges for women in the U.S. She is the first alumna to lead the 127-year-old institution.  Before her return to her alma mater, Allen served as senior vice president and provost, and tenured professor of English, at Widener University (PA), and served as a tenured associate professor of English and as an administrator at East Carolina University and at North Carolina State University. She also serves as vice chair of the NAICU Board of Directors, a board member for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and as treasurer of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.  Allen is a graduate of Meredith and East Carolina University, and earned a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University.

David A. Armstrong, J.D.

David Armstrong became the 10th president of St. Thomas University (FL) in August 2018.  He is a nationally-recognized speaker on future trends in higher education law and Title IX issues, and has dedicated his career to making sure small, faith-based colleges not only survive, but thrive in the new landscape of higher education.  Previously, he had been president of Thomas More University (KY), a Catholic liberal arts school, since 2013. Armstrong earned a juris doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and a B.A. in political science from Mercyhurst University (PA).

Simon Barker

Simon Barker is managing partner at Blue Moon Consulting Group, a consultancy focused on providing real-time response and proactive planning services to reduce reputational risk, particularly for higher education and technology clients. Barker provides issues and crisis management advice and counsel to colleges, universities, and associated research and healthcare facilities in the midst of high-profile events including, protests, sexual assault, academic scandal, child molestation, data breaches, activism, and a range of financial, social and ethical issues. Prior to founding Blue Moon in 2014, he was a senior vice president in Marsh & McLennan’s Reputational Risk & Crisis Management practice.  Barker earned an M.B.A from Cornell University (NY), an M.A. in Japanese Studies from Ehime Daigaku, Japan, and a B.A. in English Literature from Leicester University, UK.

Andrew K. Benton, J.D.  

Andrew K. Benton has been president of Pepperdine University (CA) since 2000 and will conclude his presidency at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. A lawyer, he has been involved in university administration for more than four decades, previously serving in key leadership roles at Pepperdine including: executive vice president and vice president for university affairs and administration. Benton is a highly respected voice on higher education issues, having recently offered testimony on improving transparency before the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development. A recognized leader in higher education, he currently serves as NAICU board chair and is a former board chair at the American Council on Education. Benton also is immediate past chair of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. He is a graduate and distinguished alumnus of Oklahoma Christian University with a degree in American studies, and earned a law degree from Oklahoma City University.

Michael E. Capuano

A former ten-term Member of Congress from Massachusetts' Seventh District, which includes most of Boston, Michael Capuano was a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Financial Services. He also was a founding co-chair of the Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus. Prior to serving in Congress, Capuano was the Mayor of Somerville, MA (January 1990-99). He earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College (NH) and a law degree from Boston College Law School. 

Emily Chamlee-Wright, Ph.D.

Emily Chamlee-Wright is the president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies and an expert on the complex and often fraught topic of free speech policy and governance in higher education.  She has an accomplished record as an academic leader, scholar, and educator. Previously, Chamlee-Wright served as provost and dean at Washington College (MD) and was the Elbert H. Neese Professor of Economics and associate dean at Beloit College (WI). She is a former W.K. Kellogg National Leadership Fellow, and has six books to her credit, including Liberal Learning and the Art of Self-Governance and The Cultural and Political Economy of Recovery. Chamlee-Wright earned a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University.

Richard Ekman, Ph.D. 

Since 2000, Richard Ekman has been president of the Council of Independent Colleges . He previously served as vice president for programs at Atlantic Philanthropies and, from 1991 to 1999, as secretary and senior program officer of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His campus experience includes service as vice president and dean of Hiram College (OH), and assistant to the provost of the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

Ronald A. Faucheux, Sr., Ph.D.

A nationally respected pollster, author and political analyst, Ron Faucheux is president of Clarus Research Group, a full-service research and polling company based in Washington, DC, and publisher of the daily newsletter about polling, Lunchtime Politics.  A former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, he also served as editor and publisher of Campaigns & Elections magazine. Faucheux is as an authoritative, nonpartisan media source and expert analyst on a range of issues for national network television programs, newspapers, radio stations and magazines . He teaches at Georgetown University (DC) and at the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University (DC).  Faucheux graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and earned a Ph.D. degree in political science from the University of New Orleans and a law degree from the Louisiana State University Law Center.


Jody Feder

Jody Feder is director of accountability and regulatory affairs at NAICU. She represents the association on issues including: accreditation, state authorization, Title IX, and educational privacy with Congress and the Administration. She joined the NAICU staff in March 2017 after more than 14 years as a legislative attorney with the Congressional Research Service. At CRS, she provided nonpartisan advice and analysis to Members of Congress on civil rights and education law. Prior to attending law school, she wrote about federal education issues as an editor for Thompson Publishing Group. Feder earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Brown University (RI), and a law degree from Yale University (CT).


Bradford Fitch

Bradford Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), has spent 25 years in Washington as a journalist, congressional aide, consultant, college instructor, Internet entrepreneur, and writer/researcher.  He began as a radio and television reporter in the 1980s, and moved to Capitol Hill in 1988 working for four Members of Congress in several positions, including: press secretary, legislative director, and chief of staff.  In 2001 he joined CMF and served as a management consultant to Members of Congress, offering confidential guidance, conducting staff training programs, and writing on enhancing the performance of congressional offices. He served as editor of Setting Course: A Congressional Management Guide for the 108th Congress and 109th Congress editions. He left CMF in 2006 to form Knowlegis, which was acquired by CQ-Roll Call Group, where Fitch served as a vice president until 2010 when he returned to CMF. He is the author of books and articles on communications and advocacy, and has served an adjunct communications professor at American University (DC). Fitch earned a degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University (MD) and a graduate degree in journalism and public affairs from American University.

Sarah A. Flanagan 

Sarah A. Flanagan, NAICU vice president for government relations and policy development, has an extensive background in higher education policy, education, and the federal government. She has been instrumental in a number of successful policy efforts with NAICU. Previously, she was the professional staff member for higher education on the Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and Humanities, and staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Children, Family, Drugs, and Alcoholism. Flanagan earned a B.A. from Providence College (RI) and an M.A.T. from Rhode Island College. She is a trustee of Mary Baldwin University (VA) and Beacon College (FL), and a trustee emerita of Providence College (RI).

Scott Flanagan, Ed.D.

Scott Flanagan became the seventh president of Edgewood College on August 1, 2014. He joined the Edgewood community in 1998, serving as dean of admissions and financial aid, vice president for planning and enrollment, interim chief financial officer, and executive vice president. In addition, he has taught a doctoral course in higher education finance.  A respected higher education leader, Flanagan has been a presenter and consultant on trends in higher education, strategic planning, enrollment management, leadership, and change management.  He serves on the NAICU Board of Directors and is chair of the Committee on Accountability. Flanagan earned a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.B.A. from the University of Saint Francis (IN), and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Stephanie Giesecke 

Stephanie Giesecke, NAICU’s director for budget and appropriations, represents the association with Congress and the higher education community on budget and appropriations issues. She also is the key staff member for the Student Aid Alliance. Previously, she was a legislative assistant for the Association of Community College Trustees, and was a legislative assistant for Rep. Bill Alexander (D-AR). She is an active member of the Committee for Education Funding and currently serves as its president. Giesecke is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (MO) and The George Washington University (DC). 

Robert W. Goodlatte

A former 13-term member of the House of Representatives from Virginia's Sixth Congressional District, which includes the City of Roanoke, Robert "Bob" Goodlatte most recently served as chair of the House Judiciary Committee and as a member of the House Committee on Agriculture. Goodlatte was founding co-chair of the Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus. He is a graduate of Bates College (ME) and the Washington and Lee University School of Law (VA).


Liz Gross, Ph.D.

Liz Gross is the founding Director of Campus Sonar. Gross launched a successful social listening program at Great Lakes in 2013 and has since been focused on driving social listening forward as a source of business intelligence in higher education. She is a recognized expert, data-driven marketer, and higher education researcher, who frequently presents at higher education conferences and is a published author. Her professional super powers include designing and analyzing market research, applying social media strategy to multiple areas of the business, explaining difficult concepts in simple language, and using social listening to develop consumer insights and assist with reputation management. Gross earned a Ph.D. in leadership for the advancement of learning and service in higher education at Cardinal Stritch University (WI).

Lester D. Holt, Jr.

Lester Holt is an award-winning journalist and anchor of NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, the network's flagship broadcast currently celebrating its 70th anniversary. He also leads NBC News’ special reports, breaking news and primetime political coverage.  Holt was named to the role of “NBC Nightly News” anchor in June 2015 after eight years as anchor of "NBC Nightly News" weekend editions and 12 years as co-anchor of "Weekend TODAY." In addition, he has served as principal anchor of "Dateline NBC" since September 2011.  Holt joined NBC News in 2000 and is known for his outstanding work in the field. As a preeminent broadcast journalist, Holt was selected to moderate the first presidential debate of 2016, which was the most-watched debate in American history.  He joined MSNBC after 14 years at WBBM-TV in Chicago. Previously, Holt worked as a reporter at WCBS-TV in New York and sister station KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.  His work has been recognized with numerous honors, including multiple Emmy Awards and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award. Holt was honored with Quinnipiac University’s Fred Friendly First Amendment Award in 2017 and received an honorary doctorate from Pepperdine University (CA) in 2012.  Holt studied government at California State University in Sacramento.

Jim Hundrieser, Ph.D.

Jim Hundrieser is the associate managing principal of AGB Institutional Strategies. Over his 25-year career in higher education, he has served in a variety of roles from an institutional vice president, to consultant, to faculty member, to residence hall director. The core of Hundrieser’s work has been focused on providing ways for students to gain access to and succeed in higher education. Previously, Hundrieser led the reengineering efforts of Plymouth State University’s (NH) undergraduate admissions department, which resulted in two straight years of record first-year enrollment. He also served as vice president of student development at Lynn University (FL) and as a full-time consultant for Noel-Levitz. He is a graduate of Northern Michigan University and Plymouth State University (NH), and earned a Ph.D. in leadership and education from Barry University (FL).

Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. He leads the editorial operations overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Jaschik is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University, and is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999 to 2003, Jaschik was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is a graduate of Cornell University (NY).

Karin Johns 

Karin Johns, NAICU’s director of tax policy, is responsible for developing legislative strategies and representing the association on tax policy issues. She also serves as liaison to the NAICU Secretariat, chairs the Coalition to Preserve Employer-Provided Education Assistance (IRC Sec. 127), handles post-9/11 issues affecting international students, immigration, and Department of Labor issues and regulations affecting colleges and universities. Previously, she was legislative director for Rep. Phil English (R-PA), managing legislative staff and overseeing Ways and Means Committee issues. She also worked for Rep. Fred Grandy (R-IA). Johns graduated from Westminster College (PA) with a B.A. in information arts, and a concentration in political science. She also attended the Fund for American Studies Institute on Political Journalism at Georgetown University (DC). 

Jennifer Kavanagh, Ph.D.

Jennifer Kavanagh is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and associate director of the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program in the RAND Arroyo Center, Her research focuses on U.S. political institutions and public opinion and their implications for U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Kavanagh also studies political uses of mis- and disinformation, and in her work for the U.S. Army, she studies military interventions and U.S. force posture. Her recent book, co-authored with RAND’s CEO Michael Rich, defines “Truth Decay” as the diminishing reliance on facts and data in U.S. political and civil discourse and describes its causes and consequences. While completing her Ph.D., she was a Department of Homeland Security fellow and completed a research internship at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. Kavanagh graduated from Harvard University (MA) with a B.A. in government and a minor in the Russian language. She completed a Ph.D. in political science and public policy at University of Michigan.


Tamara Keith

A familiar voice to NPR listeners, Tamara Keith is a White House correspondent and co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast, the most listened-to podcast during the 2016 presidential campaign, where she covered Hilary Clinton. She is also a member of the “Politics Monday” team on PBS NewsHour, providing regular analysis, commentary and well-honed insights on President Trump, Congress and the inner-workings of Washington politics. Now one of NPR’s top journalists, Keith started listening to the network while she was strapped in a car seat. She began contributing essays to Morning Edition when she was 15 and worked through college at NPR member station KQED. After becoming the youngest graduate of the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, she worked for a string of member stations before joining NPR as a business reporter in 2009. In 2011, she became a NPR Congressional correspondent, emphasizing coverage of House Republicans, the budget, taxes and fiscal fights. Keith is also known for B-Side Radio, the long-time public radio show and podcast that she co-founded, produced, hosted, edited, and distributed for nine years. 

Haven Ladd

Based in EY-Parthenon's Boston office, Haven Ladd serves as a managing director. Ladd was with Parthenon for more than two decades before its combination with EY in August 2014. He has consulted across a wide range of industries and focuses on strategic issues facing companies and schools in the U.S. education market. Ladd works extensively with education providers and also advises corporations in the professional services, information and related knowledge industries. He earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard University (MA) and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (NH), where he was an Edward Tuck Scholar. Ladd serves on the board of the Boston Collegiate Charter School and chairs the board of The Landing School, an independent college in Arundel, ME.


Kasia Lundy

Kasia Lundy is a managing director of EY-Parthenon based in the Boston office and is a leader of Parthenon’s Education group. She joined Parthenon in 1995 and gained extensive experience with corporate clients across multiple industries, as an associate, senior associate and consultant. In 2003, she moved to Harvard University (MA), where she held several senior leadership roles, including chief of staff to President Lawrence Summers and joint chief of staff to President Drew Faust and Provost Steven Hyman. In these roles, she also oversaw the operations of seven divisions reporting to the president. Since rejoining Parthenon in 2009, Lundy has focused on education sector engagements, including development of online learning strategies, redesign of governance structures, and organizational redesign to improve efficiency and effectiveness. She has also led strategic planning engagements for a variety of education clients. Lundy earned a B.A. in economics from Harvard University (MA) and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.


Pete Mackey, Ph.D.

Pete Mackey, Ph.D. is founder and president of Mackey Strategies. Across nearly 30 years in leadership roles at private and public institutions in the U.S. and Europe, Mackey has developed his expertise in institutional planning, communications strategies, crisis management, admissions and campaign communications, and team-building. His current clients include public research universities, private liberal arts colleges, independent schools, and national education and research organizations and foundations. Prior to founding Mackey Strategies, Mackey served as the top communications executive at five different institutions: Amherst College (MA), Bucknell University (PA), the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Science Foundation Ireland, and the University of South Carolina. He runs an annual training seminar specifically for rising communications leaders in the education sector. He earned an M.A. in film studies and a B.A. in English and legal studies from Case Western Reserve University (OH) and a doctorate in British literature and literary theory from the University of South Carolina.


Patricia A. McGuire, J.D.

Patricia McGuire has been president of Trinity Washington University (DC) since 1989.  She writes and speaks on a wide variety of topics concerning higher education, women and Catholic education, and her articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Current Issues in Catholic Higher Education, and a wide variety of other publications. Previously, she was the assistant dean for development and external affairs at Georgetown University Law Center and an adjunct professor of law.  She began her career after law school as the project director for the Street Law clinical program at Georgetown.  She is a former member of the board directors at NAICU and the American Council on Education and numerous other organizations.  She is a recipient of the Association of Catholic Colleges Distinguished Service Award, the TIAA Institute’s Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, NAICU’s Henry Paley Memorial Award.  She earned a law degree at Georgetown and a baccalaureate degree at Trinity.


Christopher B. Nelson, J.D.

Christopher Nelson is a senior contributor to The Imaginative Conservative.  He was the president of St. John's College (MD) from 1991 to his retirement in June 2017. A national spokesperson for the liberal arts, he regularly participated in the national conversation about higher education and frequently served as a panelist and speaker addressing issues of institutional autonomy, government regulatory intrusion, and changes proposed in the accrediting system. He also served as chair of the NAICU Board of Directors.  An alumnus of St. John's College and a graduate of the University of Utah College of Law, he practiced law in Chicago for 18 years and served as chair of the law firm when he left the practice to accept the presidency at St. John's College. NAICU honored Nelson in 2015 with the Henry Paley Memorial Award.


Tim Powers 

Tim Powers is director of student aid policy at NAICU. He serves as a liaison to Congress, the Executive Branch, and the broader higher education community on issues related to the many aspects of student aid. Powers joined NAICU in January 2015 after more than five years on the staff of former U.S. Representative Tim Bishop (D-NY), where he focused primarily on higher education issues under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Wake Forest University (NC) and an MBA at Georgetown University (DC).

Gideon Rose, Ph.D.

Gideon Rose is the editor of Foreign Affairs and holder of the Peter G. Peterson Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations.  He served as managing editor of the magazine from 2000 to 2010. Previously, he was the Olin Senior Fellow and deputy director of national security studies at the Council. Rose also has served as associate director for Near East and South Asian affairs on the staff of the National Security Council.  He also was the assistant editor at the foreign policy quarterly the National Interest and the domestic policy quarterly the Public Interest.  He is the author of How Wars End: Why We Always Fight the Last Battle among numerous other publications. He earned a B.A. in classics from Yale University (CT) and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University (MA), and has taught American foreign policy at Columbia University (NY) and Princeton University (NJ).

Dana Scaduto, J.D.

Dana Scaduto, J.D., is associate general counsel at Dartmouth College (NH). Previously, she served as general counsel at Dickinson College (PA) for 16 years.  Scaduto’s higher education career began in private practice in Harrisburg, PA as a litigator and member of her firm’s intellectual property practice group and founder and chair of education practice group. Scaduto is an active member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, having served two terms on the Board of Directors, and as chair of the NACUA Board.  In 2014, she was selected by the Education Department as a negotiator in the rulemaking process following the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.  She has also testified before Congress on the issue of sexual misconduct in higher education.  Scaduto chairs NAICU’s Legal Services Review Panel.  She earned a B.A. from Purdue University and a J.D. from the Indianapolis University School of Law-Indianapolis.

Lynn Tierney

Lynn Tierney is one of the most experienced crisis communications experts in the country, with a career spanning almost 40 years.  Tierney is currently senior advisor, crisis leadership at Blue Moon Consulting Group where she provides real-time crisis communications and decision-making support for clients as well as leads the firm’s educational initiatives on crisis leadership. Prior to joining Blue Moon, Tierney was vice president of communications for the University of California system, where she designed a new central communications and marketing department.  Tierney's career in emergency management took her to New York to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where she managed communications during high profile hijackings, airplane crashes, and was a key spokesperson during the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  In 1996, Tierney was appointed deputy fire commissioner with the New York City Fire Department and served for 6 years including during September 11, 2001.  She later became the president of the Tribute World Trade Center Visitor Center at Ground Zero. She also served as assistant administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in charge of communications nationwide, with eight regional offices and a staff of 88. 

David L. Warren, Ph.D. 

David L. Warren became president of NAICU in 1993 after nearly a decade as president of Ohio Wesleyan University. In November 2018, after 25 years at the helm, he announced his intention to retire from NAICU effective June 30, 2019.  Previously, he held administrative and faculty positions at Yale University (CT) and Antioch University (OH), and served as chief administrative officer of the City of New Haven, CT. At NAICU, Warren has led cooperative efforts with other national higher education associations, such as the National Student Aid Alliance, National Campus Voter Registration Project, Campus Cares, and the University & College Accountability Network (U-CAN), a major national consumer information effort for informed college-choice decisions. His work on behalf of higher education has been recognized with 24 honorary degrees. Warren is a graduate of Washington State University and Yale University (CT) , and earned a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Michigan. He also was a Fulbright Scholar in India and a Rockefeller Fellow at Yale. 

Robin Fretwell Wilson

Robin Fretwell Wilson is the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law and director and founder of Tolerance Means Dialogues. She also directs the Fairness for All Initiative at the University of Illinois, which provides tangible support and advice to legislators seeking to balance religious freedom and LGBT nondiscrimination protections. A member of the American Law Institute, she is the author, co-author, or editor of 11 books, including Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights and The Prospects for Common Ground and Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty.  Wilson assisted the Utah legislature as it enacted the Utah Compromise and is presently working with the United Arab Emirates’ Judicial Department to permit expatriates to resolve family law matters using the laws of their home country or their faith traditions.  She also has worked extensively on state law reform. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal.  Wilson earned both a bachelor's degree and a juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia.

Sarah Winkler

Sarah Winkler is co-founder and managing principal of Educe.  With over 25 years of experience in event strategy and program design, Winkler creates long-term strategies that move audiences to deeper engagement. She has helped both public and private institutions realize the full potential of such milestone events as campaign launches, regional tours, centennial and sesquicentennial celebrations, and campus visit experiences. Winkler has been published in national and regional press, has been a frequent speaker at professional association conferences, and chaired the 2017 CASE National Conference on Special Events. She is a graduate of Loyola University Maryland and achieved the rank of Certified Special Events Professional.