Welcome and Keynote Address: Dan Porterfield

November 4, 2023

  • Dan Porterfield portrait
    Dan Porterfield President and Chief Executive Officer, Aspen Institute

A Fireside Conversation with Dan Porterfield on Independent Higher Education and Its Proposition, Achievements, and Challenges

(moderated by Marjorie Hass)

Independent higher education has been a powerful agent for changing lives, developing talent, supporting communities, and educating leaders for democratic societies. In its original and historical formulation, it was designed to produce an educated aristocratic class of citizens who sought the rewards of an enlightened mind and leadership in their communities. Since then, the sector has undergone vast changes to be more inclusive of people of all classes and aspirations. Yet, as storied as the sector is, it faces challenges of growing cynicism, exhaustion induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and intractable financial difficulties that are forcing some institutions to close or find new ways of collaborating with each other. 

Marjorie Hass will engage Dan Porterfield on these issues and more. They will discuss making the case for small liberal arts colleges and universities, finding opportunities within current challenges, telling a compelling story of the sector, and addressing alternative narratives that have crept into popular discourse.