Allegheny President Mullen Joins President Obama for Higher-Ed Access Announcement

Dec. 4, 2014 – Today, James H. Mullen, Jr., Allegheny College president and chair of the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE), will join President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders, to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support the President’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders and nonprofits to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.

“Throughout its history, Allegheny College has sustained a fundamental commitment to ensuring access for students of all socio-economic backgrounds,” President Mullen said. “In its Bicentennial year, the College is proud to reaffirm its commitment. I am honored to be a part of this very important day and appreciate the Administration’s commitment on this significant issue.”

Today’s participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the first lady’s Reach Higher initiative and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The President will announce new steps on how his Administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college. Today’s event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on Jan. 14, 2014.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class. Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile. In an effort to expand college access, the Obama Administration has increased Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

About President Mullen
Mullen became the 21st president of Allegheny College in 2008. With more than 25 years of experience in leadership roles in higher education, and a keen appreciation for Allegheny’s history and traditions, he focuses on building community while at the same time enhancing the college’s reputation as one of the nation’s preeminent colleges of the liberal arts and sciences.

One of his key initiatives at Allegheny College has been the establishment of the Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life, which was created in 2011 to annually recognize individuals in public life who hold strong partisan viewpoints and have demonstrated noteworthy civility in representing those views.

In addition to his service at ACE, he serves on several boards and committees, including the Presidents’ Advisory Council of the Bonner Foundation; the Presidents’ Council of the North Coast Athletic Conference; the Presidents’ Council and Executive Committee of Project Pericles; the Tax Policy Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; the Executive Committee of the Great Lakes Colleges Association; the Executive Committee, Joint Professional Affairs Committee and Nominating Committee of the Meadville Medical Center; and the board of the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh. Additionally, he is a signatory of the American Colleges and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and a member of the Annapolis Group.

Mullen is a sought-after lecturer in public policy, where his work focuses on the American presidency, as well as history and political science. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He holds a master of public policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a doctorate in higher education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.