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Daniel R. Porterfield named President of Franklin and Marshall College

It is my deep pleasure to report that my dear friend, Georgetown colleague, and former co-teacher, Dan Porterfield has just been named President of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The formal announcement was made at press conference at 11:30 EST today, and the College issued the following statement:

College’s Statement

Franklin and Marshall College released this statement. Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D., a senior vice president at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., was named the 15th president of Franklin & Marshall College today by the College’s Chair of the Board Lawrence I. Bonchek, M.D. Porterfield will join the College March 1, 2011, although his transition will begin next month.

Bonchek said, “Dan Porterfield proved so extraordinarily appealing, so talented and so incontestably right for F&M, for Lancaster, and for leadership in higher education, that though the search committee had been evaluating a large group of other eminently qualified candidates, it became almost immediately clear who would be our inevitable choice. Dan is totally dedicated to using his considerable intellectual powers, his managerial talent, his personal magnetism, his strategic vision and his encompassing interest in those who learn and those who teach to advance the welfare of Franklin & Marshall.

”Currently, Porterfield serves as Georgetown’s senior vice president for strategic development, leading in the development of major institutional projects. His purview includes institutional positioning, social impact strategy, civic engagement, communications, government relations, community relations and intercollegiate athletics.

An assistant professor of English at Georgetown since 1997, Porterfield regularly teaches literature courses dealing with human rights, education and social justice. He and his family have lived in a residence hall on campus for more than seven years, and he is very active in campus culture and life.

Prior to coming to Georgetown in 1997, he served for four years as a senior aide to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala.

A recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship and a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, Porterfield earned his Ph.D. in English from The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown and subsequently earned a second bachelor’s degree from Hertford College at Oxford University.

Porterfield has received numerous honors for teaching excellence at Georgetown. In 2010, he received the School of Foreign Service Faculty Excellence Award and, in 2008, he was awarded the Georgetown College Edward Bunn, S.J., Award. Both awards are the schools’ highest honors for faculty distinction. In 2003, he was selected by the student body for the Dorothy Brown Award for exemplary commitment to the educational advancement of students.

In the 1980s Porterfield founded Georgetown University’s D.C. Schools Project and After School Kids Program, two continuing social justice projects that allow several hundred students a year to work with immigrant children and at-risk youth. He now serves on the board of directors of the Cristo Rey Network and of Jesuit Refugee Service-USA.

“I am excited and honored at the prospect of leading Franklin & Marshall College, a historic American institution poised for remarkable influence in the 21st century,” said Porterfield. “This College aspires to greatness in liberal arts education. Its faculty includes major scholars and innovative teachers. Its students are talented, thoughtful strivers known for their love of learning and desire to make a difference. Its alumni live lives of meaning and integrity. With a distinctive culture that prizes academic rigor, holistic learning, community spirit and civic engagement, Franklin & Marshall is a leader in higher education. I look forward to joining all who carry out its crucial mission.”

A native of Baltimore, Porterfield is married to Karen A. Herrling, an advocacy attorney in state and local enforcement of immigrant rights. They have three school-age children.

Franklin & Marshall College’s presidential search committee, made up of trustees, faculty members, students and professional staff, was led by Trustee Sue Washburn, principal of Washburn & McGoldrick Inc., a consulting firm in higher education philanthropy. Assisting as search consultant was Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates.

Georgetown University President Jack DeGioia released the following e-mail to the Georgetown community:

Georgetown University
Office of the President

November 16, 2010

Dear Members of the Georgetown Community:

It is with great appreciation for his dedication to Georgetown that I write to inform you that earlier today the Trustees of Franklin and Marshall College named Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D., Georgetown University’s Senior Vice President for Strategic Development and Assistant Professor of English, to be its 15th President, effective March 1, 2011.

I have known Dan since our days as students at Georgetown.  Throughout the years he has demonstrated an unfailing commitment to make a difference in the lives of young people here at Georgetown and beyond.  As a teacher, mentor, and leader he has an extraordinary gift to understand complex issues, bring people together, and help others flourish.

A 1983 graduate of Georgetown College, Dan earned a second B.A. in English from Hertford College at Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.  After working in a senior role at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and earning his Ph.D. at The City University of New York Graduate Center, Dan came back to Georgetown in 1997.  Since then he has held a diverse portfolio of responsibilities.  Over the years he significantly contributed to the 2000 and 2010 Campus Plans, the positioning of two capital campaigns, and the completion of our clinical partnership with MedStar Health, Inc.  He developed many aspects of Georgetown’s approach to civic engagement and deeply strengthened our relationships with the Cristo Rey Network and Teach For America.  He and his family have lived in Copley Hall for the past eight years and taken part actively in campus culture and life.

I am especially grateful for all that Dan has done to make a difference in the lives of our students and alumni.  In 2003, our students voted him to be the first recipient of the Dorothy M. Brown Award for exemplary service to undergraduates.  In 2008 and 2010 he was honored with the Faculty Excellence Awards of, respectively, the College and the School of Foreign Service, and spoke at both Schools’ Tropaia Exercises.

Dan’s wife Karen A. Herrling (C ’84, L ’90) and their three daughters are also fixtures in the Georgetown University community, and they too will be sincerely missed.

I look forward to celebrating Dan and his many contributions to Georgetown in the months ahead.  Please join me in congratulating Dan as he takes this next step in his distinguished career.


John J. DeGioia

Many, many congrats to Dan! This is a tremendous loss to Georgetown, but I know that he will be a truly outstanding President at Franklin and Marshall.

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Welcome! Who am I?

Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.