Education and Social Impact Leaders Join National Board of College Possible

College Possible, one of the largest national college access and success nonprofits in the U.S., welcomes Dr. Fayneese Miller, Dr. Jenny Rickard, Dr. Suzanne Rivera, Dr. Doreen James Wise, and Adam Wray to its national board of directors

October 4, 2021 9:00 AM EDT

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ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- College Possible, a national college access and success nonprofit recently welcomed five senior executives in education and social impact to its national board of directors. Representing more than 60 years of combined education experience, the incoming board members will help shape College Possible's ongoing work to help students from low-income backgrounds navigate the college admissions process, successfully persist through degree completion, and set a proven foundation toward economically self-sufficient, choice-filled lives.  

"For more than two decades College Possible has helped aspiring students from historically underinvested communities chart their path to and through college. At every step, our board has provided leadership, insights, and experience to guide the evolution of that work in service to a diverse population of students, particularly at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has had such an inequitable impact on persons of color and youth and families from low-income backgrounds. Our new board members each bring valuable perspectives and expertise essential to our ability to continually innovate and evolve our work in closing the college equity gap," said Craig Robinson, CEO of College Possible.

College Possible provides one-on-one college coaching from recent college graduates serving as AmeriCorps members. Annually, they work with nearly 22,000 high school and college students from low-income backgrounds at 169 high schools and 107 colleges in eight cities across the country. According to a randomized Harvard University study, students who participate in College Possible's program are three times more likely to earn a four-year college degree within six years than their peers who are not involved in the program. Data from College Possible's 2019 alumni survey shows that over a five-year period, their graduates have a 98 percent employment rate, 94 percent have health insurance, and 96 percent of survey respondents found it "likely" or "very likely" that their children would be able to attend college. In 2018, they were awarded the inaugural Evergreen National Education Prize, which recognized College Possible's leadership and success in the college access landscape.

  • Dr. Fayneese Miller currently serves as the President of Hamline University, a private liberal arts university in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Over her 20-year career at Brown University she served in multiple roles including, as a tenured professor, the Director for the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, and the Chief Architect and Academic Leader of the education and ethnic studies. Prior to joining Hamline University she spent nearly a decade at the University of Vermont as the Dean of College of Education and Social services.
  • Dr. Jenny Rickard is the President and CEO of Common App, a non-profit membership organization committed to the pursuit of access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. Its application for admission is used by over 900 colleges and more than one million students each year. Prior to her role at Common App, she served as the Chief Enrollment Officer at both the University of Puget Sound and Bryn Mawr College.
  • Dr. Suzanne Rivera is the President of Macalester College, a private liberal arts college in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Her previous experience includes more than 25 years working in higher education. A bioethicist and science policy expert, Rivera served as the Vice President for Research and Technology Management at Case Western Reserve University, Vice President for Research Administration at UT Southwestern Medical School, and Director of Research Protections at UC Irvine.
  • Dr. Doreen James Wise is a nurse entrepreneur and Co-Founder of College Forward, which just merged with College Possible to become its eighth regional site. For the last 18 years, College Forward has been working in Texas communities supporting more than 20,000 high school and college students from disadvantaged backgrounds as they navigate the college admissions and completion process. Additionally, she founded and built Medical Research Consultants, a medical-legal services firm, and the Texas Center for the Missing.
  • Adam Wray is the Founder and CEO of AstrumU, a Seattle-based data services company that delivers a recommendation engine that quantifies the value of education for an individual. Prior to founding AstrumU, he held a variety of senior leadership and founding roles at data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud services, AI and machine learning-focused companies.

The newest board members will join the current College Possible national Board of Directors. As of July 2021, Al Fan, Senior Education Consultant at Irving Ventures and Daniel Lugo, JD, President at Queens University of Charlotte began their respective tenures as national board chair and treasurer; Joanna Burleson, Managing Director at Monitor Institute by Deloitte, will continue her role as the vice chair.

Existing board members include Dr. Donnell Butler, Founder and President of Opportunity College; Marlene Ibsen, Vice President of Community Relations at Travelers and President & CEO of Travelers Foundation; Jeff Kutash, Co-Founder of Boldly Go Philanthropy; Andrea Mokros, Chief Public Affairs Officer at M Health Fairview; Joelle Murchison, Principal and Founder of ExecMommyGroup; and Stephen Smith, CEO of Intellispark.

About College Possible: As one of the largest and most successful college access and success programs in the country, since 2000 College Possible has helped put more than 50,000 students from disinvested communities on the path to economic mobility via completion of a college degree. Its proven near-peer coaching model, delivered by recent college graduates serving as AmeriCorps members, provides high-touch interventions proven to help students navigate and overcome the most common barriers to college access, retention, and degree completion.

During the 2021-2022 school year, College Possible will work with nearly 22,000 high school and college students from low-income backgrounds at 169 high schools and 107 colleges in eight major cities across the country. Its model earns top-of-field results: a 2011 Harvard longitudinal study, the gold standard of evaluations, found that College Possible's program more than doubles a student's chances of enrolling in a four-year college, and its students are three times more likely to earn a bachelor's degree than their peers from similar backgrounds.

Headquartered in Saint Paul, MN, College Possible operates regional sites in Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; St. Paul, MN and Seattle, WA; has a College Forward site operating in Austin, TX; and has Catalyze partnerships in California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee. Learn more at

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