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Today, far too many students leave our colleges and universities with crippling debt and little to show for it. Higher education institutions that should be engines of socio-economic mobility are instead fueling a divide of opportunity. Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust gives voice to students, parents, and concerned citizens who often get stuck with the bill but who rarely have a seat at the table. Partners advocates for common sense policies at the state and federal level that make college more affordable and address soaring student debt. We are unifying students and parents as they urge universities to reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate the pace of innovation. At the same time, Partners is committed to helping college governing boards restore public trust by making their institutions more affordable, transparent, and inclusive in tuition rate decision-making. Through advocacy, education, research, and collaboration, we’re creating communities of influence capable of driving change that will broaden opportunity for every American learner. And we are equipping higher education leaders with tools to ensure that all students have access to the full potential that an excellent, affordable higher education can unleash.

Board of Directors

Richard DeMillo

Richard DeMillo is the Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Professor of Computing and Professor of Management, former John P. Imlay Dean of Computing, and Director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Author of over 100 articles, books, and patents, he has held academic positions at Purdue University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Padua. 

Mr. DeMillo has devoted his career to guiding large and small, public and private organizations through periods of sometimes tumultuous change. He was Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Hewlett-Packard with worldwide responsibility for technology and technology strategy.  He also directed the Computer and Computation Research Division of the National Science Foundation

He is the 2013 Lumina Foundation Inaugural Fellow which recognized his founding of the Center for 21st Century Universities as a “unique institution.” He is also a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Computing Machinery. He is the author of the influential 2011 book “Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities” which helped spark the national conversation about college affordability and an award-winning 2015 sequel entitled “Revolution in Higher Education: How a Small Band of Innovators will Make College Accessible and Affordable.” Both books were published by MIT Press.

Patrick M. Callan

Patrick M. Callan is president of the Higher Education Policy Institute. He previously served as president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, executive director of the California Higher Education Policy Center, the California Postsecondary Education Commission, the Washington State Council for Postsecondary Education, the Montana Commission on Postsecondary Education, and as vice president of the Education Commission of the States.

He has been a visiting scholar at the Institute for Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley; senior fellow at the Steinhardt Institute for Educational Policy, New York University; and senior fellow at the Committee for Economical Development.

Callan is the author of articles, papers and reports on higher education policy, educational opportunity, public accountability, governance and financing of higher education, and state policy leadership. He has served on national boards and commissions that address these issues.

Callan is co-editor of Public and Private Financing of Higher Education: Shaping Public Policy for the Future (1997); The Learning Connection, New Partnerships between Schools and Colleges (2001); and co-author of Designing State Higher Education Systems for a New Century (2001), and Financing American Higher Education in the Age of Globalization (2012).

Marvin W. Gilliam Jr.

Marvin W. Gilliam Jr. served on the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia from 2010 through 2014 and currently serves on the College Board of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

One of five children and raised in the small town of Wise, Virginia, Mr. Gilliam was vice-president of the family-owned underground coal mining company, Cumberla and Resources Corporation, which was acquired by Massey Energy in 2010.

During his service on the UVa Board of Visitors and building upon his family roots, Mr. Gilliam was asked to serve as chair of the Committee on the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He championed the school’s commitment to affordable access, especially for young people in underserved communities. Students at the College of Wise graduate with one of the lowest debt loads of any public liberal arts college in the nation.

Mr. Gilliam’s ties to the College at Wise run deep. His mother, Betty J. Gilliam, was hired in 1960 as the first art professor, when the College at Wise was called Clinch Valley College. She was then named professor of art emerita in 1989. Generous contributions by the Gilliam family led to the school’s Center for the Arts being named in honor of his mother.

Mr. Gilliam is an alumnus of the University of Virginia. He now leads MAM Development LLC in Abingdon, Virginia. He also serves on the board of the Virginia Athletics Foundation. He lives in Bristol, Virginia.

Mark Grovic

Mark Grovic has invested in high growth education companies since 1992, and has been an award winning higher-ed instructor and administrator at the University of Maryland for 13 years.

Mark founded New Markets in 2002 and serves or has served as a Board Member or Observer for Lightningcast (TWX), Think Through Math, Moodlerooms (Blackboard), Paratek (RIMM), American Honors College, Andera, ConnectEDU, Mashable, Graduation Alliance, Overture, and Questar. He also co-founded LifeJourney, an online educational company that allows students to test drive real life careers. Prior to New Markets, Mark was a Portfolio Manager for SEAF, a $200 million emerging market investment company, Director of Estonia-based Baltic Small Equity Fund, a Co-Founder and Principal of the Templeton Emerging Europe Fund, and a Portfolio Manager of Private Equities at the Calvert Group.

Mark is a VC in Residence and a Professor of Venture Capital and Ethics at the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Mark also helped to found and served as Board Director of the Baltimore Chapter of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, is Board Chair at Emerson Preparatory High School in Washington, D.C. and serves as Chair of the Business Advisory Board of Venture Philanthropy Partner’s Youth Connect program which includes: KIPP DC; College Summit; and Year Up. Mark is also a member of the Washington Baltimore Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization.

Mark has a BA from UC Berkeley, a JD from Georgetown, and completed graduate work in accounting and finance at George Washington and Pace Universities, and the Harvard Business School.

James V. Koch

James V. Koch is a Board of Visitors’ Professor of Economics and President Emeritus at Old Dominion University. He led both the University of Montana as President from 1986 until 1990, and Old Dominion University as President from 1990 through 2001 and was named one of the 100 most effective college presidents in the United States.

He has held teaching and research positions at Illinois State University, California State University at Los Angeles, the University of Grenoble in France, Brown University, Rhode Island College, Ball State University, the University of Hawai’s, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and the University of Montana.

Dr. Koch has evaluated more than fifty presidents of universities, including the University of Hawai’i, the University of Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Alaska.

Dr. Koch has published eleven books and 100 articles in refereed journals. His research has focused on applied microeconomics topics. His journal articles on the economics of intercollegiate athletics, the economics of discrimination and affirmative action, TQM, and the economics of education have been reprinted and cited frequently. He has worked extensively on the economics of e-commerce. The Lumina Foundation published his study of the textbook market, Turning the Page, in 2013.

His research funded by the Kauffman Foundation examined the risk-taking behavior of corporate CEOs. The results were published as Born, Not Made (Praeger, 2008, co-author James L. Fisher). He authored America For Sale, a study of the purchase of U.S. assets by foreigners (Praeger, Fall 2009, co-author, Craig T. Bouchard). Dr. Koch served for several years as a member of the board of the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Company and its successor, Esmark.

He is the co-author (with Craig T. Bouchard) of The Caterpillar Way, an analysis of the success of the Caterpillar Tractor Company, a Fortune 100 firm. The Caterpillar Way was ranked among the New York Times Top Ten best-selling books in business in Fall 2014. He has a forthcoming book dealing with the causes of university tuition and fee inflation that will be published by the Brookings Institution.

Helen E. Dragas

Helen E. Dragas is a two-term member and past rector of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. As a university leader, she has advanced many fundamental activities – long-range strategic and financial planning, greater accountability, and transparency in decision-making – in an effort to ensure that U.Va’s tradition of affordable excellence remains accessible to all talented students from throughout Virginia. Ms. Dragas also serves as a trustee of Norfolk Academy, an independent co-educational day school and the oldest secondary school in Virginia.

Since 1996, Ms. Dragas has led Dragas Management Corp as President and Chief Executive Officer. Under her leadership, company assets have increased more than 50-fold. She has won numerous awards for quality and for her commitment to the community.

Ms. Dragas was twice selected for the Lee Evans Award for Business Management Excellence by the National Association of Homebuilders and Builder Magazine in 1999 and 2009. Builder Magazine named The Dragas Companies “America’s Best Builder” in 2009. In addition, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities honored her with its Humanitarian Award, “First Citizen of Virginia Beach.”

ForKids recently recognized her and the Dragas Foundation for work to find sustainable solutions to homelessness in Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach. Her extensive volunteer and board experience spans eight organizations including the Hampton Roads Partnership, Virginia Beach Library Foundation, College Foundation Board, and the University of Virginia Alumni Association Board of Managers.

A native of Virginia Beach, She earned a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and Economics.

Gilbert T. Bland

Gilbert T. Bland is the Immediate Past Chairman of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. His extensive board experience currently includes LEAD Virginia, the state Chamber of Commerce and Elevate Early Education with prior tenure on the Board of Visitors for Old Dominion University and the Board of Trustees for the James Madison University Foundation.

Professionally, Mr. Bland serves on the Board of Directors of the National Franchise Association and as President of the Burger King Minority Franchise Association. Chairman of The GilJoy Group, Mr. Bland has owned and operated more than 70 Burger King and Pizza Hut franchises in in Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Mr. Bland has received numerous awards for his community service and business initiatives including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award in recognition of his lifetime community achievements. In 2014, Virginia Business Magazine designated Mr. Bland as one of the 50 Most Influential Virginians. His current community service extends to the Board of Directors for the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

Mr. Bland earned a B.A. in accounting and economics from James Madison University and an MBA from Atlanta University. Mr. Bland was inducted into the Omicron Delta Epsilon economics honor society and Beta Gamma Sigma honor society for business. He resides in Virginia Beach.

Donald L. Zimmerman

Donald L. Zimmerman has 30 plus years’ experience as an entrepreneur, corporate leader, and strategic consultant. He has led engagements in organizational transformation, change management, strategy and concept development, applied public policy, defense analysis, and program management. In one of his latest projects, he is partnering with the United States Air Force, Air Mobility Command to transform it into a premier learning organization. This involves working with a multidisciplinary team to introduce new learning models coupled with technology to reinvent how the Air Mobility Command educates and trains its 130,000-person workforce.

He has consistently earned increasing levels of responsibility—from senior project analyst, to program manager of multimillion-dollar programs, to President and Chief Executive Officer—while remaining extremely active in leading-edge applied public policy issues.

Mr. Zimmerman and two partner/owners built a profitable professional services company, Synergy, Inc. from 3 people to 250 and he was CEO of Synergy when it was acquired by ICF International in 2005. He was part of the strategy team that took ICF public with a successful IPO and listing on NASDAQ in 2006.

Over the last ten years, he has been an active member of the executive leadership team that has grown ICF to be a $1B+ public, diversified professional services firm. During his tenure at ICF, Mr. Zimmerman has held multiple diverse roles, both staff and line, while marketing and executing large strategic consulting engagements and being active in partnering and problem-solving with multiple public and private sector clients.

In addition to a diverse career in consulting, Mr. Zimmerman has worked in academia and the US Government and published in refereed journals and presented in national forums.

He has taught economics courses at the University of Maryland and holds both a B.S. and an M.S. in Economics from Illinois State University. He was in the Economics Ph.D. program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as an Andrew Mellon Scaife Fellow. He served two tours in the U.S. Federal civil service; one at the White House as a senior economist, and another at the Federal Trade Commission as a staff economist.

Craig Bouchard

Craig T. Bouchard has built three billion-dollar metals companies in 10 years, and, after winning three hostile takeovers, plans to build the first Greenfield aluminum rolling mill in the United States in generations.

Craig is a New York Times Best Selling author. “The Caterpillar Way. Lessons in Leadership, Growth and Shareholder Value” reached #1 on the Barnes & Noble Best Seller List, and #8 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Craig’s “The Adventures of Ai” was one of the world’s most popular children’s book projects of 2014-2017. The book, music and accompanying video game achieved 300,000 downloads on Apple iTunes, Kindle, Samsung, and Google Play.

Learn more about Craig at


Dr. James Toscano

 Dr. James Toscano is the president of Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust and is a national leader in the fight to make college more affordable for American students and parents.

Toscano is a former senior higher education administrator and an open government advocate with fifteen years of experience in local, state and federal policy development.

During Toscano’s tenure as a vice president at Tidewater Community College (TCC), the college was the nation’s leader and model for lowering the cost of education for students through the innovative use of open educational resources.

A policy entrepreneur, Toscano spearheaded the development and adoption of an expanded public comment policy for governing boards, which gave greater access to citizens in public decision making. Toscano has held policy board appointments under two governors, was the legislative director to the assistant majority leader in the Virginia House of Delegates, and was a Governor’s Fellow under then-Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner.

Toscano’s experience in university governance dates back to the days when he was a student, as the first student in 18 years to be appointed to his university’s board of visitors under a new state law. Toscano holds a doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University, a master’s in public policy and management from the University of London, and a bachelor’s in communications from Old Dominion University.

Toscano has worked as adjunct faculty in the Christopher Newport University Department of Political Science and as a consultant to K-12. Toscano’s work can be found in GOVERNING, Government Technology, Public Management magazine, and in a recent book, Citizen Engagement and Public Participation in an Era of New Media, published by IGI Global.