Achieving the Dream Vice President Acknowledged for Contributions to Higher Education

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Celebrates Women’s History Month with Awards

Silver Spring, MD (March 21, 2019) – Diverse: Issues in Higher Education is highlighting in its eighth annual special report 35 women who have changed higher education “by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills and making a positive difference in their respective communities.” Bonita J. Brown, vice president for network engagement at Achieving the Dream, Inc., is one of the 35 women being recognized for contributions to higher education during Women’s History Month. Women leaders from colleges in the ATD Network are also being honored by Diverse, including Dr. Tiffany F. Boykin, dean of student engagement at Anne Arundel Community College; Dr. Beatriz Espinoza, president of Coastal Bend College; Dr. Belinda Miles, president of Westchester Community College; Dr. Janita Patrick, dean of student support services at Richland College.

Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream (ATD), said, “I’m thrilled that Bonita’s work will find a larger audience through this award. Her excellence and leadership shine through in everything she does, and all of us at ATD think she’s awesome!”

“I am humbled to be included in this amazing group of women who are all dedicated to higher education and student success,” said Brown. “I’ve truly enjoyed my higher education journey, from working at individual campuses to working on issues at a national level, deepening my passion and commitment to support student success. I applaud Diverse for recognizing these powerful women working on the front lines to ensure that education is accessible to all.”

At ATD, Brown leads the Network Engagement team, which has responsibilities for recruiting colleges to the ATD Network. In 2018, Brown’s first year, ATD added 21 new colleges–one of the largest cohorts ever–to the national ATD Network. This year, Brown led the events team in planning ATD’s annual national networking and learning convening, DREAM. The 2019 convening, held last month in Long Beach, California, was one of the best-attended convenings ever with nearly 2,300 participants.

Brown came to ATD from The Education Trust where she served as director of higher education practice. In that role she led a national initiative, Optimizing Academic Success and Institutional Strategy (OASIS), a network of 10 regional, comprehensive, minority-serving institutions developed to share and implement best practices for student success, specifically for low-income students and students of color. Under her leadership, several network institutions saw during the first year of the initiative a 10 percent improvement in the number of students on track to graduate in four years. Before she joined The Education Trust, Brown held a variety of senior leadership positions at a number of public and private colleges and universities and HBCUs, serving in roles such as vice chancellor, chief of staff, and general counsel.

She is a frequent presenter and panelist at professional conferences and meetings and is the author of a number of articles and book chapters on the topics of leadership, governing boards, and law. She received the 2014 Top Women in Business Award from Triad Business Journal, Greensboro, NC, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Wake Forest University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University.

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Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 300 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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