Achieving the Dream Announces Two New Board Members

SILVER SPRING, MD—Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, today announced two new members will join the organization’s Board of Directors: Suzanne Walsh, president of Bennett College, and Ricardo “Rick” Torres, president and CEO of the National Student Clearinghouse. Both were approved by the Board of Directors last month and will begin their terms in June.

“Achieving the Dream is pleased to welcome two exceptional leaders to our Board of Directors. Their diverse experiences encompass leadership in the philanthropic,  corporate, and higher education sectors. Both Suzanne and Rick bring deep commitment to equity and with their leadership will help ensure that ATD continues mission-critical work that keep equity and student success at the center of everything we do,” Dr. Stout said.

Before joining Bennett College as president in 2019, Suzanne Walsh served as a deputy director of postsecondary success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, developing a portfolio of over $70 million in postsecondary investments in institutional transformation in the U.S. She previously served in leadership roles with the Lumina Foundation for Education and The Heinz Endowments.

"I am pleased to be joining the board of ATD. As a college president, and in previous roles, I have seen how ATD places a critical emphasis on flexibility, a holistic approach, and on the importance of data and innovation to the students and communities they serve. As we recover from the dual crises of this last year, their role in transforming our communities could not be more vital," Ms. Walsh said.

Ms. Walsh has received national recognition for her portfolio of work with organizations at the intersection of innovation, technology, and learning. A frequent speaker and workshop leader, Walsh has published or edited several books and journal articles on the topic of educational transformation, and is the recipient of numerous awards, honors and fellowships. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Cornell University, as well as a master’s degree in social work and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University. She is a member of the Ohio Bar.

At the Clearinghouse, Rick Torres leads the nation’s most trusted source for enrollment and degree verification, whose members include more than 3,300 U.S. colleges and universities. Prior to joining the Clearinghouse, Mr. Torres had a long and distinguished career in the private sector, both in the U.S. and abroad, including serving as COO at BestPractices, a nationally recognized provider of emergency medicine and physician practice management, and Capital One.

“I am honored to be joining the Board of ATD. Through the work we do jointly with the Post-Secondary Data Partnership project (PDP) I have seen firsthand the results of their great work and the related impact on the life trajectory and outcomes of disadvantaged populations they directly serve,” said Mr. Torres. “The track record and work of ATD is an essential part of a rising eco-system of players that are dedicated toward equitable outcomes. I am happy to contribute to this effort with such a terrific results oriented organization.”

Mr. Torres is a board member of the John Tyler Community College Foundation, and the Advisory Board of Cohesive Knowledge Solutions (a knowledge management company). In 2013, The Washington Business Journal named him the Minority Business Leader of the Year. He holds an MBA in International Finance from Georgetown University and undergraduate degrees in both marketing and management from Manhattan College.

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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