Presidents Forum

Presidents Forum

Since 2011, NC Campus Engagement has convened presidents and chancellors to discuss the role college and university leaders play in developing and institutionalizing higher education community engagement. This event is open to all NC presidents. The Forum is typically held on the same day as the PACE Conference.

14th Annual Presidents Forum

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Host: President Kyle Frambry
Guilford College

Save the Date

All North Carolina presidents and chancellors are invited to attend the 2024 NCCE Presidents Forum.

RSVP HERE by January 20, 2024. If you are interested in attending and it is past the deadline, reach out to Leslie Garvin, Executive Director.

Pre-Forum Dinner
Tuesday, February 13, 2024 (6 – 8 p.m.)

NC Campus Engagement member presidents are invited to a Pre-Forum Dinner hosted by President Kyle Farmby at his residence. When you RSVP indicate that you are also planning to attend the dinner.


Room blocks are reserved at the following hotels for the night of February 13. Please visit the link to secure your reservation.

O.Henry Hotel

Proximity Hotel


9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

  • Presentation of the 2024 NCCE Engagement Awards
  • Keynote Address: North Carolina Higher Education and the Future of American Democracy…A Challenge! 

Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr.

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Presentation: You don’t know what you think you know: Upending assumptions about speech and expression on campus


Dr. Elizabeth Niehaus

12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Presentation: Strategies for College Presidents: Fostering Civil Discourse during the 2024 Elections


Dr. Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill

Dr. Matthew Kutchum


John Silvanus Wilson, Jr.

Since December 2023, Dr. Wilson has served as the Managing Director of the Open Leadership Program in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab. He also serves as a Visiting Professor of Practice at the School of Education at Morgan State University. He previously served as the executive director of the Millennium Leadership Initiative, an established leadership development program under the
American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He also serves as a Visiting Professor of Practice at the School of Education at Morgan State University.

From August 2017 to October 2021, he served at Harvard University, first as a President in Residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, then as the Senior Advisor and Strategist to the Harvard President, where he guided the University’s launch of a new effort to enhance belonging. His final year there was spent as a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Business School, where he completed a book on the future of higher education, with emphasis on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Hope and Healing: Black Colleges and the Future of American Democracy, was released by the Harvard Education Press in May 2023.

In the nine years prior to arriving at Harvard, Dr. Wilson served in the first term under President Barack Obama as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He then served with distinction as the 11th President of Morehouse College, his Alma Mater.

Between 2001 and 2009, he was as an Associate Professor and an Executive Dean at the George Washington University. In 1985, he began his career with a 16-year stay at MIT, mostly as a senior fundraising official in two major capital campaigns. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College, a Master of Theology from Harvard University, and both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Administration, Planning and Social Policy, also from Harvard University. Wilson has won numerous awards and has served on several trustee boards, including Harvard University and Spelman College.

He is married to Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson, an engineering professor and entrepreneur at the University of Maryland, College Park. They are the proud parents of three adult children — twin daughters and a son.

Elizabeth Niehaus

Dr. Niehaus serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She was a 2020-2021 Fellow and 2022-2023 Senior Fellow with the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. Her research focuses on how we can create and improve educational environments to facilitate student learning and development in higher education with a particular emphasis on the intersections of issues of free speech, academic freedom, and campus climate.

Campus Free Expression Project
Bipartisan Policy Center

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill

Dr. Pfeffer Merrill is the director of the BPC Campus Free Expression Project. Prior to joining BPC, Merrill was the executive director of the Fund for Academic Renewal, a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. Earlier in her career, Merrill served on the faculties of St. John’s College (Annapolis), known for its Great Books curriculum, and the College of William & Mary. She has also taught at Duke University, the University of Calgary, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and in the college program at Maryland’s only prison for women. Her articles and essays have appeared in venues including Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and Perspectives on Political Science. Merrill earned her BA (First Class Honours) from the University of Calgary and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University.

Matthew Kuchem

Dr. Kuchem is the associate director of the BPC Campus Free Expression Project. Prior to joining BPC, Kuchem was Assistant Professor of Political Science at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he specialized in political philosophy and American politics. He has also served on the faculties of Indiana University, Bloomington and DePauw University, as well as developed curriculum and delivered virtual lectures at Ukrainian Catholic University. In addition to writing for popular and scholarly publications, he has experience leading general education and academic policy revisions. Kuchem earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University, Bloomington. He earned a B.S. in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism from Union University (Tennessee).


2023 Presidents Forum

Host: President Nido R. Qubein

Location: High Point


Dr. Ted Mitchell, President, American Council on Education (ACE)

Fireside chat with President Pamela Senegal, Piedmont Community College

Drs. Ashley Finley and Kathryn Enke, AAC&U

“A Comprehensive Look at Why Student’s Community and Civic Engagement Matters: Findings from the Field”

Dr. Eric Mlyn, Duke University

“Navigating the Politics of Higher Education”

2022 Presidents Forum [Virtual]

Host: NC Campus Engagement Executive Board


Eric Liu, CEO, Citizen University

“Making the Case for Civics Education”

Special thank you to Elon University for sponsoring Mr. Liu.

Demetri Morgan, Ph.D., Chair of the Higher Education Program and Assistant Professor at Loyola University Chicago

“Engaging Contemporary Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Tensions: Leadership for the Next ‘Normal’ ”

2021 Presidents Forum [Virtual]

Host:  Executive Board 


Thomas A. Stith III, President, North Carolina Community College System

“Promoting Democracy and Civic  Engagement During Turbulent Times”

William V. Flores, former president of the University of Houston–Downtown, current manager of the UHD Masters of Nonprofit Management Program

Katrina S. Rogers, President of Fielding Graduate University

Editors of Democracy, Civic Engagement, and Citizenship in Higher Education: Reclaiming Our Civic Purpose

The Role of Higher Education in Addressing Racial Equity

Paul Pribbenow, President, Augsburg University

A Culture of Caring: Intentionally Love Students to Success

Russell Lowery-Hart, President, Amarillo College

Paul Pribbenow - Russell Lowery-Hart

2020 Forum (10th Anniversary)

Host: President Connie Book, Elon University


Dr. Jen Domagal-Goldman, Executive Director, The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge

Higher Education’s Role in Cultivating Democratic Engagement

Dr. Jenna Robinson, President, The Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Policy Solutions to the Critical Issues in Higher Education (pictured)

Presidential Panel: Reflections and Recommendations from Former Campus Leaders

Moderator: Carol Quillen, President, Davidson College


Leo M. Lambert, President Emeritus, Elon University

Kenneth Peacock, former Chancellor, Appalachian State University


President Connie Book, Elon University

2019 Forum

Host: Chancellor Frank Gilliam, Jr., UNC Greensboro

Location: Greensboro


Dr. John B. King, Jr., president and CEO of The Education Trust

Toward Educational Justice: Student Success and Civic Engagement

Dr. Mildred García, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)

Jeremy Anderson, president of the Education Commission of the States

Key Ed Policy Trends in 2019 and the Impact of the 2018 Midterms

2019 Forum

2018 Forum

Host: President Jo Allen, Meredith College

Location: Raleigh


Dr. Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities

Presidential Leadership in a Post-Truth Era

Dr. Matthew Hartley, Professor of Education, Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Education and founding Executive Director of the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (AHEAD) at the University of Pennsylvania

Knowledge for Social Change: Creating Democratic, Civic and Community-Engaged Institutions.

Panel discussants: Justice Bob Orr, lawyer and former Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court and Dr. David McLennan, Professor of Political Science, Meredith College

Can they say that? The role of higher education in promoting free speech and civility

Sponsors: The Piedmont Service Group (Awards Sponsor) and Aramark (Resource Sponsor).

2018 Forum

2017 Forum

Host: Chancellor Harold Martin Sr., North Carolina A & T State University

Location: Greensboro


Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation

What Now”: North Carolina’s Opportunity to Reimagine Postsecondary Education

Dr. Alicia Dowd, professor of education at Penn State University’s Center for the Study of Higher Education

From Diversity to Equity: Engaging the ‘Race Question’ in Higher Education

Dr. Andrew Seligsohn, President of Campus Compact

Why Our Students, Our Communities, and Our Democracy Need Us to Change Our Institutions

Panel discussants: President Bill Ingram, Durham Technical Community College;

President Carol Quillen, Davidson College; Chancellor Elwood Robinson, Winston-Salem State University; Chancellor Jose Sartarelli, UNC Wilmington; and

Chancellor Harold Martin, Sr. (moderator)

Topic: Examples of promoting equity and inclusion

Sponsors: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Aramark Facility Services

2017 Forum

2016 Presidents Forum

“Partners in Progress: Presidents, Institutions, and Communities”

Host: President Nido Qubein, High Point University

Location: High Point


Pat McCrory, Governor of North Carolina

Gene Chasin, chief operating officer of the national non-profit Say Yes to Education

Dr. Steve Dubb, director of special projects at the Democracy Collaborative

Panel discussants:  Chancellor Steve Ballard, East Carolina University; President Stephen Scott, Wake Technical Community College; President Steven Solnick, Warren Wilson College

Topic: Institutionalizing and expanding civic and community engagement

2016 PACE Ceremony 053

2015 Forum

“Creating a Culture for #ServiceYear in North Carolina”

Host: President Leo Lambert, Elon University

Location: Elon

2016 ForumRetired General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan and the former commander of the nation’s premier military counter-terrorism task force, Joint Special Operations Command and Chair of the Board of Service Year Alliance

Making a year of full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for young Americans of all backgrounds

Presidential Panel discussants:

Richard Brodhead, Duke University; Carol Quillen, Davidson College; Taylor Reveley, College of William & Mary; Randy Woodson, North Carolina State University; Leo Lambert, Elon University (moderator)

Philanthropy/Business panel participants: Dave King, CEO, LabCorp; Kristy Teskey, Executive Director, John M. Belk Endowment; Nancy Cable, President, Arthur Vining Davis Foundation

Brodhead and Quillen

(pictured l to r: Brodhead and Quillen)




2014 Forum

February 5, 2014

Host: Chancellor Gary Miller, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Location: Wilmington, NC

2014 Forum


Chancellor Linda Brady, UNC Greensboro

Chancellor Harold Martin, NC A&T State University

Topic: Building a Sustained Higher Education and Business Collaboration: Opportunity Greensboro 

President Richard Guarasci, Wagner College

Topics: Maximizing Economic Development and Community Engagement Impact on Staten Island & Leading an Anchor Institution deeply committed to Community Engagement

Maureen Curley, President, Campus Compact

President Richard Guarasci, member, Campus Compact Executive Board

Topic: Campus Compact Moving Strategically Forward: North Carolina and National

Jason Mangone, Director, The Franklin Project

MacKenzie Moritz, Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships, The Franklin Project

Topic: The Franklin Project: Making Possible a Year of Service 

Dr. Jody Kretzmann, co-founder and co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute, Northwestern University

Topic: Higher Education Linkages that Build Vital Communities

Andy Chan, Vice President, Office of Personal and Career Development, Wake Forest University

Topic: How to get a job with a philosophy degree: Transforming higher education to prepare students for life

Dr. Barbara Holland, Researcher and Consultant

Topic: The Strategic Value of Engagement: Creating a Culture of Engagement

President Leo M. Lambert, Elon University and member of the North Carolina Campus Compact Executive Board

Topic: Setting our Course for the Future

Photo:  Members of the NC Campus Compact Executive Board (Leo Lambert, Elon; Jo Allen, Meredith; Ken Peacock, Appalachian State University; Nido Qubein, High Point University; Kyle Carter, UNC Pembroke; James Anderson, Fayetteville State University; Gary Miller, UNC Wilmington; Lisa Keyne, NC Campus Compact) Photos by: Jeff Janowski/UNCW.

2013 Forum

Host: President Leo Lambert, Elon University

Location: Elon, NC

2013 Forum


Dr. Peter L. Levine, Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Director of The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University

Roundtable discussions:

President Jo Allen, Meredith College, moderator

American Public Higher Education and the Value of Place:  New Frontier

Chancellor Gary L. Miller, University of North Carolina Wilmington & NC Campus Compact Board member

The Strategic Value of Engagement: Creating a Culture of Engagement

Judith A. Ramaley, President Emerita and Distinguished Professor of Public Service at Portland State University in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government and President Emerita of Winona State University

Creating a Culture of Engagement in North Carolina: The Strategic Value of our Compact 2013 Forum

Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock, Appalachian State University, NC Campus Compact Executive Board Chair (pictured in top photo to the left)

President Garrett D. Hinshaw, Catawba Valley Community College & NC Campus Compact Executive Board Member

Setting our Course for the Future

Chancellor Kyle Carter, University of North Carolina Pembroke

2012 Forum

“Intensifying Engagement: Presidents talking to Presidents”

February 15, 2012 (held in conjunction with NC Campus Compact’s 10th Anniversary Celebration)

Location: The Friday Center, Chapel Hill, NCHosts: NC Campus Compact Executive Board


Dr. Caryn McTighe Musil, Senior Vice President, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Dr. Mark Gearan, President, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Syracuse University

Panel discussants: Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Syracuse University; President Mark Gearan, Hobart and William Smith Colleges; President Brian Murphy, De Anza College

Moderator: Dr. Leo M. Lambert, President, Elon University & NC Campus Compact Executive Board member

Panel discussants: President Scott Ralls, NC Community Colleges (pictured); 

2012 ForumPresident Carol Quillen, Davidson College (pictured);  

Chancellor Phil Dubois, UNC Charlotte

Introductions: President Julianne Malveaux, Bennett College

Moderator: President Mark Gearan, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

2011 Forum

“Service as a Solution”

February 9, 2011

Host: President Leo Lambert, Elon University

Location: Elon, NC


Nicole Gallant, Director, Learn & Serve America, Corporation for National & Community Service

Panel Discussants: President Scott Ralls, NC Community College System; President Tom Ross, University of North Carolina; President Hope Williams, NC Independent Colleges & Universities

Moderator: President Garrett Hinshaw, Catawba Valley Community College & NC Campus Compact Executive Board member