Lynn Pasquerella Photo

National Higher Ed Leader and Advocate Joins Board of Coalition for the Common Good

The Coalition for the Common Good, the newly founded system of independent mission-aligned nonprofit colleges and universities, is pleased to announce that Lynn Pasquerella, PhD, has joined the Coalition’s Board of Directors. Pasquerella is one of the country’s most prominent public voices and forceful advocates for the value of liberal education, the importance of access to resources and pathways, and the need for career training for jobs and citizen education for justice.  

“Lynn brings incredible expertise as a renowned leader and scholar on the role of American higher education in advancing the common good and preparing students for engagement in a participatory democracy,” said Board Chair Holiday McKiernan. “I am excited about the Board’s work in the months and years ahead.”   

Otterbein University and Antioch University announced the creation of the Coalition for the Common Good on August 15, 2023. It is the first national higher education system of affiliated universities organized around a shared mission of educating students not only to advance their careers, but to promote our pluralistic democracy, social, racial, economic, and environmental justice, and the common good — making Pasquerella an ideal member for its Board of Directors. 

“There is likely no stronger voice than Lynn Pasquerella on the importance of education in the future of our democracy. She is a passionate advocate for exactly what the Coalition was created to do — open the doors of higher education wide for those underserved by our existing education systems,” said John Comerford, PhD, president of the Coalition and of founding member Otterbein. 

The Coalition is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors, with four directors appointed by each of the institutions and a ninth member, not affiliated with either university, appointed by the Board. The Coalition plans to add new members based on institutional mission alignment, geographic diversity, and complementary academic programs. 

Coalition vice-president and chancellor of Antioch University, William Groves, JD, added, “I look forward to Lynn Pasquerella’s insights and experience to help further the Coalition’s effort to increase access and offer degree and nondegree programs that further economic equity, and social and racial justice. As a voice for higher education as a public good, Lynn captures the spirit of the Coalition and what we hope to do in the coming years.” 

Pasquerella has served as president of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) since 2016. Her most recent book, What We Value: Public Health, Social Justice, and Educating for Democracy, examines urgent issues — moral distress, access to resources, and the conflict over whose voices and lives are privileged — and argues that liberal education is the best preparation for work, citizenship, and life. Pasquerella’s areas of expertise focus on civic engagement, access, accreditation, strategic planning, and advocacy for equity and inclusion in higher education.  

Prior to joining AAC&U, Pasquerella served as the 18th president of Mount Holyoke College and held positions as provost at the University of Hartford and vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school at the University of Rhode Island, where she taught for more than two decades. She is the host of Northeast Public Radio’s The Academic Minute, a radio segment and podcast featuring a different university-based researcher each day. She also serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Public Philosophy Journal

Pasquerella has won many awards and was named one of America’s top 353 women leaders in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. She earned her doctorate degree in philosophy from Brown University in 1985.