Keynote Speaker: Danette Gerald Howard, Ph.D.

Danette Howard

 Danette Gerald Howard is Chief Strategy Officer at Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing student access and success in postsecondary education. Dr. Howard oversees several key areas designed to increase Americans’ attainment of high-quality postsecondary degrees and credentials, including strategic work in both state and federal policy, and postsecondary finance. She also leads the Foundation’s efforts to mobilize and engage employers, metropolitan areas, higher education institutions and other key actors with a stake in increasing attainment, and efforts to build the learning infrastructure that is needed to facilitate the postsecondary ecosystem of the future. 

Prior to joining Lumina, Howard served as Secretary of Higher Education in Maryland, leading the state’s postsecondary education coordinating agency, the Maryland Higher Education Commission. As secretary she oversaw Maryland’s statewide financial aid program, approved new academic programs and institutions seeking to operate in the state, and advised the governor and legislators on higher education policies and initiatives. 

Dr. Howard earned her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Howard University. She also received her master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and her Ph.D. in higher education policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. 

She resides in Indianapolis with her husband and children.