Consortium Celebration Awardees & Keynote Speaker Biographies
Heroes in Higher Education Awardees
Argelia M. Rodriguez
President and CEO
DC College Access Program
Argelia Rodriguez was the first appointed President and CEO of the DC College Access Program (DC-CAP), a four-star Charity Navigator organization funded by leading Washington-area corporations and foundations to enhance college admission and graduation rates for DC public high school students. Annually, DC-CAP administers over $7 mil in scholarship funds and operates 40 college information centers supporting 23,000 students and their parents. Under her leadership, DC-CAP has helped over 35,000 students to attend college and over 14,000 to graduate, contributing to a 100% increase in the DC public high school student college enrollment rate and establishing DC-CAP as a leader in college retention research and practice. DC-CAP worked successfully with Congress to enact and implement the unprecedented DC Tuition Assistance Grant legislation that enables DC students to attend public institutions around the country at near in-state tuition rates.
Prior to DC-CAP, Rodriguez headed an educational and management consulting firm servicing educational and corporate clients including the District of Columbia Public Schools; AT&T; Clark Atlanta University; National Medical Association; Howard University Small Business Development Center; Quality Education for Minorities; American Association for the Advancement of Science; Charlottesville, VA Department of Education; and Century Technologies. Educational services focused on curriculum and staff development, educational research, minority student achievement, and intervention strategies for “at risk” students. Management services included strategic planning, industry and competitive analysis, organizational development, service marketing and advising new business start-ups.
While at Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Rodriguez consulted to Fortune 500 corporations in the insurance, financial services/banking, aerospace, telecommunications, manufacturing, and consumer products industries on projects involving strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, diversification strategies, market research, marketing strategies, cost management, and new product development. She gained earlier experience at Marine Midland Bank, IBM, and Texas Instruments and served as the Deputy Director of Marketing and Educational Outreach for President Clinton for the 1997 Presidential Inauguration, where a partnership with PBS created the first interactive internet history classroom and curriculum devoted to the Presidential Inauguration.
Rodriguez holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Stanford University. She is fluent in Spanish and English. In 2010, she received the Harvard African American Student Association’s Bert King Award for Service, and in 2014 was named a Murdoch National Community Hero.
Former Board Affiliations: Trinity University, Legal Aid Society, Sallie Mae Educational Foundation, Washington Tennis and Education Foundation.
Rajiv J. Shah, MD
The Rockefeller Foundation
Raj Shah is president of the Rockefeller Foundation, a global institution committed to promoting the well-being of humanity around the world through data, science and innovation. Under his leadership, the foundation raised and deployed more than $1 billion to respond to the COVID pandemic at home and abroad, launched a Pandemic Prevention Institute to prevent future health crises, and created a $10 billion Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet to help secure a just and green recovery. Raj serves on President Biden’s Defense Policy Board and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Previously, Raj was the 16th Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development where he reshaped the $20 billion agency’s global operations and secured bipartisan support for America’s leading development and humanitarian role in the world. He led the U.S. response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Pakistani floods, 2011 East African famine and the 2014 Ebola pandemic. For his efforts in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy, he was awarded the U.S. Global Leadership Award. Raj previously served as Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics at the Department of Agriculture where he created the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. In both roles, Raj was appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Raj also founded Latitude Capital, served on the United Nations High Level Panel on Pandemics, and taught as a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University. Previously, he served at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he created the International Financing Facility for Immunization which helped reshape the global vaccine industry and save millions of lives.
Raj is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the Wharton School of Business. He has received numerous honorary degrees, the Thomas Jefferson Medal from the University of Virginia, and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. He is married to Shivam Mallick Shah and they have three children.
Anthony A. Williams
Chief Executive Officer
Federal City Council
Tony Williams, the former Mayor of Washington, D.C. (1999 – 2007), is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Federal City Council, an organization focusing the creative and administrative talents of Washington’s business and professional leaders on major problems and opportunities facing the District.
He is widely credited with leading the comeback of Washington D.C. during his two terms as Mayor, restoring the finances of our nation’s capital, and improving the performance of government agencies, all while lowering taxes and investing in infrastructure and human services.
In addition to his duties with the Federal City Council, Mayor Williams is a Senior Advisor to King and Spaulding, LLP. He serves on several company boards as well as the boards of Urban Institute and the National Geographic Society.
Prior to Federal City Council, he led the Global Government Practice at the Corporate Executive Board in Arlington, Virginia. He also taught public finance and urban leadership as the William H. Bloomberg Lecturer in Public Management at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government while coordinating programs for the Municipal Innovation Program at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
Before his election as Mayor, he was the independent Chief Financial Officer of the District from 1995 to 1998, working with and on behalf of local officials, the D.C. Financial Control Board, and the U.S. Congress. Before his service in local Washington, Tony worked in a variety of positions in federal, state, and local government, including as the first CFO for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, appointed by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
He holds a BA from Yale, an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a J.D. from the Harvard Law School, as well as a number of awards and honorary degrees, including Governing Magazine Public Official of the Year in 1997. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and former President of the National League of Cities.
Under Secretary of Education
United States Department of Education
The Honorable James Kvaal formerly served as the president of the Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), a research and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to affordability and equity in higher education. TICAS is nationally recognized for its research and policy recommendations on student debt.
Kvaal served in the Obama Administration as the deputy domestic policy adviser at the White House and deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education. He led efforts to cut student loan monthly payments, hold career colleges accountable for excessive debts, and make community colleges tuition-free. He helped organize the White House Summit on College Opportunity, which featured more than 100 college presidents and other leaders committing to actions to help more students graduate from college. He also has served in senior roles in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
Kvaal taught at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy, and graduated with honors from Stanford University and Harvard Law School.