Jamie P. Merisotis is president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation committed solely to enrolling and graduating more students from college. Merisotis leads the Foundation’s $1.3 billion endowment and oversees all staff and strategic decision making.

Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO

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Long a champion of the idea that higher education enhances both society and individuals, Merisotis has worked for decades to increase educational opportunity among low-income, minority and other historically underrepresented populations. At Lumina, Merisotis is continuing that effort by employing a strategic, outcomes-based approach in pursuing the Foundation’s mission of expanding college access and success. Under his leadership, Lumina has embraced an ambitious and specific goal: to ensure that, by 2025, 60 percent of Americans hold high quality degrees, certificates and other credentials—up from the current level of less than 40 percent.

Merisotis is an expert on a wide range of issues. He is well versed in domestic and international issues, including talent development, higher education financing, minority-serving colleges and universities, learning outcomes, and the social and economic benefits of higher education. His work includes extensive global expertise, with experience in Southern Africa, the former Soviet Union, Europe and other parts of the world.

Before joining Lumina Foundation in 2008, Merisotis was founding president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Established in Washington, D.C., in 1993, IHEP is an independent, non-partisan organization regarded as one of the world’s premier education research and policy centers.

Prior to founding IHEP, Merisotis served as executive director of the National Commission on Responsibilities for Financing Postsecondary Education, a bipartisan commission appointed by the U.S. president and congressional leaders. Merisotis also helped create the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps), serving as an advisor to senior management on issues related to the quality and effectiveness of national-service initiatives.

Merisotis’ work has been published extensively. He has written and edited several books and monographs, and is a frequent contributor to magazines, journals and newspapers. He has served as a regular commentator on the award-winning PBS show Nightly Business Report, which consistently ranks as the most-watched business news program on television. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, National Journal, Times Higher Education Supplement (London), The The Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post, Politico, Roll Call and numerous other print and online publications.

Merisotis is an experienced trustee and director for numerous organizations around the globe. He is a member of the board of trustees of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and chairs that board’s governance committee. He also serves on the board of Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece, a bicultural institution that includes a college, a high school, and an elementary school. He serves on several Indiana-based boards and commissions including the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, the leading voice for regional economic development in the Indianapolis metropolitan area. He also serves as trustee and investment committee chair for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the world’s largest museum for children. Merisotis is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. His previous board service included president of the Economic Club of Indiana; chairman of the board for Scholarship America, the nation’s largest private-sector scholarship and educational-support organization; vice chairman of the board of directors for the Washington Internship Institute; and executive committee member of the London-based European Access Network.


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