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The 2015 conference took place at the Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, New York 10597 from April 12-15, 2015.  The theme was The Shifting Paradigms of Higher Education and it celebrated 25 years for the Tri-State Consortium. 

Keynote and Plenary Speakers

  • Michael Baston, VP, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. A highly respected educator and leader in higher education. Dr. Baston is the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and Associate Provost at LaGuardia Community College. Dr. Baston has the largest student services portfolio among City University of New York’s (CUNY) 24 college system.
  • Watson Scott Swail, President and CEO of The Educational Policy Institute. Dr. Swail is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Educational Policy Institute, a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to policy-based research on educational opportunity for all students, as well as President of EPI International, an international research firm.
  • cancelledNancy Zimpher, 12th Chancellor of the State University of New York. Prior to coming to SUNY, she served as president of the University of Cincinnati, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and executive dean of the Professional Colleges and dean of the College of Education at The Ohio State University.
  • Belle Wheelan, President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Her career spans 40 years and includes the roles of faculty member, campus provost, college president and Secretary of Education. In several roles she was the first African American and/or woman to serve in those capacities.
  • Tina Gridiron Smith, Strategy Director for Lumina Foundation. She currently leads Lumina’s place-based Latino Student Success effort. She also serves as an active member of Indiana Blacks in Philanthropy; as secretary for the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance board of directors; and as secretary for the national Grantmakers for Education board of directors.

Mini-Plenary Presentations

  • Tom Mortenson, Senior Scholar. He is the Senior Scholar at The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education and
    an independent higher education policy analyst. He focuses on populations that are underrepresented in higher education: low income/ first generation students, underrepresented minorities including blacks, Hispanics and American Indians and boys.
  • Hakeem Rahim, Founder of Live Breathe, LLC. He was the first African-American male valedictorian in Uniondale High School’s history. He places an emphasis on change and transformation. After graduating cum laude with a BA in psychology from Harvard University, he began working in local government, for two years, under the Deputy County Executive for Economic Development. In 2007, He graduated with an Ed.M and an M.A. from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, with a focus on higher education and multiculturalism. In 2006, he co-founded the Uniondale Foundation for Educational Excellence, a 501(c) 3 non-profit that supports the Uniondale School district via supplemental financial and creative means.
  • Wes Hall, Educational Consultant for LAUSD. Wes Hall is one of the nation’s leading experts in the area of working with ‘Boys of Color.” He provides professional development to teachers throughout the district in the area of “Relationship Building, and Success Strategies for Re-engaging Disengaged Students.” As an independent contractor for LAUSD, he works to empower students at Crenshaw, Dorsey, Washington Prep, Hollywood High, and Augustus Hawkins High Schools. One of his current consulting projects includes working with an elementary school in Watts, California. The school is among the 1000 worst performing schools in the state.
  • Jose Aviles, Director of Admissions at the University of Delaware. Dr. Aviles is a passionate educator dedicated to serving students, inspired, in part, by his own educational journey as a first-generation college student. “I believe my life’s purpose is to help colleges and universities serve all students better, and to make a positive impact on the system of education in our country,” he says. Accordingly, his research and practice focuses on educational pipeline issues and creating strategies that can lead to ultimate student success. He recently accepted a position at the University at Buffalo.