A College for Coming Time
Diversity and Changing Demographics in Higher Education


Elaine Tuttle Hansen became president of Bates College on July 1, 2002, the seventh president of the College since its founding in 1855. Most recently Hansen served as provost at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. Hansen earned her A.B. at Mount Holyoke College, her M.A. at the University of Minnesota, and her Ph.D. at the University of Washington.

Hansen’s accomplishments at Bates include the successful completion of a $121 million comprehensive fund-raising campaign; a thorough assessment of campus facilities and infrastructure through the commissioning of a Campus Facilities Master Plan; subsequent new construction of new student housing, a dining facility, and a connecting pedestrian walkway; and leadership of the planned Diversity Initiative, an integrated series of recruitment, retention, and post-Bates networking initiatives aimed at increasing diversity at Bates. 

Jamie P. Merisotis ‘86 is the founding president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Established in 1993, the Washington, D.C.-based organization is regarded as one of the world’s premier research and policy organizations concerned with higher education policy development. He is recognized as a leading authority on college and university financing, particularly student financial aid, and has published major studies and reports on topics ranging from higher education ranking systems to technology-based learning.

A champion of the idea that “higher education reaps rich rewards for both society and individuals,” Merisotis focuses much of his work on improving access to higher education for low-income, minority, and other historically underrepresented populations. This commitment to equality of opportunity was a major factor in the establishment of the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education, an unprecedented coalition of national associations that represent more than 350 minority-serving institutions. Founded in 1999 by Merisotis and leaders from the MSI communities, the Alliance serves as a leading voice for the interests of MSIs and has become a model of collaboration, unity, and innovation among communities of color.

Merisotis currently serves as chairman of the board for Scholarship America, the nation’s largest private sector scholarship and educational support organization. He is a member of the Bates Board of Trustees, and previously served as the College’s alumni association president.

Blenda J. Wilson is the former president and chief executive officer of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, New England’s largest public charity dedicated to improving academic achievement for the region’s underserved communities. Established in 1998, the foundation provides grants and technical assistance to programs that concentrate on academic enrichment, college planning, advising, preparation, and retention support for low-income, underserved student populations.

A nationally known speaker on higher education policy issues, Dr. Wilson is past chair of the American Association of Higher Education and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. She also serves on the boards of Boston After School and Beyond, Boston College, and Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses. She was president of California State University, Northridge, from 1992 to 1999, and chancellor of the University of Michigan, Dearborn, from 1988 to 1992. From 1984 to 1988, Dr. Wilson was executive director of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, where she served as an officer in the governor’s cabinet. Dr. Wilson began her career in higher education at Rutgers University in New Jersey and served for ten years as senior associate dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.