New York - On June 22, the Board of Trustees of the College Board presented Gaston Caperton with the College Board Medal for Distinguished Service to Education. The medal is the 110-year-old organization’s highest honor and is awarded to individuals “who have provided national leadership and service in the advancement of educational opportunity and who have demonstrated commitment to the principles reflected in the mission and purpose of the College Board.” Past recipients include Derek Bok, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and John Gardner.
The medal was presented to Caperton by the current and past chairs of the Board of Trustees, Paul W. Sechrist and Youlonda Copeland-Morgan. Caperton is stepping down as president of the College Board in October after 13 years of service. As the nonprofit organization’s eighth president, Caperton led a period of significant growth in access to programs for students and educators, with a particular focus on the underserved.
“Gaston Caperton has had a profound effect on education in our country,” said Copeland-Morgan, who is the associate vice chancellor for enrollment management at UCLA. “He knows that education is at the center of a healthy global economy, and his commitment to equity and excellence for all students has been unparalleled.”
Caperton was named president and CEO of the College Board in 1999. During his tenure, the organization has grown from about 3,300 member education institutions to more than 6,000; the number of students the College Board serves each year has increased from three million to seven million; and the number of students succeeding in AP® has doubled. He launched the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center in 2010 to merge policy, research and real-world practice to develop innovative solutions to pressing challenges. Under his leadership, the SAT® was dramatically changed with the introduction of a writing section to evaluate students’ college and career readiness — part of the College Board’s focus on writing as a critical skill in the 21st-century economy.
“In his role as president of the College Board and as governor of West Virginia, he has touched the lives of millions of students and education professionals across the country,” said Sechrist, president of the Oklahoma City Community College. “His work has helped reduce barriers to higher education, and by doing so has increased opportunities for many young people for years to come.”
Caperton was governor of West Virginia from 1989 to 1997. During his two terms in office, he upgraded classroom technology; supported an aggressive school-building and renovation program; and raised teachers’ salaries in West Virginia from 49th in the nation to 31st. He was also among the first governors in the country to recognize technology’s potential to revolutionize learning. By the time he left office, West Virginia public schools had added more than 18,000 computers, and more than 400 schools were connected to the Internet.
On June 21, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) presented a Senate floor speech of recognition honoring Caperton’s accomplishments. “Gaston Caperton’s leadership in education left a lasting legacy in our state, and I am so proud of the work he did for West Virginia schools and all of our students. . . . From his tenure as governor, to his work at Harvard and Columbia universities, to his 13 years of leadership of the College Board — providing equal opportunities in the classroom has been the driving force behind his success.”
Manchin delivered a transcription of the floor recognition to a gathering of 250 education leaders and other colleagues at the medal presentation in New York City. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, delivered a tribute speech. Attendees also watched video-recorded tributes from former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
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About the College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.
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