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News Release

Date: September 19, 2005
Media Contact: Steve Simon, 301-251-7952; Elizabeth Homan, 301-251-7970

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Montgomery College President Named to U.S. Dept. of Education Commission
Nunley Invited to Help Foster National Dialogue on Higher Education

Montgomery College President Charlene R. Nunley has been named to the U.S. Secretary of Education’s new Commission on the Future of Higher Education.  Dr. Nunley is one of 19 education, business, and government leaders appointed to the commission, formed by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.

According to the Department of Education, the commission is charged with “developing a comprehensive national strategy for post-secondary education that will meet the needs of America’s diverse population and also address the economic and workforce needs of the country’s future.” The group has been tasked by Secretary Spellings with leading a national dialogue about key components of higher education, including access, affordability, accountability and productivity.

“I look forward to serving on the commission, particularly on behalf of my colleagues from the nation’s nearly 1,200 community colleges,” said Dr. Nunley.  “As open admissions, public institutions, we play an extremely integral role in ensuring that access to an affordable, quality college education remains available to all who need it in today’s rapidly changing society and marketplace. Community colleges are absolutely vital to the success of higher education in the future and I am pleased to be able to lend my voice to this important dialogue.”

Dr. Nunley has been president of Montgomery College since 1999, but has been with the College in a variety of roles since 1979, including serving as executive vice president and chief administrative officer.  She has been a staunch advocate for preserving the open access mission of community colleges and co-chaired a statewide task force that examined capacity challenges facing Maryland’s public colleges and universities.

As president, she led Montgomery College into the top five community colleges nationally in private fundraising for three consecutive years.  She has successfully positioned the college for much-needed expansion of the college’s oldest and smallest campus, by securing unprecedented levels of state and local capital funding for the ongoing expansion of the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.  Also under her leadership, the College is planning to develop on its Germantown Campus a bioscience education center and adjacent science and technology business-park.  Dr. Nunley played a key role in launching full-time, daytime programs at the Universities at Shady Grove, which is now a popular transfer option for Montgomery College students who wish to stay in the county to complete a four-year degree. She also worked with Montgomery County Public Schools to spearhead a partnership that has become a national model for helping to increase high school students’ preparedness for success at the college level. 

Dr. Nunley recently earned the Association of Community College Trustees’ 2005 Northeast Region Chief Executive Officer of the Year award.  She has twice been named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by the Daily Record Newspaper, was honored as one of Montgomery County’s 30 greatest women in history by the Montgomery County Commission for Women, and was named “Woman of the Year” by Montgomery County Business and Professional Women (BPW). 

For more information about the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, visit the Department of Education’s website:

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md.  The College serves more than 55,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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