ACE2023 Set to Open April 13 in Washington, DC
April 10, 2023

​More than 1,000 higher education leaders will gather in Washington, DC from Thursday, April 13 through Saturday, April 15 for ACE2023, ACE's Annual Meeting.

ACE2023, higher education's premier annual event, will bring together presidents, senior executives, and other higher education leaders to learn the latest about nearly every facet of higher education. Attendees will discuss the issues college leaders are facing now, the strategies that are getting results today, and the challenges that may be encountered in the future. Thought-provoking content, inspiring plenaries, and new connection opportunities will push attendees to become architects of their institutions' future.

There is still time to register for ACE2023. Also, be sure to follow the session schedule for updates and announcements, and check out past stories highlighting some events to look forward to.

Plenary Sessions

ACE2023 plenaries will feature a number of speakers, including U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel A. Cardona. Secretary Cardona will appear virtually during the Friday afternoon plenary, and will engage in a dialogue with ACE President Ted Mitchell. Some additional plenary speakers include:

  • Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president emeritus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Laura Helmuth, editor-in-chief of Scientific American, will speak at the Opening Luncheon Plenary.

  • Lawrence S. Bacow, president of Harvard University, will deliver this year's Robert H. Atwell Lecture during the Friday Afternoon Plenary.

  • Jonathan R. Alger, president at James Madison University, and Clint Smith, staff writer at The Atlantic and New York Times bestselling author, will engage in a discussion at the closing plenary.

An additional plenary, detailed below, will highlight the reimagination of the Carnegie Classifications. Learn more about plenary speakers here. The Opening Plenary and Atwell Plenary are generously sponsored by Fidelity Investments.

The Unveiling of the American College President Study

ACE will officially release The American College President: 2023 Edition at ACE2023, as part of several in-depth sessions that will unpack the report's findings and data–highlighting the comprehensive profile of today's higher education leaders.

ACE's American College President Study has long served the higher education community as the most comprehensive, in-depth, and frequently cited source of information about the college presidency and pathways to higher education leadership. The last ACPS report was released in 2017.

The programming at the Annual Meeting will include the unveiling of the report at a session called “The American College President in 2023 and Beyond." Additional sessions include a fireside chat in which three current presidents will engage in a moderated conversation about the future and legacy of higher education leadership informed by the study's findings, and two live dotEDU podcast recordings informed by ACPS data in which experts and sitting presidents will unpack the gender gap in the presidency and discuss why diversity is essential in the presidency.

Future of Carnegie Classifications to be Explored

The work underway to reimagine the Carnegie Classifications will be highlighted at ACE2023.

As part of the morning plenary session on April 15, sponsored by TIAA, Mushtaq Gunja, executive director of the Carnegie Classifications, will moderate a discussion with ACE President Ted Mitchell; Maria Spies, co-CEO and co-founder of HolonIQ, a global education market intelligence platform; and Doug Lederman, editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed,  in which they will highlight how the expanded classification categories will impact higher education and advance social and economic mobility.

In addition to the plenary session, ACE2023 will feature four concurrent sessions that will examine different facets of the past, present, and future of the Carnegie Classification, including both the elective and universal classifications.


In March, ACE announced the winners of several awards:

  • Lawrence S. Bacow, the outgoing president of Harvard University, will be recognized at ACE2023 with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Amberlin Dupre, an operations manager at a national nonprofit medical society, and Joel Riley, a Marine Corps veteran and project manager in the finance technology industry, are the Students of the Year.
  • Soraya M. Coley, president of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, has been selected to receive the Donna Shavlik Award.
  • Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science at Drexel University is the recipient of the State Network Leadership Award.

All recipients will be honored at ACE2023. Other awards that will be unveiled at the meeting are the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award, the ACE/Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation, the Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award, and the TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence.

Be sure to register for the conference , follow the schedule for updates and announcements, and keep up with conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #ACE2023DC.