Anne M. Kress is the sixth president of Northern Virginia Community College, a role she began in January 2020, after a career of almost three decades in higher education that includes serving as a tenured faculty member in English and in numerous academic administrative roles at community colleges in Florida and New York. At NOVA, Kress focuses on fulfilling the college’s commitment to equity in opportunity and its promise that every student succeeds, every program achieves, and every community prospers.
Meredith Woo was inaugurated as president of Sweet Briar College in fall 2017. Prior to joining Sweet Briar, she was the Buckner W. Clay Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia. During her term as dean, she restructured the College’s 25 graduate programs, allocating resources based on performance; augmented scholarships and fellowships; and raised a total of $260 million for the school. She also directed the International Higher Education Program for the Open Society Foundations from its offices in London and Budapest, supporting university-level education for refugee populations, particularly Syrians in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as the Rohingya population dispersed in Bangladesh, Myanmar and elsewhere.
Katherine A. Rowe began her tenure as William & Mary’s 28th president on July 1, 2018. Under Rowe’s leadership, W&M has advanced a whole-institution approach to learning, successfully closed its For the Bold campaign, and embarked on an ambitious strategic plan, Vision 2026. Rowe has cultivated cross-university initiatives including a central Entrepreneurship Hub, a Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation, W&M’s first Sustainability Plan and Climate Action Roadmap, realization of the university’s long-planned Memorial to the Enslaved, a Veteran-to-Executive Transition program, an Institute for Integrative Conservation and a university-wide approach to diversity, equity and inclusion.
2023 Virginia Network Annual State Conference Speakers
Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon was selected as the ninth president for Virginia Peninsula Community College on January 1, 2021. Dr. Brannon's higher education tenure includes over 25-years in leadership, change management, organizational development, policy design, fundraising, instruction, and the provision of direct support to students at a diverse array of public and private Colleges and Universities.
Meet the Closing Speaker
June 9, 2023 William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA
2023 Virginia Network Annual State Conference
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Riding the Wave: Navigating the Ever-changing Tides of Leadership for Women in Higher Education.
Frances C Bradford (Fran)
Fran Bradford is a senior vice president on McGuireWoods Consulting’s Virginia government relations team and national education practice. Prior to joining the firm, Fran served in the education secretariat for Gov. Ralph Northam’s 2018 – 2022 administration, first as deputy secretary and then as secretary of education. During her tenure with Gov. Northam’s administration, Fran helped to shape and pass legislation that created G3, Virginia’s free community college program, expanded access to in-state tuition and financial aid, created the Virginia Office of Education Economics at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and worked to pass budgets that made historic investments in need-based financial aid for higher education and in Virginia’s historically Black colleges and universities.
Before her appointment to the governor’s cabinet, Fran spent 15 years with William & Mary, where she served first as director and then as the associate vice president for government relations. She also previously served in several capacities in the areas of communications and government relations during her 13 years, at SCHEV, the commonwealth’s higher education coordinating agency.
Fran serves on the executive board of the Virginia Network, an organization that promotes women's leadership in higher education. She also serves on the board of the Science Museum of Virginia, Jamestown-Yorktown, Inc., the Richmond Public Library Foundation, and the board of Virginia 21. She is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a regular guest lecturer in higher education graduate programs and leadership programs.
Meet the Presidents Panel