College Track Names Dr. Shirley M. Collado New President & CEO
Ithaca College President was First Dominican-American to Lead Four-Year College or University, Spent Career Improving Pathway to Higher Education
OAKLAND, Calif. July 8, 2021—Today, Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and Board Chair of College Track, announced that Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado, Ph.D. has been named the organization’s President and CEO. Dr. Collado, the president of Ithaca College since 2017, will begin in her new role on January 10, 2022.
College Track is a comprehensive college completion program that equips students confronting systemic barriers—while in pursuit of a life of opportunity, choice, and power—with the tools and resources to earn a bachelor’s degree. From ninth grade through college graduation, College Track’s 10-year program removes the academic, financial, and social-emotional barriers that keep first-generation students from low-income communities from completing college and thriving in the workforce.
College Track confronts the unacceptable reality that while talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not. Beginning with only 25 ninth graders in its inaugural year, it now serves thousands of students.
Dr. Collado brings two decades of experience in education, working to improve access and affordability for college students from all walks of life, especially first-generation students. From her years at The Posse Foundation—which Dr. Collado helped transform into a national organization—she has focused on student development and harnessing the attributes of young people so they can realize their full potential and the college dream. Dr. Collado enables those with talent to thrive in our society, amplifying aptitude and democratizing potential. She will work to inspire all students to develop the belief that they have the ability and responsibility to influence their own destiny so that they can achieve more economic success by earning their bachelor’s degree.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Collado as College Track’s next President and CEO,” said Ms. Powell Jobs. “This is a huge win for College Track—and a huge win for students everywhere. Visionary, innovative, and deeply experienced, Dr. Collado is a national education leader who has dedicated her life to lifting up others. As a daughter of immigrants and first-generation college graduate, Dr. Collado embodies the lived experience of our students. And she will take College Track to new heights, inspiring and empowering the next generation of college-bound students to do what she has done: pursue their dreams, blaze new trails, and lift as they climb.”
Dr. Collado is not only the first Dominican American to lead a four-year college or university and the first person of color to lead Ithaca College, but she was also a first-generation college student herself. Her father was a New York City taxi driver and her mother, aunt and grandmother worked in a factory making baby garments. As the eldest child of Latinx immigrants, Dr. Collado helped raise both of her brothers in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York—all while working since age eleven.
She never intended to leave home for college but was given an incredible opportunity as part of the inaugural cohort of Posse Scholars (an organization she went on to help lead) to attend Vanderbilt University where she now serves on the Board of Trust and has held leadership roles. Unable to afford airfare to begin her attendance, Shirley and her mother, along with four other incoming Posse Scholars and their mothers took a Greyhound bus on the 26-hour trip from New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal to Nashville, Tennessee. “That trip taught me more than anything the importance of access and support—and who gets to get on that bus in the first place,” said Dr. Collado.
Dr. Collado is known nationally for designing and implementing innovative approaches to higher education that expand student access and success, and has extensive experience overseeing complex not-for-profit organizations in both the private and public sectors of higher education. She is a national thought leader on developing successful cross-sector collaborations, building the capacity of equity, justice, and full participation in organizations, and strengthening the pathway to the professoriate and leadership roles in higher education.
“There are incredible barriers to many students and families on their journey to a college degree,” said Dr. Collado. “In this moment in our country, it is more important than ever to invest in promising youth early in their path. Given my experience working to increase equity in private and public institutions across sectors of education, it is an honor to partner with Laurene Powell Jobs who for years has strived to increase urgency around this college access and student success—whether through her work at Emerson Collective or with College Track—knowing that a college education is directly related to larger systemic changes across our society.”
Following her work as Executive Vice President at The Posse Foundation, Dr. Collado went on to become Vice President for Institutional Planning and Community Engagement at Lafayette College; Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of the College at Middlebury College; Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer at Rutgers University—Newark; and then President of Ithaca College. She has maintained her research and teaching pursuits as a faculty member in the field of Psychology while advancing in campus leadership.
Today, College Track serves more than 3,500 students across 12 communities in California, Colorado, Louisiana, and the D.C. Metro Area, and supports more than 960 alumni nationwide—democratizing potential for all to have a life of opportunity and choice, through the power of higher education.
College Track works in collaboration with Emerson Collective, which is dedicated to removing barriers to opportunity so individuals can live to their fullest potential. Established and led by Laurene Powell Jobs, Emerson Collective concentrates on key issues including education, immigration reform, the environment, and other social justice initiatives.
Dr. Collado is a founding member of The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and a Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellow.
About College Track
College Track firmly believes that a bachelor’s degree remains the best predictor of professional mobility, civic engagement, lifelong wellness, and self-agency. By equipping students from low-income communities to become the first in their family to graduate from college, College Track fulfills the promise of higher education for generations to come. College Track’s work is rooted in educational equity and racial justice, setting the stage for their students to thrive in careers where people of color have been historically underrepresented.
Today, College Track serves more than 3,500 students across 12 communities in California, Colorado, Louisiana, and the D.C. Metro Area, and supports more than 960 alumni nationwide. Its young people are leading a nationwide movement to democratize potential and give voice to the talent that will lead our country forward. www.collegetrack.org
About Dr. Shirley M. Collado
Dr. Shirley M. Collado received her undergraduate degree in human and organizational development and psychology from Vanderbilt University, and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Duke University. She is a clinical psychologist with a specialty in trauma among multicultural populations at the intersection of race, ethnicity, and gender.
She has taught at a number of colleges and universities including New York University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, the New School, Middlebury College, and Lafayette College. A national thought leader on diversity, collaboration, and innovation, she has delivered numerous keynote addresses and presentations, facilitated workshops and trainings, consulted on initiatives with many organizations, and received several awards.
Dr. Collado co-edited a book, Latinx/a/os in Higher Education: Exploring Identity, Pathways, and Success, released in early 2018. The collection of essays and research opened a critical dialogue around the ways in which higher education can cultivate the right set of conditions to diversify pathways to success in anticipation of the shifting demographics of the United States.
Dr. Collado has a track record of securing support from national foundations that are focused on innovative and cross-institutional initiatives. For example, the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, which she founded in 2016, is a college-access and social justice initiative across various colleges and universities led by strong women presidents. The program aims to create greater access for cohorts of young women to higher education and to develop a culturally competent and successful intergenerational network of successful women leaders, change agents, and mentors from all backgrounds. This cross-institutional program was initially supported by a $5.4 million grant from Helen Gurley Brown’s Pussycat Foundation, and Ithaca College recently received renewed funding from the foundation to support the fourth year of its BOLD program.
Another example is the Creating Connections Consortium (C3), one of the most innovative faculty diversity initiatives in higher education. Dr. Collado co-designed and led the launch of C3 in 2012 with a $4.7 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As principal investigator for the new consortium, she enabled C3 to build a dynamic partnership that strengthened diversity and innovation, and broadened the pathway to the professoriate for underrepresented graduate students — including minority, first-generation, and low-income students—through enhanced interactions between liberal arts colleges and research universities. C3 continues to thrive with additional funding from the Mellon Foundation.