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ACTA Names New Vice President of Development and Strategic Partnerships

Michael Deshaies to Oversee Fundraising Efforts of Higher Ed Watchdog
September 28, 2017 by ACTA

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) announced today that Michael Deshaies has joined the ranks of higher education reformers dedicated to academic excellence, academic freedom, and accountability as ACTA’s Vice President of Development and Strategic Partnerships.

Deshaies will direct ACTA’s three-person development team, focusing on expanding ACTA’s circle of donors passionate about reforming American higher education, supervising foundation proposals, and developing strategic partnerships.

“For many years ACTA has been a leader in the effort to improve higher education. I am very happy to join Michael Poliakoff and his team to help advance ACTA’s mission to ensure that young people get the high-quality education they deserve,” said Deshaies. “It is critical that today’s college students, tomorrow’s leaders in just about every aspect of life in America, get an education that truly prepares them for successful careers and engaged and informed citizenship.”

Over the past decade, Deshaies has been working to promote better education in U.S. history and political thought as Vice President of Development and Communications at the Jack Miller Center For Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History (JMC). The center is dedicated to transforming access to civic education in America’s colleges and high schools by developing networks of educators and donors to provide high-quality educational programming in U.S. history and civics. Deshaies was part of Jack Miller’s original team that founded the Miller Center in 2007. In the past ten years, the JMC portfolio of donors grew to over 200 individuals and foundations, raising tens of millions of dollars to support programs on college campuses across the country dedicated to reinvigorating education in America’s founding principles and history.

“We are just delighted to welcome someone with the skills and experience of Michael Deshaies, a person who profoundly understands our mission, to continue ACTA’s exciting growth.” said ACTA President Michael Poliakoff.

In addition to his impressive fundraising skills, Deshaies spent 20 years in corporate communications for small and large companies across the United States. His development strategy will incorporate his extensive communications skills and understanding of corporate constituencies to expand ACTA’s reach with reform-minded philanthropists.

Deshaies is a 1980 graduate of State University of New York, College at Oswego. His degree is in communications and political science. True to ACTA form, he is an avid reader of U.S. history and politics. He enjoys golf and watching the Chicago Cubs as his younger brother, Jim, is one-half of the Cubs’ television broadcast team.


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Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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