Press Releases

John W. Altman Is Elected Chairman of ACTA’s Board of Directors

June 23, 2021 by ACTA

Washington, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) is pleased to announce that Dr. John W. Altman has been elected as the new chairman of ACTA’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Altman earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Miami University of Ohio. He is also a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He received honorary doctorates of humane letters from Miami University in 1990, Phillips Graduate Institute in 2002, and Sierra Nevada College in 2007.

Dr. Altman has led a distinguished career as an entrepreneur, having been a sole proprietor, founder, partner, and significant shareholder in eight different enterprises. He co-founded and served as executive vice president of Continental Polymers, Inc., and under his leadership, in 1991, it became the second largest manufacturer of acrylic polymers in the United States and the third largest in the world, when harvested to ICI.

He has remained closely involved with his alma mater, Miami University, having served as a professor of business and entrepreneurship and as a member of the Alumni Board, Business Advisory Council, Board of Visitors, and Board of Trustees. Miami University houses the John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship, an ACTA-designated Oasis of Excellence. The Altman Institute engages over 3200 students every year in an immersive, cross-disciplinary curriculum covering areas such as startup and venture capital, social entrepreneurship, corporate innovation, and creativity and entrepreneurial thinking.

A strong proponent of academic freedom and free speech, Dr. Altman believes that the philanthropic community must play a critical role in protecting freedom of expression on campus. In 2019, Miami University became the 69th campus to adopt the Chicago Principles.

Dr. Altman, who joined ACTA’s Board of Directors in 2019, succeeds Edwin Williamson, who has served as the board’s chairman since 2019. “ACTA is grateful for the steady direction by Mr. Williamson during an important transitional period. We are delighted to embrace Dr. Altman’s leadership as we continue to promote academic excellence, academic freedom, and accountability,” said ACTA President Michael Poliakoff. “Dr. Altman has the skills and drive needed to help push ACTA to new heights in its efforts to strengthen American higher education.”

ACTA’s Armand Alacbay sat down with Dr. Altman to explore the distinct strengths that trustees should bring to any institutional governing board. Listen to the full podcast here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gabrielle Anglin
PHONE: (202) 798-5425


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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