The Forum

In Memoriam: Arthur Rothkopf

March 24, 2022 by ACTA

ACTA is saddened by the passing of our dear friend Arthur J. Rothkopf on February 9, 2022, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family.

Mr. Rothkopf was born in Brooklyn, NY, on May 24, 1935. He moved to Easton, PA, to attend Lafayette College at the young age of 16, an experience that had a profound impact on his life. Following his undergraduate education, Mr. Rothkopf attended Harvard Law School. 

He began his professional life as a lawyer at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. He then joined the law firm Hogan & Hartson, specializing in tax, regulatory, and legislative representation of U.S. and foreign clients. The end of his long and successful legal career was hallmarked by his appointment as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. 

His deep commitment to improving higher education was evident in his time as the president of his alma mater, Lafayette College, from 1993 to 2005. He left that office with an honorary doctorate and emeritus status and took up a new role as senior vice president and counselor to the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He took leadership of the Chamber’s education and workforce initiative and supervised three nonprofit entities affiliated with the Chamber: the Institute for a Competitive Workforce; the Business Civic Leadership Center; and the National Chamber Foundation. 

Mr. Rothkopf’s time as a trustee of American University and the Educational Testing Service is yet more evidence of his passion for higher education. He was also a member of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, an advisory group to the secretary of education, and the board chair of the Edvance Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing community college graduates with increased access to four-year colleges. Mr. Rothkopf served as a member of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education established by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and as a director of two public companies, Verisk Analytics (NASDAQ) and Bristol West Holdings (NYSE). He was past board chair of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. 

Arthur Rothkopf was a trusted friend and wise counselor to ACTA. He was gracious with his time, appearing on ACTA panels and helping us frame policy on critical issues such as accreditation reform. His calm and dignified approach to even the thorniest matters was an inspiration to all of us who worked with him. Rest in peace, our honored friend. We miss you and will treasure your memory. 


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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