Ms. Neal cofounded the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and served as president from 2003 to June of 2016. She currently serves as ACTA's senior fellow and president of the Garden Club of America.
For over 15 years, Ms. Neal has been a prominent national player in higher education reform, publishing widely and appearing frequently on radio and television, including Fox Business News, CNN, Fox News, WGN, and National Public Radio. She has authored or coauthored numerous ACTA studies on historical illiteracy, federal accreditation, governance, intellectual pluralism, and cost, and has contributed chapters to Reforming the Politically Correct University (AEI Press, 2009) and Accountability in American Higher Education (Palgrave MacMillan, 2010). She has also convened higher education conferences under the auspices of the Philanthropy Roundtable. In 2007, and again in 2010, Ms. Neal was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the U.S. Secretary of Education on federal accreditation.
Ms. Neal has provided expert testimony before the Commission on the Future of Higher Education; the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; the Louisiana Postsecondary Education Commission; the California Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission; and in many state capitals. She has also presented at conferences sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the University of Notre Dame, the Foreign Policy Association, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Montana State University, the American Association of University Professors, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Prior to joining ACTA, Ms. Neal served as general counsel and congressional liaison for the National Endowment for the Humanities. She also worked as a First Amendment and communications lawyer for Rogers & Wells and for Wiley, Rein & Fielding.
Ms. Neal graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in American history and literature. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she was president of the Harvard Journal on Legislation. She has served on the boards of many cultural and civic organizations, and she is currently a director of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, and Casey Trees.