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Dr. Karen A.

President & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Karen A. Stout has served as president and CEO of Achieving the Dream (ATD) since 2015, leading a national network of community colleges focused on whole-college transformation that directly addresses inequitable outcomes for students. Dr. Stout previously served as president of Montgomery County Community College from 2001 to 2015. Upon leaving the college, Montgomery’s Board granted her president emerita status and named the student success center in her honor. 

Dr. Stout was presented with the 2022 American Association for Community Colleges (AACC) Leadership Award and is a member of the recently created AACC Hall of Fame. She was named the American Association for Women in Community College’s Woman of the Year and one of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education’s Leading Women, Washington Monthly’s 16 most innovative higher education leaders, Washingtonian’s 500 most influential people, and Ed Tech’s 30 higher education IT influencers to follow, among other recognitions. She also was granted honorary degrees by Miami Dade College and Montgomery County Community College. 

Dr. Stout is a Founding member of the College Promise National Advisory Board. She serves as chair of the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research Advisory Board at North Carolina State University and as co-chair of the University of Maryland Global Campus Doctorate of Management in Community College Policy and Administration Advisory Board. She is a member of the Community College Research Center Presidents Advisory Board and the Common App Board of Directors. In addition, she serves as faculty and mentor for the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship and the Aspen New Presidents Fellowship and has been a presenter for the League of Innovation Executive Leadership Institute since 2005. In 2022, Dr. Stout was nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the Senate to serve a six-year term as a member of the National Council on the Humanities. 

A frequent speaker and writer, Dr. Stout focuses on strategies for enhancing student success, equity, and completion; accelerating and scaling innovation; advancing next-generation metrics; and launching a new era of community college fundraising. 


Ed.D. (Educational Leadership) | University of Delaware

MBA | University of Baltimore

B.A. (English, Journalism) | University of Delaware

Past Experience

President | Montgomery County Community College

Vice President and Chief Campus Officer, William G. Rohrer Center | Camden County College

Director, Planning & Communications | Dundalk Community College (now Community College of Baltimore County)

How has education changed your life/your family?

Access to education, and the constant presence of the local community college, transformed what is possible for me and my family. My driving purpose — my “red thread” as I call it — is to make this possibility ubiquitous for all.

Speaker and Public Engagement Requests

Please email [email protected] to request Dr. Karen A. Stout as a commentator on community colleges and the changing higher education environment.

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