John McNamara to chair national student aid group

September 26, 2012

John McNamara

John McNamara, Rockford College senior development officer and former mayor of Rockford, was recently elected by members to be chairman of the U.S. Department of Education Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. He will serve as chairman for a one-year appointment.

Created by Congress in 1986 to provide advice and counsel on student aid policy, the 11-member bipartisan Advisory Committee makes recommendations that will result in the maintenance of access for low- and middle-income students. Members are experts in higher education and student aid policy and are appointed by Congress and the Secretary of Education.

Of his election to chairman, McNamara said: “It is an honor for me to serve, and now to be chair, on this important committee reporting to Congress and the Secretary of Education. Our mission is to increase not only access to college, but to increase four-year college graduation rates for low-income students through financial assistance. This is a national goal and one of vital importance for our own community.”

McNamara was first appointed in 2009 by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to serve a term that expires in September 2013. Prior to his tenure in development, McNamara joined the college as assistant to the president and then as the director of the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement. Before joining Rockford College, he worked at a private law firm and a real estate investment firm.

McNamara has a strong history in public service. He served in the U.S. Army with a tour in Vietnam, as an assistant public defender for Winnebago County, as a city council member and then as Mayor of the City of Rockford from 1981 to 1989. He is also actively involved in his community and his church, St. Peter Cathedral, and multiple boards and committees. He received a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame in 1961 and a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1964.

From the Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2012, issue

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