Karen A. Stout

National Council on the Humanities

Karen A. Stout

Term Dates



Karen A. Stout serves as president and CEO of Achieving the Dream (ATD), leading the nation’s largest movement to improve success for all students, especially low-income students and students of color. Through ATD, Stout leads a network of more than 375 institutions in whole-college transformation. She has received national recognition for her achievements and accomplishments in higher education innovation and leadership including Diverse: Issues in Higher Education’s Leading Women Award, the American Association for Women in Community College’s Woman of the Year, Washington Monthly’s 16 most innovative higher education leaders. Stout was recently presented the 2022 American Association for Community Colleges (AACC) Leadership Award and is among the newest members of the recently created AACC Hall of Fame. She leads and serves on a number of national and regional boards and also shares her time and experience as an Achieving the Dream Leadership Coach and Aspen Institute Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence faculty contributor and mentor.

Prior to serving as President and CEO at ATD, Stout was president of Montgomery County Community College (PA) from 2001 to 2015, where she led the college through a transformation process to improve student success. In 2015, in recognition of her service to the college and her accomplishments, the Board of Trustees granted her president emerita status and renamed the student success center on the Blue Bell Campus in her honor. A frequent speaker and writer, Stout focuses on strategies for enhancing student success and completion, accelerating and scaling innovation, and launching a new era of community college fundraising. She holds an EdD from the University of Delaware, an MBA from the University of Baltimore, and a BA from the University of Delaware. She also holds honorary degrees from Montgomery County Community College and Miami Dade College.