CEO Eric WaldoFormer Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative to Lead The City’s Largest Scholarship Organization That Supports DC Students In College Completion

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 17, 2023) – The District of Columbia College Access Program (DC-CAP) today announced Eric Waldo has been named President and CEO. Waldo is a seasoned executive and advocate focused on the intersection of education and social justice. He succeeds Argelia Rodriguez who retired in 2022.

Waldo will lead the DC-CAP team in advancing the organization’s mission of increasing college completion rates for DC students. He brings more than a decade of experience addressing college completion, most notably while serving as Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative. In 2019, when Reach Higher joined the Common Application, Waldo served as Chief Access & Equity Programs Officer, leading the team to build a college-going and success movement around the country, while growing and managing nearly $10 million in grants focused on first-generation student success.

“Eric has been a committed public servant driving innovation and collaboration in education,” said Ted Leonsis, Chairman of the board of DC-CAP and Founder & CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment. “He is motivated by a core value that children must take charge of their future and complete the highest level of education possible. His ability to cut across policy, advocacy, and community engagement has made him tremendously successful and that is exactly why he is the right person to lead DC-CAP into the future.”

Since 1999, DC-CAP has helped more than 35,000 students enroll in college and supports more than 1,200 currently in college through its retention division. Additionally, the organization has awarded nearly $62 million in scholarships and has celebrated the success of more than 14,000 college graduates who otherwise would not have had the opportunity for higher education.

“I’m humbled to build on the DC-CAP legacy and apply some of the lessons learned at the national level to my Washington, D.C. community,” said Waldo. “A great education makes you lucky, but you shouldn’t have to be lucky to get a great education, which is why I’m so excited to help more DC students achieve their higher education potential. I believe that higher education is fundamental to being competitive in today’s global, knowledge-based economy, and that’s why I’ve dedicated my career to tackling inequity in education and building a movement around higher education completion.”

Waldo joins DC-CAP from his role as the Chief Engagement Officer for the U.S. Surgeon General. Prior to joining the White House, Waldo was Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Education.

“Eric is a champion for students and for creating educational opportunities for the young people and communities that most need and deserve them,” said Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education. “He is relentless, smart, and creative. He was an amazing partner to me in our work at the USDOE, and I am thrilled he will continue to serve the young people of DC in this new leadership role. I am excited about what the future holds!”

Waldo serves on several advisory boards including the Military Child Education Coalition, Piney Woods School, National Postsecondary Institute, American University Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success, and the 2030 Boyer Commission.

Waldo earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, an M.Ed. from Harvard University, and an A.B. from Brown University. He currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife and infant daughter.


About DC-CAP
The District of Columbia College Access Program (DC-CAP) is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping DC students to enroll in, and graduate from college as the cornerstone of a successful future. Since 1999, DC-CAP has worked with parents and educational partners, inspiring, counseling and providing fundamental support to help low-income DC students believe that college is possible, find the path to get there and complete their education. DC-CAP has helped more than 35,000 students enroll in college, supports more than 1,200 currently in college through its retention division, has awarded nearly $62 million in scholarships, and has celebrated the success of more than 14,000 college graduates who otherwise never would have had the opportunity for higher education. For more information, visit www.dccap.org.

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