Montgomery College President Awarded 500K to Spend on Academic Programs

Pollard to divide money between coaching program, college innovation fund


DeRionne Pollard


A philanthropic foundation is recognizing Montgomery College’s president by awarding her $500,000 for her chosen education initiatives.

DeRionne Pollard, who became president in 2010, was one of seven college and university leaders to receive an academic leadership award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, according to an announcement Tuesday. She has decided to use the award money to support a college innovation fund and a coaching program for disadvantaged students, a press release stated.

“I believe that these investments will create more equitable educational outcomes for our diverse students, while strengthening our faculty’s capacities for impactful pedagogy,” Pollard said in a prepared statement.

The foundation selects award recipients who lead their colleges with vision, develop major interdisciplinary programs and form relationships between their institutions and the community.

Under Pollard’s guidance, Montgomery College developed a strategic plan for student retention and completion. In addition, grant funding to faculty has tripled over the last four years. The school’s three-year graduation and transfer rate has gone up by 6 percentage points in the past year, the release stated.

Pollard wants to allocate $300,000 of the award money to Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success, a program she created.

ACES offers academic support and mentoring to help low-income high school students earn college degrees. This semester, the program is serving 977 students at Montgomery College and 1,500 high school students in Montgomery County, the press release stated.

Pollard will direct the remaining $200,000 to the Montgomery College Foundation’s Innovation Fund, which supports projects centered on student success.

One project involved creating a program to loan graphing calculators to students who can’t afford them. Another helped establish the Boys to Men mentoring program, which pairs male African-American students with volunteer mentors.

The Carnegie Foundation also gave leadership awards to the presidents of Northeastern University, Georgia State University, Georgetown University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Harvey Mudd College and Case Western Reserve University.

Montgomery College instructs nearly 60,000 students at campuses in Germantown, Rockville and Silver Spring. The magazine Washington Monthly recently placed it ninth on a list of best two-year colleges for adult learners.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at

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