Agnes Scott College Receives ACE/Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation


ACE AwardWashington (March 12, 2017)–The American Council on Education (ACE) announced today that Agnes Scott College is a recipient of the 2017 ACE/Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation.

The award was created to recognize institutions that have responded to higher education challenges in innovative and creative ways and achieved dramatic changes in a relatively brief period, and includes a $10,000 prize. ACE invited nominations and applications for the award from any U.S. college or university eligible for ACE membership.

The award is divided into two categories: the first for institutions with student populations of 5,001 and more, with Brandman University as this year’s winning recipient, and the second for institutions with student populations of up to 5,000, the category in which Agnes Scott College has won.

The awards were presented at ACE2017, ACE’s 99th Annual Meeting, and were accepted by Brandman University Chancellor Gary Brahm and Agnes Scott College President Elizabeth Kiss on behalf of their respective institutions.

“Brandman University and Agnes Scott College represent the ways in which American higher education institutions, and their leaders are rising to the challenges of innovation and meeting the needs of 21st century learners,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “We appreciate the generous support of Fidelity Investments for this award, which allows us each year to recognize institutions where this type of dramatic transformation has occurred.”

In 2011, Agnes Scott, a liberal arts college for women, found itself confronted with an unsustainable business model. The Board of Trustees knew they had to chart a new course for the college, and so they adopted a strategic financial plan called the Roadmap to 2020. But they soon realized cost-cutting by itself was not a workable strategy.

Over the next three years, the school developed, market-tested and launched a signature initiative, SUMMIT, that serves to reinvent a liberal arts education for the 21st century by providing students, regardless of their major, with a robust focus on global learning and leadership development integrated with a digital portfolio and supported by a personal Board of Advisors.

SUMMIT was soft-launched in fall 2014 and fully launched in fall 2015. The impact was immediate and dramatic: enrollment increased 21 percent. Retention also increased and hit an all-time high of 87 percent, with dramatic increases in levels of student satisfaction.

“All of us at Agnes Scott are thrilled to receive this wonderful award. It took a tremendous amount of creativity, commitment and courage on the part of trustees, faculty and staff for us to launch an initiative as ambitious and innovative as SUMMIT. We knew we had to respond with urgency to the changing landscape of higher education and to address the challenges facing all liberal arts colleges, especially women’s colleges, in offering a distinctive value proposition that aligns with our mission and is compelling to prospective students and their families,” said Kiss. “We are excited to have charted a bold, new course for our institution through offering our students an education that will enable them to engage, lead and succeed in a complex global society.”

“Together with ACE, Fidelity is honored to celebrate higher education leaders creating innovative programs to help their students succeed on campus and in their careers,” said Alexandra Taussig, senior vice president, Tax-Exempt Market, Fidelity Investments. “Brandman University and Agnes Scott College exemplify how a commitment to continued progress can have significant impact throughout their communities—and ultimately drive academic achievement that provides a foundation for ongoing success.”


About ACE
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing nearly 1,800 college and university presidents and related associations. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity’s mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $5.8 trillion, including managed assets of $2.2 trillion as of January 31, 2017, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 26 million people invest their own life savings, 23,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 12,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for 70 years, Fidelity employs 45,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit
About Agnes Scott College
Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Its signature program SUMMIT provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics. Visit to learn more.