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Blenda Wilson

president, CEO, Nellie Mae Ed Foundation

A nationally known speaker on higher education policy issues, Wilson served as the first president and chief executive officer of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation from 1999 to 2006. The foundation, established in 1998, is New Englands largest public charity dedicated to improving academic achievement for underserved communities. During Wilson's seven-year tenure, the foundation distributed more than $80 million in grants to educational institutions and non-profit organizations to improve access to college. She is also a former chair of the American Association of Higher Education and was the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where she served on the board of directors from 2003 to 2006. Wilson currently serves on the boards of trustees of Boston College and Union Theological Seminary, the board of directors of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the board of directors of Higher Education Resource Services, and the boards of Boston After School and Beyond, Boston College and Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses. She is a director of Medco Health Solutions. Wilson earned a bachelor's degree in English and secondary education at Cedar Crest College, a master's in education at Seton Hall University, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration at Boston College.