Peter McPherson is president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (A۰P۰L۰U), the nation’s oldest higher education association comprised of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and state university systems. A۰P۰L۰U member campuses enroll more than 3.5 million undergraduate and 1.1 million graduate students, employ more than 645,000 faculty members, and conduct nearly two-thirds of all academic research, totaling more than $34 billion annually. A۰P۰L۰U is dedicated to excellence in learning, discovery and engagement.
McPherson is the former chair of the Board of Directors of Dow Jones and Company. He is the founding co-chair of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa; chair of the Board of IFDC, an international center dealing with soil fertility and agricultural development; and chair of the Board of Harvest Plus, an organization working on breeding crops for better nutrition. McPherson also recently completed the chairmanship of a commission created by Congress to consider ways to greatly increase the number of students who study abroad.
Prior to joining A۰P۰L۰U, McPherson was president of Michigan State University for more than 11 years (1993-2004). From April to October 2003, he took leave from that position and served as the Director of Economic Policy for the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq, working with the currency, the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance and the banks of the country.
Before Michigan State, McPherson held senior executive positions with Bank of America from 1989 to 1993. From 1987 to 1989, he served as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, focusing on trade, tax, and international issues and was one of the principal U.S. negotiators for the Canadian Free Trade Agreement. He was Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1981 to 1987 and in that role was responsible for the U. S. effort for famine relief in Africa in 1984-85. During that time he was also the Chairman of the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. From 1977 through 1980, he was a partner and head of the Washington office of the Ohio law firm, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease. Prior to that, he was a Special Assistant to President Gerald Ford in the White House.
McPherson has been honored with the U. S. Presidential Certificate of Outstanding Achievement, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Leadership Award, the Department of Treasury’s Alexander Hamilton Award, the UNICEF award for “outstanding contribution to child survival,” the 1983 Humanitarian of the Year award from the American Lebanese League and the Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award in 1998. He received a B.A. from Michigan State University, an M.B.A. from Western Michigan University and a J.D. from American University.