Following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down affirmative action in June, the Partnership for College Completion released a report about the path forward for institutions in the aftermath of this decision. The report focuses on race-conscious policymaking in Illinois and examines our state’s data while offering recommendations to expand access for students of color in higher education.
The Partnership hosted a virtual panel discussion featuring local and national experts, advocates, and a recent college graduate to talk about the report, their personal and professional experiences, and looking ahead.
The report was written by PCC Senior Manager of Research and Policy Mike Abrahamson, Policy Analyst Caitlin Donnelley-Power, and Government Affairs Manager Danielle Stanley.
About the Panelists
Wil Del Pilar, Senior Vice President, EdTrust
Wil Del Pilar, Ph.D., serves as Ed Trust’s Senior Vice President. In this role, Dr. Del Pilar spearheads Ed Trust’s mission to highlight inequities and outline solutions in order to improve access, success, affordability, and completion in higher education for low-income students and students of color.
Prior to joining Ed Trust, Dr. Del Pilar served in Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s administration as deputy secretary of postsecondary and higher education, where he developed and implemented the state’s strategic vision for higher education. His other senior development positions include serving as the director of development at Pennsylvania State University and at the University of Florida’s Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program. Additionally, Dr. Del Pilar has a wealth of institutional experience, working in admissions at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and the University of California, Santa Cruz, as a financial aid counselor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and as a research assistant at Penn State.
Dr. Del Pilar holds a doctorate in higher education/higher education administration from Penn State, a master’s degree from California State University-Dominguez Hills, and a bachelor’s degree from Chapman University. He became a member of the Partnership for College Completion Board of Directors in 2023.
Read Dr. Del Pilar’s full bio here.
Liliana Garces, Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at UT Austin
Liliana M. Garces is the W.K. Kellogg Professor in Community College Leadership at the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds courtesy appointments at the University of Texas School of Law and the Center for Mexican American Studies. She teaches courses on higher education law, equity, and diversity in higher education, and race, law, and education.
Over the years, Dr. Garces’s work has been featured in National Public Radio, The New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and other media outlets, and at various invited briefings at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Garces’s prior appointments include: The Pennsylvania State University, where she co-directed and co-founded the Center for Education and Civil Rights; The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development; and the University of Michigan’s National Poverty Center in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. She also worked as a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Immigrants’ Rights Project, and the Legal Aid Society in D.C., and as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable John C. Coughenour in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Dr. Garces holds a doctorate in education from Harvard University, a juris doctor from the University of Southern California School of Law, and a bachelor of arts from Brown University.
Read Dr. Garces’ full bio here.
Maya Brodziak, Counsel* with the Educational Opportunities Project, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
Maya Brodziak serves as Counsel* with the Educational Opportunities Project. As Counsel, Maya is responsible for litigating cases related to ensuring that all students receive equal educational opportunities in public schools and institutions of higher learning.
Prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Maya was an associate for a private law firm, where she engaged in complex civil and criminal litigation, and a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at Lawyers for Children, where she represented children involved in the foster care system in Manhattan Family Court and administrative school discipline hearings.
Learn more about Maya’s work here.
Monte Thomas– Graduate of Blackburn College and Graduate Student at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Monte Thomas is a graduate student studying statistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Thomas recently graduated from Blackburn College and was a member of the Partnership for College Completion’s Student Advisory Council.