Anne D. Neal

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Anne D. Neal
Anne D Neal.JPG
Neal at a conference in June 2008
Nationality American
Occupation Former president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni
Spouse(s) Tom Petri

Anne deHayden Neal is the former president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), a non-profit organization with a stated mission of advancing academic quality, accountability and affordability at colleges and universities in the United States.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Neal spent her childhood in Indiana, where her father was the editor of the Noblesville Daily Ledger, a small-town newspaper.[3] She graduated magna cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College in 1977 with an A.B. in American history and literature. Neal earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1980.[4] Neal served as the first female editor of the Harvard Journal on Legislation.[5]


Neal began her career as an attorney at the firm of Rogers & Wells in New York City, where she specialized in First Amendment law. She also served as an associate at Wiley Rein in Washington, D.C. Neal later served as senior vice president of corporate legal affairs for the Recording Industry Association of America where she was involved in the RIAA's campaign to oppose mandatory lyrics labeling.[6][7][8]

In the early 1990s, Neal served as general counsel and congressional liaison for the National Endowment for the Humanities under Lynne V. Cheney, where she addressed issues including academic freedom, intellectual diversity, and historical literacy.[9] Along with Cheney, Joe Lieberman, former Colorado governor Richard Lamm, former University of Colorado at Boulder president and U.S. Senator Hank Brown, Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow, and sociologist David Riesman, Neal co-founded the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (then known as the National Alumni Forum) in 1995.[10] Neal served as vice president and general counsel of the organization from 1995–2003 before succeeding Jerry L. Martin as president in 2003.[11]

In both 2007 and 2010, Neal was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, an advisory body that makes recommendations to the United States Secretary of Education.[4][12]

Neal’s writing has been published in the Washington Examiner,[13] Inside Higher Ed,[14] the Washington Post,[1] and National Review Online.[15] Neal has appeared on Fox Business News, CNN, Fox News, WGN-TV, and NPR.[16]

Neal has testified before the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, the Louisiana Postsecondary Education Commission, and the California Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.[16] She has presented at conferences sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the University of Notre Dame, the Foreign Policy Association, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Montana State University, the American Association of University Professors and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.[5][16]

Neal serves on the boards of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the United States Capitol Historical Society, and Casey Trees.[4][17][18]

Personal life[edit]

Neal is married to former U.S Congressman Tom Petri (R-Wisconsin).[19] Their daughter is the Washington Post humor columnist Alexandra Petri.[20]


  1. ^ a b "Guest post: 'Academically Adrift,' indeed". Washington Post. January 19, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The 3-Minute Interview: Anne Neal". Washington Examiner. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  3. ^ "James T. Neal · 1990". Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Anne D. Neal, President". American Council of Trustees and Alumni. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Anne D. Neal: President, American Council of Trustees and Alumni". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Pope Center Authors: Anne Neal". The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Record Industry Sees Tide Turning in Labeling Issue". Los Angeles Times. April 3, 1990. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Anne Neal, President of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni". University of Minnesota Law School. April 3, 2008. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Anne D. Neal Biography". National Review Online. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ Jones, Barbara (2009). Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your Academic Library. American Library Association. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-8389-3580-4. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  11. ^ "Anne Neal". Philanthropy Daily. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Appointments To National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity Now Complete". Council for Higher Education Accreditation. May 28, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Anne D. Neal: College tax credit shouldn't require community service". Washington Examiner. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Asking Too Much (and Too Little) of Accreditors". Inside Higher Ed. November 12, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Anne D. Neal". National Review Online. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c The Intelligent Donor's Guide to College Giving. American Council of Trustees and Alumni. September 1, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  17. ^ "U.S. Capitol Historical Society Board of Trustees". United States Capitol Historical Society. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Casey Trees Board of Directors". Casey Trees. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Congressman Tom Petri Biography". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  20. ^ "August 2015 - Alexandra Petri '10". Retrieved 6 January 2017.