Dr. Nicole Hurd

Founder and CEO, College Advising Corps

Nicole Hurd, Ph.D., is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of College Advising Corps (CAC). Under her leadership, CAC has grown into the largest college access program in the country and received many accolades for its innovative work. Some of these honors include selection as one of eight nonprofits highlighted in The University of Pennsylvania’s 2018 annual High Impact Giving Guide, which targets organizations working with society’s most vulnerable people, and the 2012 National Service Impact Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service. 

Recognized nationally as a leader in the field of college access and success, Dr. Hurd was honored as a White House Champion of Change for College Opportunity in September 2016 and was selected as a Featured Innovator by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for leading bold and creative efforts to eliminate disparities in college access and success. 

In 2018, Dr. Hurd received the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters from Franklin & Marshall College and was recognized as one of Time Magazine’s 2018 Top 31 People Who Are Changing the South. Furthermore, she was named to Washington Monthly’s 2016 list of the most innovative people in higher education and the Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2014 Influence List.

Prior to launching College Advising Corps, Nicole served as an Assistant Dean and Director of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence at the University of Virginia. While there, she founded the College Guide Program that was the precursor to College Advising Corps. The College Guide Program received national attention and a $10 million grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to expand into 10 additional states. Because of the growth and success of College Guides, Nicole was awarded the Governor of Virginia’s Award for Volunteerism and Community Service in 2007.

While at the University of Virginia, Nicole taught in the Department of Religious Studies, worked with successful Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Fulbright, and Truman Scholar candidates, and led the first university-wide Office of Undergraduate Research. 

Nicole’s work has resulted in the following honors: 2014 Honorary Hesburgh Yusko Scholar, 2013 Excellence in Education Award given by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 2012 Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Public Service, 2012 Executive Leadership Award of Excellence from the National College Access Network, 2011 American Marshall Memorial Fellow, and 2007 Faculty Award Recipient for the University of Virginia’s Raven Society.

The co-author of “Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What High Schools Can Do,” a publication of the US Department of Education, Nicole holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree from Georgetown University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband and their two children.