Our Leadership

FAR’s staff and advisors have the expertise and experience needed to ensure that your gifts meet your philanthropic aspirations.

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, Ph.D.

Executive Director

As executive director of the Fund for Academic Renewal, Dr. Merrill works closely with donors to design, monitor, and evaluate transformative gifts to higher education that meet their philanthropic objectives.

Prior to assuming the leadership position at FAR, Dr. Merrill was the vice president of development at FAR’s parent organization, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. She led ACTA’s fundraising efforts, working closely with individuals and foundations interested in improving academic quality and preserving academic freedom.

Before joining ACTA, Dr. Merrill served on the faculties of St. John's College, a private liberal arts college in Annapolis, Maryland, known for its “Great Books” curriculum, and the College of William & Mary. She also has taught at Duke University, the University of Calgary, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and in the college program at Maryland’s only prison for women. Her essays on philanthropy and higher education have appeared in Philanthropy, Philanthropy Daily, and other forums. Dr. Merrill earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University and her B.A. from the University of Calgary. Dr. Merrill is a trustee of the American Academy for Liberal Education, which accredits PreK-12 schools and higher education institutions that provide exceptional instruction in the liberal arts.

Andras Kosaras, Esq.

Legal Advisor

Andras Kosaras, a counsel with Arnold & Porter, is the Fund for Academic Renewal’s legal advisor. In this capacity, Mr. Kosaras counsels donors on properly structuring their charitable gifts to ensure that their intent is honored and protected.

At Arnold & Porter, Mr. Kosaras represents individual and corporate donors on charitable giving matters and has extensive experience representing domestic and international tax-exempt organizations, including public charities, private foundations, medical research organizations, donor advised funds, supporting organizations, community foundations, and fiscal sponsors.

Before joining Arnold & Porter, Mr. Kosaras was an in-house attorney at the Washington, DC-based Council on Foundations and director of a multiyear grant project implementing the Council’s program on governance and accountability practices for grantmakers. He also served for two years as a research assistant at Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. Mr. Kosaras earned his J.D. magna cum laude from the New England School of Law and his B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. He is a board member and governance committee member of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

“It has probably never been more difficult to donate prudently to higher education than it is today, when so many basic assumptions about the aims of higher education and the norms of scholarship are in dispute. ACTA’s Fund for Academic Renewal is an invaluable asset to any donor who wishes to make informed decisions.”

Truman Anderson

Executive Director, The Stuart Family Foundation

The Fund for Academic Renewal is a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization as defined by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All contributions to FAR are fully tax-deductible to the maximum extent provided by law.