AJCU Welcomes New Director of Government Relations

Contact: Deanna Howes Spiro, Director of Communications, AJCU
(202) 862-9893, dhowes@ajcunet.edu

Jenny Smulson (photo by Doris Sump)

Jenny Smulson (photo by Doris Sump)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) is pleased to welcome Jenny Smulson as Director of Government Relations. A proud Georgetown University graduate with nearly two decades of experience advocating on higher education issues, Smulson comes to AJCU from the American Psychological Association (APA), where she served as senior legislative and federal affairs officer.

Prior to her work at the APA, Smulson served as a professional staff member for both the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities. She began her career in Washington, D.C. by working for the Congressional Arts Caucus.

Smulson has received multiple honors and awards recognizing her accomplishments as an advocate for higher education including, most recently, the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students Award in 2016. She has also been recognized by the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors and the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation.

AJCU’s president, Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., said, “We are pleased that Jenny comes to AJCU with so much experience in government relations and higher education. Her deep understanding of the issues facing our schools today will be of great importance and support to so many on our campuses, from presidents to government relations officers and financial aid directors. Jenny also brings a strong passion and appreciation for Jesuit education, having experienced it from the perspective of an alumna and as a parent, whose children have attended Jesuit schools in Washington, D.C.”

As Director of Government Relations for AJCU, Smulson represents the nation’s 27 Jesuit colleges and universities on the Federal level. She will also work with our campuses as they address state and local concerns. Issues of particular importance to AJCU members include the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act; maintaining or increasing funding levels for Federal student financial aid programs, including campus-based aid programs; Title IX; protections for Dreamers; Federal resources for research; and tax policies. As a member of the Washington Higher Education Secretariat (WHES), National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), AJCU is an active collaborator in higher education, as well as a strong supporter of Jesuit advocacy groups including the Ignatian Solidarity Network and the Office of Justice and Ecology within the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

Key to Smulson’s advocacy efforts at AJCU will be leading the AJCU Government Relations Network, whose members work together to engage members of Congress on issues of importance to Jesuit higher education. Smulson said, “I am both proud and excited to serve as AJCU’s Director of Government Relations. My Jesuit education continues to guide me personally and professionally. I look forward to advocating for Jesuit colleges and universities and sharing how they shape their students by blending academic excellence with service, to yield women and men for others who go on to enrich our society.”

A native of Kensington, MD, Smulson lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and three children. She is a former chair of the School Advisory Board for Holy Trinity School in Georgetown and currently serves on Holy Trinity’s Parish Life Committee. In her free time, Smulson enjoys Big East basketball and spending time with family and friends.