The Reach Higher initiative is the First Lady’s effort to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university. On May 1, “College Signing Day,” institutions across the country will be encouraged to share welcome messages with new students on social media. Learn more about the Reach Higher initiative as host Chris D’Orso speaks with the program’s executive director Eric Waldo.


Episode Host

Chris D'Orso

Chris D’Orso is the assistant director of enrollment communications for Stony Brook University, coordinating social media outreach for one of the top-ranked public research universities in the northeast. Chris is a State University of New York lifer; he has a BA from SUNY Geneseo in communications, and worked as the acting director of student activities at Finger Lakes Community College and as an admissions counselor/orientation director at SUNY Old Westbury before joining Stony Brook University as an assistant director of admissions in 2005. He’s a husband and father, a Mets fan and baseball card collector, and the halftime voice of the Spirit of Stony Brook marching band during football games. Chris also got his butt kicked on “Jeopardy!” in 2009. He earned his MS in college student development at Long Island University.


Eric Waldo

Eric is former Deputy Chief of Staff at the Department of Education and current Executive Director at Reach Higher. Eric is a passionate advocate and leader for transformational education reform because of what it can do to cure poverty, change lives, and fundamentally improve communities. A senior policy, political, communications, and operations professional, as well as a former classroom teacher, Waldo thrives leading in fast-paced, high-stakes, entrepreneurial environments.
As Executive Director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, Waldo is working to inspire every student in the U.S. to take charge of their future by completing their post-secondary education, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a 2-year or 4-year college or university. His role cuts across policy, advocacy, and community engagement to further the President’s North Star goal—that by 2020, the U.S. once again leads the world in terms of college graduates.
Category: Admissions Live