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Terry Hartle, who has led the lobbying efforts of higher education’s most visible association for three decades, has announced that he will retire at the end of this year.

As senior vice president for government relations and public affairs at the American Council on Education since 1993, and before that as a key aide to former senator Edward M. Kennedy, Hartle has been a central player in just about every public policy issue involving colleges and universities since the Reagan administration.

A message to the ACE staff from President Ted Mitchell said, “We have never needed him more than in the last couple of years. During the pandemic, Terry and his team were instrumental in spearheading the work the higher education associations did together to ensure that roughly $78 billion in desperately needed COVID-relief funding was allocated by Congress to students and our institutions.”

Although Hartle worked for just one association, ACE, it strives to speak broadly for higher education. So Hartle’s role often entailed trying to represent the interests of sectors of colleges that were sometimes at odds. Hartle has also been a frequent explainer of higher education policy and national politics to people who work in higher education, through dozens of speeches a year trying to make sense of Washington.

Hartle has also been a source to many journalists, including those at Inside Higher Ed. He has appeared in more than 300 articles in these pages since 2005.