Now that members of the Class of 2008 have finished their theses, they can begin to think about the future of the University. Since current seniors will be alumni by the time three new people join the Board of Trustees this summer, they are eligible to vote in the election that will choose the new members.
Three new trustees are elected to three-year terms every year. Alumni this year will choose from six candidates to fill the vacancies left by Leo Au ’71, Michael Donnella ’76, and Matthew Greenfield ’90, whose terms expire on June 30. Those six candidates are Paul S. Mason ’77, Joseph Haddad Jr. ’78, Susan A. Sutherland ’82, Sid Espinosa ’94, William B. Macomber ’96, and David G. Sewell ’96.
Alumni elect nine of the 33 trustees who sit on the Board, none of whom are allowed to stand for re-election. The Board selects the remaining members itself. The Nominating Committee of the Alumni Association chooses these alumni-elected candidates. Potential candidates are recommended by other alumni or apply for themselves. Any University graduate can appear on the ballot by petition by collecting the signatures of one percent of the alumni body.
Director of Alumni Programs Linda Secord estimated that sub-committees had reviewed as many as two hundred names and that the full committee had considered between forty and fifty nominees before narrowing that group down to the current slate of six candidates. The committee is required to nominate three candidates who graduated sixteen or more years ago and three candidates who graduated in the last fifteen years.
“The committee looks for a slate of candidates who represent the diversity of Wesleyan,” Secord said. “They also want visionary people who can think strategically.”
While figures are not available for this year, 11.7 percent of alumni contacted regarding the election voted last year. Seniors participated at an even higher rate—over a hundred out of about seven hundred voted last year.
“We hope seniors start voting when they’re seniors and that it becomes a habit,” Secord said.
For the seniors who plan on being dedicated alumni voters, here are the candidates:
Paul S. Mason ’77
Mason is a senior vice president at ABC News responsible for covering the presidential election. He was an associate professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley from 1997 to 2000. Mason is on the Board of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and of the Overseas Press Club Foundation. He recently spoke on campus as part of The Argus Speaker Series.
Joseph Haddad, Jr.’78
Haddad is a professor, a vice chairman of head and neck surgery and associate dean for medical education at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is also the head of otolaryngology at New York Presbyterian’s Children’s Hospital. Haddad is president of the nonprofit Honduran Medical Institute, which provides medical care for children in Honduras. He has also chaired for University reunions. He told The Argus via e-mail that he would like to “encourage undergraduate students to work internationally and to consider global health issues in their work,” and to emphasize, “the importance of science in a well-rounded liberal arts education.”
Susan A. Sutherland ’82
Sutherland is a senior vice president of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and serves on the managing committee there. She serves of the Board of the United Way of the Bay Area and was president of the League of Women Voters of San Francisco. She is currently the president of the Wesleyan Club of San Francisco. According to her profile on the Board of Trustees website, she wants to focus on “attracting and enrolling students of exceptional talent regardless of financial need and eliminating the debt many students graduate with.”
Sydney Espinosa ’94
Espinosa oversees philanthropic investing at Hewlett-Packard, where he is Director of Philanthropic Programs. After receiving a degree in public policy from Harvard, he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice under Janet Reno and the Clinton White House. In November, Espinosa was elected to the city council of Palo Alto, Calif. He is the first Latino to ever hold that office.
William B. Macomber ’96
Macomber is a documentary film editor and founded a documentary post-production company, Fancy Film. He has worked on numerous non-profit documentaries dealing with children’s healthcare, global warming, civics education and gang intervention programs. Macomber is involved with historical preservation projects in downtown Los Angeles and in campaigning for better energy conservation, water management and green transportation in L.A.
“Wesleyan needs to expand its reach outside of New England,” Macomber said.
He said that he wanted to promote the University to students from all over the country and to coordinate networks of alumni for that purpose. He also encouraged voters to email him with questions and concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David G. Sewell ’96
Sewell is an intellectual property litigator at the law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. His work in the public sector included writing the official history of domestic policy in the Clinton White House and serving as an education advisor in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. He was recently a principal advisor to Senator John Edwards. Sewell serves on the New York State Bar Association Ethics Committee. He calls being nominated for the Board a “dream come true.”
“We need to redouble efforts to make sure that the cost of Wesleyan is not prohibitive to people like me,” he said, emphasizing that he was the first member of his family to attend college. He also emphasized the need to “attract and retain top flight professors,” a goal he says he shares with President Michael Roth.