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Skidmore College

Board says farewell - and thanks - to seven trustees

May 30, 2012
Susan Williamson
Susan Kettering

Commencement is always a time of transition for Skidmore students. This year, it also was a time of transition for the Board of Trustees as terms neared the end for seven trustees, including Board Chair Janet Lucas Whitman '59 and two co-chairs of the Creative Thought Bold Promise campaign,  and Sara Lee Schupf'62.

Collectively, these three trustees alone represent 82 years of board service.

Whitman who joined the board in 1994 and was named chair in October 2008 - is succeeded by Vice Chair Linda Toohey, former executive vice president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Skidmore College Board of Trustees since 2001.

Janet Whitman
Janet Lucas
Whitman '59

As chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, Whitman played a key role in developing the plan for the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery and shepherding the selection of Antoine Predock as architect. An accomplished painter in her own right, Whitman subsequently served for eight years as the first chair of the Tang National Advisory Council, helping to enlist a strong group of advisors and donors and playing a key role in the museum's advocacy, outreach and fund-raising efforts. During her term as council chair and chair of the Board of Trustees, the Tang's dedicated endowment has grown to nearly $13 million.

Sara Schupf
Sara Lee Schupf '62

Whitman was a member of the search committee that brought Philip A. Glotzbach to Skidmore. At a luncheon in her honor, he described her as "one of the most authentic human beings I know."

"She does not play games and always tells it to you straight, but always with a characteristic twinkle in her eye," he said. "Her success as chair came from her enormous capacity to connect with others and the clear understanding that she always sought the best for them, with no interest in calling attention to herself."

Williamson is Skidmore's longest-serving trustee, having joined the board in 1971. As co-chair of the Creative Thought Bold Promise campaign, which raised $216 million, she made a major personal commitment by offering to increase her gift to the College by $1 million if 10,000 alumni, parents, and friends made a gift of any size. In all, 11,215 responded.

At the dedication in 2010 of the Williamson Sports Center, Glotzbach pointed at the facility as a natural choice to honor Williamson, who "has long championed the importance of educating students to live a full life, one that addresses the needs of the mind, the spirit, and the body."

Also a co-chair of the Creative Thought Bold Promise campaign, Schupf has served on the board for 24 years, first from 1978 to 1982 and again from 1992 onward. Through her generosity and that of her family, she established the Charles and Tillie Lubin Scholarship Fund, the Charles Lubin Family Professorship for Women in Science, and the Schupf Scholars Program, a fund for collaborative research with a preference for students interested in pursuing the STEM areas.

"Sara has put her heart and soul into every project put before her, but we know her real passion is science, and, in particular, advocating for the role of women in science," said Polly Kisiel, fellow trustee and member of the Class of '62, in tribute at a recent dinner.

Donald Sussman
S. Donald Sussman

The other four trustees to step down also have made major contributions to the College. They are:

S. Donald Sussman, chair of the Investment Committee and a member of the Advancement, Student Life, and Infrastructure committees. He and his family committed $12 million as the lead gift in the project to replace Scribner Village. The father of Emily Sussman '04, Donald Sussman also funded  "Emily's Garden" in Murray-Aikins Dining Hall, ensuring that Skidmore students will always have high-quality vegetarian offerings. Although stepping down from the board, Sussman will remain chair of the Investment Committee.

Michele Dunkerley
Michele A.
Dunkerley '80

Michele A. Dunkerley '80, vice chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and a member of the Academic Affairs, Advancement, Strategic Planning, and Student Life committees. A former chair of the President's Advisory Council, Dunkerley funds the "Dunkerley Dialogues," a series that brings visiting artists to the Tang for interdisciplinary discussions. As a member of the Alumni Board, she also funded a recent competition aimed at engaging students in developing a marketing plan for the Alumni Association.

Bernie Kastory
Bernard H. Kastory

Bernard H. Kastory, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, and a member of the Academic Affairs, Audit, Infrastructure, Special Programs, and Strategic Planning committees. A former holder of the F. William Harder Chair of Business Administration, Kastory has played a key role as chair of the Budget and Finance Committee in guiding the College through the financial crisis. He also has been a generous supporter of initiatives in the Management and Business Department.

Grace Emily Rover
Emily Rover Grace '99 

Emily Rover Grace '99, a member of the Advancement, Budget and Finance, Infrastructure, and Student Life committees. Named the Agnes Gelinas Young Alumni Trustee in 2008, Rover was presented with the Porter Award for Young Alumni Service in 2009. She serves on the Friends of the Presidents Committee and is assuming a new role on the Alumni Board as vice president for Annual Alumni Giving.


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