Drew University Board of Trustees Appoints New Members

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by Anna Gombert

Drew University appointed six new board of trustee members. The new inductees include Joyce Brocaglia, Gregory Gordon, Gaetana Kopchinsky, Sanjay Mirchandani, Andrés Peñate and Suneet Varma, joining other trustees to make up the 35 person board, which includes President Baenninger.

Gordon, Kopchinsky and Mirchandani are all graduates of Drew. Several of the members work with the College of Liberal Arts, the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies and the Theological School.

The Board of Trustees, which operates as a governing entity for the school, meets as a whole only three times a year. However, there are committees within the board that conduct their own work throughout the year. Even though the president is a member of the board, they are held accountable to the board.

The members of the board each serve at least one term of four years but can serve up to two terms. President Baenninger stated, “It is exciting to have this rotating membership to both share institutional knowledge and history, as well as bring new perspectives into the conversation on a regular basis.” A subcommittee of the Board is in charge of searching for possible new trustees and making recommendations to the rest of the Board.

“Possible trustees are identified through a variety of paths, but primarily individuals who have expressed extreme interest in supporting Drew both with volunteer time and financially, and have been engaged in conversation with the President about what this will entail,” said the president. “We also look for Trustees that have diverse backgrounds and skill sets to provide a variety of perspectives needed for healthy dialogue and debate on the Board.”

She went on to explain that the Board of Trustees is responsible for voting on such matters as faculty tenure, the budget of the university, new academic programs as well as other issues. One of the Board’s more recent decisions was the reduction of tuition by 20 percent. According to the president, the Board is also responsible for approving the candidates for graduation every year.

“We are very lucky to have a passionate and dedicated Board of Trustees who are interested in understanding and engaging with students, as they frequently in formal and informal settings, so they can best gauge how to allocate University resources and make decisions that continue to make Drew flourish,” President Baenninger said.

On Thursday, October 19, a group of Civic Scholars got the opportunity to attend a luncheon  with the new trustees as well as other members of the board. Amye Follett (‘18) stated, “I think the experience was great. It isn’t very often the trustees, and students get to interact in that way, and they were all so eager to hear our experiences and hopes for the future. They were also really eager to offer help with networking, and different opportunities if they could.”

The small group of Civic Scholars were encouraged to talk about their experiences as Drew Students and to bring up issues that they would like to see addressed by the board of trustees. It was also an opportunity for the students to better understand the role of the board of trustees in the university.  “I was not surprised by the overwhelming amount of support communicated by each member of the Board. Their intentions were clear,” said Anthony Tagliaferro (‘20). “The Board wants to accomplish a whole lot, but every smaller project relates directly to the big idea of helping the Drew community, and especially the student body, grow as scholars and most importantly, well-rounded people.”

“It was so great to meet the trustees last week! They weren’t intimidating like most people think,” Virginia Leach (‘20). “They really want to know what’s happening at Drew and what they can do to make it better. They are our best advocates; we just need to reach out and communicate with them.”

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