Board of Overseers and Board of Trustees undergo changes

President M. Lee Pelton and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Jeff Greenhawt announced new appointments to both the Board of Trustees and the Board of Overseers in a press release on April 22, effective May 1.

Dan Black, originally the chairman of the Board of Overseers, was moved alongside fellow overseer Dan Cohen, to the Board of Trustees. The two will help direct the college’s financial priorities and work in collaboration with the president, senior administrators, and faculty on strategic initiatives to improve Emerson, according to Andrew Tiedemann, vice president for communications and marketing.

Ruth Vitale, executive director of CreativeFuture, an industry coalition set up by studios and guilds to combat piracy, and Bret Clemons, vice president at Gemline, a supplier of bags, business accessories, gifts and writing instruments, were appointed to the Board of Overseers. Members are meant to serve as advisers to Pelton, provide insight into industry trends, mentor students, help secure internships, and assist with special projects at the request of the administration, according to Tiedemann.

With Black moving to the Board of Trustees, Don Spetner, formerly the vice chairman of the Board of Overseers, has been appointed as the new chairman of the Board of Overseers.

“Through these membership changes, Emerson College has widened the range of professional knowledge, expertise, and talent for both the Board of Trustees and the Board of Overseers,” Jeff Greenhawt, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said in a press release. “We are enormously grateful to have such talented individuals willing to serve as volunteers on these boards in addition to our Alumni Board and the Parents Leadership Council.”

Board members have three-year terms, and can have up to three consecutive terms, before the member must step down for at least one year, according to Tiedemann. Tiedemann said this process allows for new additions to provide a range of opinions.

“It’s great to get different perspectives and new perspectives on both boards,” Tiedemann said.

Seven members are leaving the groups for professional and personal reasons. Holly Bario, the president of production at DreamWorks Studios; Donna Levin, co-founder of, and vice president of Policy and CSR; and Michael Mendenhall, chief marketing and chief communications officer at Flextronics, all left for other professional commitments.

Winthrop McCormack; Mary Sweig Wilson, professor of communication sciences at the University of Vermont and president of Laureate Learning Systems; and Michael Vasilinda had their terms expire. Colette Phillips, president and CEO of Colette Phillips Communications, left due to a work conflict, according to Tiedemann.