Baker-Polito Administration Announces New UMass Trustees

BOSTON – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today named Mary L. Burns, Imari K. Paris Jeffries, Michael O’Brien, Elizabeth D. Scheibel, and Charles F. Wu to the Board of Trustees for the University of Massachusetts (UMass), and reappointed Robert J. Manning to the Board.

Manning, who previously chaired the Board from 2008-2010, will also assume the chairmanship of the board that oversees the UMass system effective Monday, December 12.

Governor Baker also announced several other appointments, including longtime UMass Trustee Victor Woolridge as well as new Board member Michael O’Brien to seats on the UMass Building Authority (UMBA), serving as representatives of the UMass Board.

Governor Baker supports Woolridge, a commercial real estate professional, for chairman of the Building Authority, which oversees the planning, financing and construction of university facilities. The Governor also supports Philip Johnston for vice chair.

In a separate announcement, the UMass Foundation announced that Johnston will join its Board of Directors at the end of the year, where he is also expected to be named vice chair.

“I congratulate the new members of the boards on their appointments and thank them for stepping forward to serve the Commonwealth and the University of Massachusetts,” said the Governor in a statement. “UMass continues to be a global leader in education and these leaders will help the University continue to think creatively and boldly about the future of public education in order to grow our economy, strengthen our communities, and create opportunity for future generations of students.”

UMass President Marty Meehan praised the appointments. “Governor Baker has again demonstrated his commitment to quality and achievement at UMass by appointing civic leaders with track records of excellence whose experience and perspectives will benefit students, the UMass community and the Commonwealth,” President Meehan said. “Likewise, the reappointment of Rob Manning as chair speaks to his achievements and his profound contributions to the University while the appointment of Victor Woolridge and Michael O’Brien to the Building Authority will benefit the Authority by leveraging their experience, expertise and strategic management skills.”

“I was honored when the Governor appointed me chair of the Board of Trustees and I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments of UMass and the leadership position taken by the board during my tenure,” said Woolridge, in a press release. “After two years of dedicated commitment to that role and in close coordination with the Governor regarding the future of the university, it’s now time for me to step aside to focus on the multibillion-dollar capital activities of UMBA. I’m absolutely thrilled that Rob Manning will be stepping in as Chair and I’m confident that Rob will provide very strong leadership as he builds upon the great work that we’ve done over these past few years.”

“I’m thrilled and honored to assume the chairmanship of the UMass Board of Trustees,” said Manning, who has previously chaired the board. “I’m passionate about UMass and its mission because, as a product of the university, I know firsthand how it transforms the lives of students. There is nothing more important that happens in society.”

President Meehan expressed gratitude for the UMass trustees whose terms expired in 2016: Richard P. Campbell, Lawrence M. Carpman, Alyce J. Lee, Jeffrey B. Mullan and Margaret D. Xifaras. “We sincerely thank our outgoing board members for their wisdom, their diligence, their tenacity and above all, their love for UMass and its mission of service to the Commonwealth and its citizens,” Meehan said.

About the UMass Board of Trustees

The University of Massachusetts is governed by a 22-member Board of Trustees that represents various interests of the public at large on a non-partisan basis. Seventeen members of the board are appointed by the Governor and five members are UMass students elected by the student body on each of the five campuses. The Board of Trustees functions as a legislative body dealing mainly with general policies governing the University. The Board is not an administrative or management board. The Massachusetts General Laws allows it to act as an appeals body in certain rare instances. For more information on how the Board is composed and its responsibilities, see Chapter 75: University of Massachusetts of the Massachusetts Legislature’s General Laws.

Mary L. Burns: She is a managing partner of MLB Realty Trust, LLC; Chesapeake Outdoor, LLC; Splash Media Group Boston, LLC; and Capital Advertising, LLC. She has extensive experience in highway management as well as the procurement of highway advertising. Mary earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Service: Administration of Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, before beginning her career as a paralegal and consultant. In total, seven of her siblings attended UMass Lowell or the formerly named Lowell State College. She was then appointed to the Outdoor Advertising Board and the Massachusetts Highway Commission. She has acted as an overseer of countless road and bridge projects throughout the Commonwealth and has amassed over ten years of public management experience, focusing on contract review, planning, and development. She acts as an Advisory Board Member for the United Teen Equality Center in her native Lowell.


Robert J. Manning: He as chair of MFS Investment Management. Robert’s primary focus is setting the strategy and vision for MFS. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, before joining MFS in 1984. He then went on to receive a Master of Science degree in Finance from Boston College. He held several MFS positions, including research analyst, chief strategist, and director of research, before ascending to CEO in 2004 and chairman in 2010. He is a member of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors. He served as chairman of the board of trustees of the University of Massachusetts system from 2007-2010, before he was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, where he endowed the Manning School of Business.

Elizabeth D. Scheibel: She was the first woman district attorney in Massachusetts, having served as Northwestern District Attorney in Hampshire and Franklin counties. She was educated at Mount Holyoke College and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychobiology. She went on to earn her J.D. from Western New England College School of Law. Elizabeth was a two-time president of the Massachusetts District Attorney’s Association and a member of the board of the National District Attorneys Association, as well as an appointed member of the Massachusetts Victim Assistance Board and the Commission on MedicoLegal Investigations. She is the immediate past chair of the Westfield State University Board of Trustees. Elizabeth is trustee emeritus of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and vice chair of the Berkshire Hills Music Academy Board of Trustees.

Imari K. Paris Jeffries: She is an independent consultant for the United South End Settlement Houses, where he conducts economic analysis and reviews strategic plans. He has amassed extensive experience in nonprofits, including serving as the CEO of Italian Home for Children, the COO of Jumpstart for Young Children, Inc., and an interim CEO/partner of Boston Rising. Imari earned a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies and History from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, before returning to earn his Masters of Education and Masters of Arts in American Studies. He serves on the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Workers and is a recipient of numerous awards. Imari resides in Boston.

Michael O’Brien: He is an Executive Vice President at WinnCompanies, a national real estate firm based in Boston.  He is the former city manager of the city of Worcester, serving in that capacity for a nearly a decade.  In his current role, he is responsible for overall corporate management, strategic planning, and maintaining financial and client relationships. He is renown for implementing significant fiscal controls, major economic development initiatives and neighborhood improvements programs in Worcester. He attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. He resides in Southborough.

Charles Wu: He teaches real estate at the Harvard Business School.  He is a founding partner of Baynorth Capital, LLC, which manages BayNorth Fund VII, a $475 million fund for 45 foundations, endowments, and pension funds. Previously, he was a managing director of Harvard University’s endowment and a managing director and founding partner of CharlesBank Capital Partners, LLC.  He attended Harvard College, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.  He returned to earn a Master of Business Administration degree, with distinction, from the Harvard Business School. For several years, he has taught as an Adjunct Professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and as a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School.  He is a Trustee for Newton Wellesley Hospital.  Charles also served as Commissioner of the Asian American Commission and the Chair of its Economics Advisory Committee for Governor Weld, as Chairman of the Economics Advisory Board for Mayor Menino, and as a Founding Board member of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.  He lives in Newton.


About the UMass Building Authority

The UMass Building Authority (UMBA) is a distinct, public organization established by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1960. Its mission is to build facilities on the University of Massachusetts campuses that could be financed from student fees and charges. Facilities include student dormitories, dining facilities and parking garages. In recent years the Authority has expanded its role and now builds academic buildings, laboratories, athletic facilities, heating plants, and other facilities, as well as providing funding for the repair and renovation of existing campus facilities.

In order to construct facilities, the Authority borrows funds by issuing tax-exempt bonds. The University has pledged to pay the principal and interest on the bonds issued by the Authority over the life of the bonds. The Authority is also responsible for the construction of these facilities and hires architects, engineers and construction firms to design and build them. After the facilities are completed, they are used and maintained by the University while the Authority maintains ownership of the buildings.

Victor Woolridge: A longtime UMass trustee, Woolridge has served in several leadership roles, including Chairman of the Board as well as Chairman of the Board’s Committee on Administration and Finance. Woolridge is Vice President for Debt Placement & Syndications at Barings Real Estate Advisers LLC, and previously served as vice president of Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, a diversified global real estate firm that is an affiliate of the MassMutual Financial Group. He is a 1980 graduate of UMass-Amherst, where he earned a Bachelor’s in legal studies. He is a past chairman of the board of trustees at Baystate Health Inc., and a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association. In September, he was announced as a recipient of the 2016 National TRIO Achievers Award, given by the Council for Opportunity in Education. He is a lifelong Springfield resident.

Michael O’Brien: Brien is an Executive Vice President at WinnCompanies, a national real estate firm based in Boston.  He is the former city manager of the city of Worcester, serving in that capacity for a nearly a decade.  In his current role, he is responsible for overall corporate management, strategic planning, and maintaining financial and client relationships. He is renown for implementing significant fiscal controls, major economic development initiatives and neighborhood improvements programs in Worcester. He attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. He resides in Southborough.


Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: Phone: 508-315-7176

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