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Recent Graduate Trustees celebrate 50 years

Trustees at Alumnae/i Weekend

By Melinda Burdette ’72

The decision by Goucher’s Board of Trustees in 1973 to elect a graduating senior to serve on the board for a three-year term was momentous. It brought an important new voice to the board’s discussions and deliberations. President Marvin B. Perry, who proposed the idea, was delighted. “Recently graduated students can give us fresh and youthful viewpoints, especially those of the present generation of Goucher students,” he exclaimed.

On April 29, 2023, 14 Recent Graduate Trustees (RGTs) came from as far away as California for a luncheon celebrating the 50th anniversary of that voice. On hand to welcome them were current Board Chair Lisa Lyden Stromberg ’83 and past Board Chairs Marilyn Southard Warshawsky ’68, Norma Lynn Fox ’76, and Ruth Shapiro Lenrow ’74. Among the guests saluted were several former RGTs who have returned to the board for current or recent terms: Kara Bundy ’02, Alex Wood ’06, and Deanna Galer ’17.

Goucher’s first RGT, Elizabeth “Liz” Kingsley, M.D. ’73, P ’04, who was on campus for her 50th reunion, met the newest RGT, Tara Abdullah-Nri ’22. Across the generations little has changed save for the RGT’s nominating process. In 1973 the Student Org submitted a list of candidates to the board for selection, and, since 2022, Arsht Presidential Diplomats are invited to apply for consideration. The Arsht Diplomats are a distinguished group of 25 student leaders chosen by the college to represent Goucher at a variety of community-facing events. By the time they are seniors, they have an experiential background well suited to the role of contributing to Goucher’s governing body.

In reaching out to the RGTs for the 50th anniversary event, Marilyn Warshawsky and I discovered, but not surprisingly, that their careers and volunteer activities reflect the breadth and scope of leadership they demonstrated as Goucher students. Among the many with whom we corresponded were a department chair at Duke University’s School of Medicine; a national political analyst, syndicated columnist, and author; a pediatrician who has volunteered on more than two dozen medical missions for Operation Smile; a CEO of a growing world-class transportation network; and a newly elected member of the Montgomery County (Md.) Council.

As a group, RGTs span five decades of Goucher’s history. Changes and milestones during this period include the coeducation decision, the tenures of five Goucher presidents, the development of strategic plans, the success of five comprehensive fundraising campaigns, and numerous construction, renovation, and campus improvement projects. Looking back on their experiences and contributions as a trustee, many RGTs shared recollections and special memories.

One RGT from the mid-1980s said she greatly valued the opportunity to serve on the Board of trustees for several reasons: to stay connected with and serve the Goucher community, to have some input into the consequential decision around coeducation, and to interact with and learn from other trustees who were highly accomplished professionals. Another from this period said that she was struck by how thoughtful the conversations were and that all voices were given a chance to be heard. One from the 1990s recalled the transparency of processes and a “radical inclusion” during strategic planning that influenced her understanding of equity-advancing initiatives. Others echoed similar themes of exposure to institutional leadership and philanthropy and the process of analysis, assessment, and gaining insights from which the strategic path is driven.

“Goucher helped me move into adulthood and gave me confidence in my own abilities,” Jon Gould ’13 relayed at the recognition event, adding that as a RGT he saw how difficult being a trustee was. Joey Fink ’15, an ardent volunteer on the AAGC Board of Directors and chair of the Equestrian Program’s 100th anniversary celebrations, noted that “Goucher has given me lifelong relationships. The stories are magical. They’re different but also the same, providing a string of connectedness across the decades.”


See the complete list of the Recent Graduate Trustees who have served since 1973.




(Photo at top): Ruth Shapiro Lenrow ’74, Lisa Lyden Stromberg ’83, Norma Lynn Fox ’76, and Marilyn Southard Warshawsky ’68 celebrated the Recent Graduate Trustees at a 2023 Alumnae/i Weekend event.