2014 Alumni Elected Trustee Candidates

[Candidates] [Voting Options]

J. Gordon Cooney ’81

"Wesleyan offers the opportunity to examine issues openly, to think about them critically with the benefit of competing viewpoints, and to develop creative solutions forged from this inclusive and intense process.  The unique Wesleyan experience produces thoughtful leaders who innovate and seek to make a difference in the world.

We must continue to stress the importance of open, creative and critical thinking in a time that regularly seeks ‘quick fixes’ and rushes to judgment.  This time challenges Wesleyan’s ideals, but they are more important than ever.  If elected, I would work to reinforce what is best about Wesleyan; to ensure that its mission is clearly explained and applied in a changing world; and to strengthen it financially, all of which are critical for the University to thrive.  I loved my four years at Wesleyan.  The school and its people uniquely helped shape my life.  I would be honored to serve as a Trustee."

  • Leader, Global Litigation Practice, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.
  • Won the exoneration of John Thompson, a Louisiana man wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death, through a 15-year, pro bono representation chronicled in the book, Killing Time
  • Board Chair of two schools, including the Gesu School, an independent school in North Philadelphia educating underserved children
  • Board Executive Committee, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, and Board Vice Chair, U.S. Lacrosse Foundation.
  • Served as President, Wesleyan Philadelphia Alumni Association, and on reunion committees.
  • J.D., Villanova University.

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Lawrence "Muzzy" Rosenblatt ’87

"We have accomplished much, but it is the qualities of who we are that defines and distinguishes us as Wes alumni: caring, generous, open-minded, thoughtful, creative…and most of all, confident. This is what makes Wes exceptional. Wesleyan saw our potential. Wes pushed us outside our comfort zone to engage and embrace diverse ideas and diverse people, to experiment, take risks, and find our voice, all while contributing to a harmony on campus and in Middletown.

Like many of us, I was a young person who found my voice and confidence at Wesleyan. I have striven to maintain these values in my work, believing in those who have struggled, seeing their potential, creating opportunities for them to achieve, inspiring them to do so and celebrating their success.

Now I’d like to come back to where it all started, where we found our identity, and help ensure that the opportunity we had continues and is preserved for the future. I not only understand and appreciate this responsibility; I know what it takes to make it a reality.  I’ve created, turned-around and led large nonprofit and governmental organizations, improving mission-driven outcomes, while maintaining fiscal stability. I would be honored to be elected by my fellow alumni to serve as a Wesleyan trustee."
  • Executive Director, BRC, one NYC’s most effective housing and social services nonprofits.
  • Served 3 NYC Mayors, from entry level to Commissioner of Homeless Services
  • 25+ years fighting poverty in NYC.
  • Treasurer for the Garden School and former member of the Board of Directors for NYC’s Project Ezra.
  • Current advisory board member for Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship; WEServe planner and host; Wesleyan Alumni in Philanthropy and Public Services supporter; Career Center volunteer; sponsor winter/summer interns; and former member of the 25th Reunion committee.
  • MPA, New York University.

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Sae Yun Lee ’93

"Wesleyan University is a truly exceptional institution because it encourages students to push intellectual and personal boundaries, promotes diversity of thought and experiences, and provides access to expansive academic and extracurricular opportunities.  My years at the University have made me the woman I am today, and my appreciation for the institution has only increased over time.

The opportunity and challenge for Wesleyan is to ensure that it responds to the evolving needs of an increasingly diverse and vibrant student body, as well as the changing educational, economic, and global landscape – all while promoting the same principles that have been cherished by multiple generations of students and alumni. 

As an alumni-elected trustee, I will utilize my twenty years of experience in the education sector to ensure that all current and future Wesleyan students – especially those who may have not had consistent access to high-quality educational opportunities – will have transformative educational experiences that will enable them to achieve college, career, and lifelong success.  I am excited about the future of our institution, committed to supporting University efforts to achieve strategic goals, and honored to be included on the ballot for alumni-elected trustees."
  • Senior Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.
  • Current adjunct faculty member, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  • Served as the Policy Director, Executive Office of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  •  Former Assistant Dean of Admission at Wesleyan.
  • Past Tri-Chair of the Wesleyan Alumni of Color Network, Chair of the Wesleyan Asian Pacific American Alumni Council, and Class Agent for the Class of 1993
  •  Ed.M., Harvard Graduate School of Education; Ph.D., Teachers College, Columbia University.

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Andrew Calica ’01

"My commitment to stewardship comes from the belief that Wesleyan is a grand (and exciting) experiment in how to apply our unique brand of liberal arts thinking to tackle today’s challenges and those that have confounded society through the ages.    As a Trustee, I would strive foremost to achieve two goals.  First, I would work to foster an honest dialogue with alumni and the University’s other core constituencies.  Wesleyan finds its greatest success when it levels with its alumni about the hard choices it faces and solicits their input before a decision is taken.  In my leadership role on the Wesleyan Fund, I have attempted to advance the conversation with alumni about the reality of our finances and challenges.  Second, I would take it as my charge to serve as a representative, who is accountable to the electorate.  Throughout my Wesleyan career, I have tried to lead by listening first, honoring the trust that others have placed in me, being prepared to defend decisions, and by using criticism to improve upon strategy.  I would bring that same considered approach to my service on the Board."
  • Attorney at Mayer Brown LLP specializing in sophisticated corporate, pharmaceutical and securities litigation.
  • Co-author of three chapters in the Electronic Discovery Deskbook, a treatise on electronic discovery and records management.
  • Assisted family with their application to the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund; represent veterans.
  • Vice-Chair of the Wesleyan Fund; Vice-Chair of the Alumni Association Executive Committee; past Reunion Co-Chair and Class Agent.
  • Former President of the Wesleyan Student Assembly; Co-Chair of the Student Judicial Board.
  •  J.D. from Cornell University.

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Sohana Punithakumar ’04

"At Wesleyan, you are surrounded by people whose excellence is intimidating and inspiring, helping you to explore and cultivate your own sense of what’s extraordinary. I’m often struck by how conversations with Wesleyan students and alums can seamlessly migrate from entertainment to politics to the arts. It’s that engagement that creates the palpable energy of the Wes community.

With each discussion, I will work to protect and enrich the culture that makes Wesleyan so special. We must engage in frank discourse on key issues such as the endowment and alumni engagement to enhance Wesleyan’s position among our peers. We must also maintain our deep commitment to financial aid, which was indispensable for my attendance and that of countless others.  Wesleyan has given me so much, and I would be grateful for the opportunity to repay the debt."
  • Microsoft Media Marketing manager: Cultivate partnerships with media conglomerates to cross-promote Xbox.
  • Previously a strategy consultant focused on the social impact sector, including the Department of Education, economic development organizations, and non-profits.
  • Founded LankaCorps, a fellowship housed at The Asia Foundation for young professionals in the Sri Lankan diaspora to do in-country development work. Now recruiting its third class.
  • CSS Major 50th Anniversary committee; Seattle Club member (WEServe lead); Alumni of Color volunteer; Reunion committees. 
  • Former President of Wesleyan Student Assembly and Student Trustee.
  • MBA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Forte Fellow.

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Kennedy Odede ’12

"When I was eighteen, I had a job in a factory where I performed hard labor—dangerous work-for $1 per day.  Without Wesleyan, this was going to be my entire life.  At 23-years-old my life changed forever: I was offered a full scholarship to Wesleyan University. 

What Wesleyan did for me defines the very highest potential of a liberal arts education. Wesleyan is a place that takes big risks—and allows you to do the same. At Wesleyan, students dare to hope, and this then creates more hope in the world.  Wesleyan produces thinkers and dreamers who say “yes” to new possibilities and challenges. Wesleyan has given me so much, and it is truly important to me that throughout my life I try to repay my incredible debt to Wesleyan.  If given a chance to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees, I will draw on my experience and connections to ensure Wesleyan continues to be an institution that takes chances to engage with the world, and proves again and again that it does not matter where you come from—only where you want to go."
  • Internationally recognized community organizer and social entrepreneur.  Founder of Shining Hope for Communities, largest grassroots organization in Kenyan slums.
  • Named to Forbes “30 Under 30” for top Social Entrepreneurs.  Recipient of fellowships from Echoing Green, the Aspen Institute and over 10 global awards for leadership.  
  • Member of the Clinton Global Initiative, featured for Outstanding Commitment to Action by President & Chelsea Clinton.
  • Writes opinion pieces that have appeared in The New York Times, CNN, and Project Sydicate; featured five times by Nicholas Kristof in the NYT.
  • Advisory board member for Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship
  • 2012 class commencement speaker. 

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