capa courtyard

Board of Trustees

2019-2020 Board of Trustees

Officers of the Board of Trustees

Nicholas A. Stephens, Chair
Barbara U. Deane, Vice Chair
James S. Simon, Vice Chair
Brian Murphy, Treasurer
Paige Bartels, Secretary

Richard Ader founded U.S. Realty Advisors, LLC in October, 1989 and has been in the corporate real estate net lease industry since 1968. He serves as Chairman of the company and is the Chief Investment Officer and portfolio manager. He is one of the pioneers in the field of corporate sale-leaseback transactions and a leading authority on the subject. Previously, he was Chairman of the Board and CEO of American Real Estate Partners, a New York Stock Exchange listed master limited partnership consisting of net lease real estate. US Realty Advisors currently has $3 billion of assets under management and is investing for its current institutional net lease fund which has $350 million of equity to invest. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a degree in Banking and Finance. He was All Conference in basketball and member of the University's Athletic Hall of Fame. He serves on the Board of the University of Vermont Foundation and is Chairman of the Advisory Board to the College of Arts and Sciences. Richard also serves on the Boards of the Southern Vermont Health Care System, the USTA Foundation, and the Owners and Builders Division of the Real Estate Board of New York. Richard previously served on the Board of Women's Sports Foundation. He is also the Owner of the Bennington Tennis Center, which he developed in 2010.

Priscilla Alexander received her BA from Bennington College in 1958 and an MFA from Columbia University in 1964. She is the founder and former president of Protravel International, Inc., which she established in 1984. Today one of the nation’s largest agencies specializing in high-end trips, Protravel is a diversified travel company that ranks among the top 20 agencies in the United States and first in the luxury market. Priscilla is a leader in the industry and serves on many prestigious advisory boards for leading travel organizations and publications. She has been a trustee of the College since 2001.

Tracy Katsky Boomer graduated from Bennington in 1991 with a degree in Drama. Tracy is a veteran Hollywood development executive who launched her own production company, KatCo., in March 2014 in conjunction with Aaron Kaplan at Kapital Entertainment. Previously, Tracy was an Executive Producer with Deedle Dee Productions, a production owned by Greg Daniels which is best known for producing long-running series King of the Hill, The Office, and Parks and Recreation. Prior to that, Tracy was Senior Vice President of Development and Original Programming for Nickelodeon for four years. She has also held the positions of Senior Vice President of Development at HBO Independent Productions, Senior Vice President of Comedy at Fox Broadcasting, and Senior Vice President and Head of Comedy at Regency TV, where she was responsible for comedy projects including the series Malcolm in the Middle. Tracy and her husband, Linwood Boomer, a Canadian-American television producer, writer, and actor, have two daughters as well as two sons from his previous marriage. 

Susan Paris Borden entered Bennington College in 1965. After attending Bennington, she extended her undergraduate interest in economics and energy policy by becoming a senior energy fellow at the Aspen Institute. Today, Susan is vice chairman of the Bumper Group of Companies, a private investment firm with offices in Canada, France, Bermuda, and the United States. The company explores for and produces oil and natural gas, develops real estate in Europe, and makes venture capital investments in technology, biomedicine, and education. In the mid-1980s, Borden revived a lifelong interest in the neurosciences and psychology and has, for more than a decade, been a member of the board of trustees for the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego. Susan joined the Bennington College Board of Trustees in 1978, since which time she has served the College in several capacities, including Chairman of the Board. Susan has five stepchildren and nine grandchildren; her eldest granddaughter received her BA from Bennington in 2001 and completed Bennington’s MAT program in 2002.

Suzanne Brundage is a director for the Children’s Health Initiative Program. Formerly a health policy analyst at the United Hospital Fund, a nonprofit health services research organization and philanthropic organization whose primary mission is to shape positive change in health care for the people of New York. In this capacity she examines and supports innovations that improve the performance of the health system, particularly in how it serves traditionally under-served and at-risk populations. Prior to working at the United Hospital Fund she was the Assistant Director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. She has published on a range of health issues including HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, the World Health Organization, and the provision of healthcare in developing countries. She has also worked with Catholic AIDS Action in Katutura, Namibia, with Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH, and Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts. Suzanne earned a B.A. in 2008 from Bennington College and earned a Masters of Science degree from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2014.

Matthew Clarke is an architect, urban planner and writer, is the National Director of Creative Placemaking for the Trust for Public Land. Formerly a Design Associate at SHoP Architects PC where he specialized in lar-scale planning and development projects in New York City. Prior to joining SHoP, Matthew worked in Mayor Bloomberg’s administration managing cultural capital projects around the city for the Department of Cultural Affairs, the largest funder of culture in America. A native of Lexington, KY he has served as a planning advisor to its Mayor, Jim Gray. In other capacities, Matthew has worked on architecture projects that range from campus student centers to progressive playgrounds for Stan Allen Architect, LTL Architects, and Jeffrey Inaba. Matthew has been a trustee of AIA/NY and the Center for Architecture.. Matthew was the Henry Young III Fellow at Princeton University – where he received his MArch and Urban Policy certificate from the Woodrow Wilson School – the 2011 KPF Fellowship winner, and a Gaines Fellow at the University of Kentucky, where he graduated with a BA in Humanities and Architecture.

Barbara Ushkow Deane, vice chair, is a 1951 graduate of Bennington; she earned her MBA from Adelphi University. She is a retired interior designer and president of the Ushkow Foundation in New York City. Additionally, she is a trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the North Shore Hospital Health Network. She has served on the art committee of Hebrew Union College. She has been a trustee of Bennington College since 1975.

Bill Derrough is a managing director and co-head of the Recapitalization & Restructuring Group at Moelis & Company. He has been in the investment banking industry for 20 years. From 1998 until joining Moelis & Company in July 2008, he co-founded and co-headed the Recapitalization & Restructuring Group at Jefferies & Company. Prior to joining Jefferies, Derrough was a principal with the San Francisco-based private investment firm of  Doyle & Boissiere for one year, where he was responsible for identifying and executing controlling equity investments in underperforming companies and assisting them in their operational turnarounds. Bill sits on the board of directors for The American Bankruptcy Institute, the largest multi-disciplinary, non- partisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency, as well as Lambda Legal, a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. He formerly served on the boards of Strategic Partners, Inc.; Scott Cable Communications, Inc.; and Maitri, a San Francisco-based non-profit AIDS hospice, for which he also served as board treasurer. Derrough received his BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Michael Hecht attended Bronx High School of Science and received his BBA from the City College of New York in 1958. He is a CPA and the president of the certified public accounting firm Hecht and Company, PC. He also serves on the board of the City University of New York’s Graduate Center Foundation and the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. Additionally, Michael is an officer and Director of the Nancy Graves Foundation, the Lucille Lortel Foundation, the Al Held Foundation and the Trisha Brown Dance Company, of which he is treasurer. Michael has been a trustee since 1991.

Nejla Katica is originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). She graduated from Bennington in 2018 and pursued concentrations in Architecture, Public Action, Anthropology, and Visual Arts. Greatly shaped by her roots and the fact that she came in the largest international class to Bennington, her interdisciplinary studies greatly focused on the study of institutions, including the ones she was a part of herself.  During her time at Bennington, she completed five FWTs in the United States and abroad, and was also selected to participate in Bennington's Museum Term Fellowship at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. Currently, she works as the Marketing Associate for Centerforce Conferences, a New York based firm focused on creating interactive experiences to engage IP law industry thought leaders in educational and networking opportunities by employing insightful content.

John J. Kenney received his BA from St. Michael’s College and his JD from Fordham University. Currently a partner at Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney, LLP. Formerly a trial lawyer and partner of Engel, McCarney & Kenney, he was a partner in the firm of Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett from 1981 until 2005, specializing in complex civil and criminal litigation. A trustee of Bennington College since 1999, John is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (Corporate Governance and Compliance; White Collar Criminal Defense). He is the former president of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and of the Federal Bar Council and has served as the Chair of the Criminal Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. In addition, John serves as a director of both the Citizens Crime Commission of the City of New York and of the American Association for the International Commission of Jurists, Inc. He and his wife, Charlotte, live in Bronxville, New York, and have one son.

Alan Kornberg entered Bennington in 1970 and studied social science as a member of the class of 1974; he received his AB, magna cum laude, from Brandeis University in 1974 and his JD from New York University in 1977. A practicing attorney, he is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, a major law firm in New York City, where he serves as chair of the Bankruptcy Department and as a member of the firm's Management Committee. Beyond his casework, Alan serves as the Second Circuit Regent of the American College of Bankruptcy and is the chair of the Committee on Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Alan has been a trustee of Bennington College since 2004, and was chairman from 2011-2019. He lives in New York City.

Asad J. Malik graduated from Bennington in 2019. He is an Augmented Reality director and artist. His work is rooted in what he calls “cultural augmentation” — a displacement of holograms that allows viewers to access what their environment would regard as contentious, controversial opinions. His studio’s groundbreaking AR project Terminal 3 premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year and was critically acclaimed in publications such as the New York Times, The Guardian and Fast Company. It has since been exhibited at prestigious art centers such as the Barbican in London. His most recent project A Jester’s Tale premiered at the Sundance film festival and featured Android-esque pop start Poppy. It was called the best AR at Sundance by the Verge. Asad was named one of Adweek’s Young Influentials for 2019 and also made The Independent’s Filmmaker to Watch list.

Daniel Rowland is a retired professor of history at the University of Kentucky. He has published numerous articles on early modern Russia, and his current projects include an investigation of rituals, art, and architecture in the throne rooms of Russia. He earned his PhD from Yale. He currently splits his time between Kentucky and Maine.

Ellen Safir graduated from Bennington in 1966 and is the Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer of New Century Advisors in Chevy Chase, MD. Ellen is responsible for the overall investment and business strategies. An early adopter of Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), she has helped advance the firm's reputation as an expert in inflation-linked securities. Ellen's personal expertise in the fixed income markets also extends to the emerging market and high-yield sectors, as well as to traditional fixed income sectors. Her prior experience includes serving for 16 years as Managing Director of Fixed Income & Currencies at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a nonprofit medical research organization and one of the nation’s largest philanthropies. There, she was a pioneer in developing “core plus,” now a commonly accepted strategy that employs a broad opportunity set within portfolios. Before joining HHMI, Ellen was Assistant Treasurer of the American National Red Cross, where she managed operating reserves and oversaw the organization's retirement system and endowment portfolios. She began her career as a Financial Analyst at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC. Ellen is Vice Chair of the Investment Committee of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, is Board Member & Development Chair of Horizons Greater Washington, and serves on the Finance Committee of the Foundation for Advanced Education in Science at the National Institutes of Health. She is a past President of the Washington Society of Investment Analysts and the Washington Association of Money Managers, and formerly served on the Board of Directors of Century National Bank of Washington, DC and of AARP Mutual Funds, where she was Chair of the Investment Committee. She moderated an Economic Outlook panel discussion for the CFA Institute in 2015 and recently attended the 100 Women in Finance Gala in NYC. Ellen studied Social Science at Bennington and received her MBA from George Washington University.

Mary Scanlan is the co-owner and CEO of Woody Creek Distillery and is also a longtime small business owner in Basalt, CO. At Woody Creek Distillers, Mary oversees architecture, design, retails and tasting room operations, as well as marketing and events. 
Mary studied photography and art history at Bennington for two years, then graduated from Drake University with a B.A. in Art History. Mary contributes her time and energy to several nonprofit organizations in the Aspen Valley, as well as serving on the board of directors of the Aspen Country Day School, Aspen Community Foundation, Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, and Loomis Chaffee School. She formerly served as chair of the board of Anderson Ranch Arts Center.

Charlene Solow Schwartz graduated from Bennington in 1954 with a degree in social sciences. She wrote her thesis on the College’s finances and argued that the College’s fiscal health was not stable and needed a healthy endowment in order to survive. She tells the story of President Leigh attending her thesis presentation and arguing against her. Charlene later studied at Columbia University, graduating with her Master of Science degree in 1957. Charlene is President of Solow Inc., which has owned and operated hotels and restaurants for over 30 years. Most recently her company is managing and building Marriott Hotels in Philadelphia. Charlene was the first female franchisee of the Marriott Corporation and Applebee’s Restaurants. She joined the Board of Trustees in 2013.

Kimberly A. Scott is a Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Department at Arizona State University (ASU) and Founder/Executive Director of ASU’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST).  Founded by Kim, the center is a one-of-a-kind research unit focused on exploring, identifying, and creating innovative scholarship about underrepresented girls in science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM). She is also an Affiliate Faculty in George Mason University’s Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity located in Fairfax, Virginia.  Trained as a sociologist of education and childhoods, Kim’s interdisciplinary work examines girls’ of color (African American, Native American, Latina) social and academic development in informal spaces and their technosocial innovations. Prior to becoming an academic, she worked as an urban educator with international and national institutions including a center for girls in Chiang Mai Thailand; the Educational Law Center in Newark, New Jersey; and the National Museum of African Art-Smithsonian. She earned her B.A. from Smith College in Art History and French Literature, an M.S. from Long Island University in Curriculum and Instruction/Elementary Education, her Ed.D. from Rutgers University in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education, and completed at Harvard’s Business School the High Potentials Leadership Program.

Jonathan Marc Sherman is a playwright and actor whose plays include Clive; Knickerbocker; Things We Want; Evolution; Wonderful Time; Sons & Fathers; Sophistry; Veins & Thumbtacks; Women & Wallace; and Serendipity & Serenity. He co-founded Malaparte, and is a member of LAByrinth. Jonathan studied drama at Bennington and graduated in 1990. He is married to film producer and director Alexandra Shiva. His hobby is writing about himself in the third person.

Jim Simon, vice chair, graduated from Bennington with his BA in American Studies in 1997 and the University of Akron School of Law in 2000 with his JD, magna cum laude. In law school, he was managing editor of the Akron Law Review. After graduation, Jim joined the northeast Ohio law firm, Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC. From 2003 - 2006, he served the Summit County Engineer as Director of Administration, responsible for financial administration, labor relations, and IT. He rejoined the Firm in 2007 and became a partner in the real estate, public law and business practice groups in 2009.  A lifelong resident of Akron, he serves on several boards and commissions, including ideastream (a not-for-profit multiple-media public service organization serving the communities of Northeast Ohio) and the Standing Commission on Constitution & Canons of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Jim was a recent graduate trustee from 1997 – 1999 and rejoined the Bennington Board as a trustee in 2000.

Nick Stephens, chair, graduated from Bennington in 1977 with a degree in Literature. While there he studied with Bill Dixon, Alan Cheuse, Nick Delbanco, Alvin Feinman, and Claude Fredericks. After several years working in New York City, he attended Columbia Business School where he received his MBA in Finance in 1981. Following a brief stint in consulting with Coopers & Lybrand, Nick joined Edgewood Management Company (now Edgewood Management LLC) in 1984 and continues to work there today, having become a Portfolio Manager in 1987 and a Partner in 1993. He is a member of Edgewood’s Investment Committee. Nick has been on the board of Bennington since 2015, serving as Chairman of the Investment Committee, Vice-Chairman and now Board Chairman. He is Chairman of the Board of the Greater NY Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, having served on that board since 2006. Nick has also served as President of The Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe, and as Treasurer of the Bronxville School Foundation. Other previous community involvements include board and investment committee member of Lawrence Hospital Center in Bronxville, co-head of the Investment Committee of the Reformed Church of Bronxville, board and investment committee member of the Bronxville Historical Conservancy, and investment committee member of Sarah Lawrence College. Nick was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1954 and raised in Summit, New Jersey. He met his wife, Lisa Kunstadter, at Columbia Business School. They have two adult sons and have resided in Bronxville, NY since 1986.

Catharine Stimpson, one of the pioneers in the study of women and gender, a founder of feminist criticism, is also known for her role as a public intellectual and her public service, which includes her wide-ranging writing on the humanities, liberal arts, and the university. She is University Professor and Dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University and is an affiliated member of the NYU Law School Faculty. From January, 1994, to October, 1997, she served as Director of the Fellows Program at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. Simultaneously, she was on leave from her position as University Professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, where, from 1986-1992, she was also Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education. Before going to Rutgers, she taught at Barnard College, where she was also the first director of its Women’s Center. The author of a novel, Class Notes (1979, 1980), the editor of seven books, she has also published over 150 monographs, essays, stories, and reviews in such places as Transatlantic Review, Nation, New York Times Book Review, Critical Inquiry, and boundary 2. Born in Bellingham, Washington, she was educated at Bryn Mawr College, Cambridge University, and Columbia University. She holds honorary degrees from numerous Colleges and Universities, and has also won Fulbright and Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships. 

Penelope Perkins Wilson graduated from Chatham Hall and studied architecture at Bennington between 1941 and 1943. After Bennington, she taught art at Westtown Friends School in Pennsylvania and Union Settlement in New York; she has done extensive work in historic building renovations and now owns The Grand, a hotel in Big Timber, Montana. An active volunteer, she currently serves as chairperson of the board of trustees for Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia and vice chairman of the board of the Glynwood Center in New York. She also serves on the boards of Chatham Hall in Virginia and the Montana History Foundation. She has been involved with organizations in the area of Pennsylvania in which she lives. She has sat on the boards of the Chester County Hospital, the Chester County Art Association, and the Open Land Conservancy of Chester County. In 2002, she received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Moore College of Art & Design for her work on their board; she was elected to that college’s board of managers in 1973. In 2005, Bennington honored Penelope, who has been a trustee of the College since 1986, with the Hudas Schwartz Liff ’47 Award, established in 1985 to annually acknowledge a dedicated alumna/us for exceptional volunteer service. She lives in Malvern, Pennsylvania.