Five New Members Named to Board of Trustees
- By Jon Reidel
Three legislative trustees, a medical student and a gubernatorial appointee have been named to the UVM Board of Trustees for terms that started March 1.
The new legislative trustees, elected by the Vermont General Assembly to six-year terms, are Jeff Wilson, Sarah Buxton and Anne O’Brien. They succeed Harry Chen, Donna Sweaney and Jeanette White while Carolyn Dwyer, who was appointed to a six-year term by Governor Shumlin, succeeds Jeff Davis. New student trustee Raj Thakrar was selected to a two-year term by the Associated Directors for the Appointment of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College Student Trustees, Inc., to succeed Kyle DeVivo.
Robert Cioffi was re-elected to another one-year term as chair of the Board of Trustees at a special board meeting on March 11. Deborah McAneny was elected vice chair and Joan Lenes was elected secretary in February with their one-year appointments having started on March 1.
Wilson, a Democrat from Manchester, Vt., joined the Nashville & Eastern Railroad (NERR) and Nashville & Western Railroad (NWR) management team in 2003 after working for 26 years in state and local government, including 17 as town manager of Manchester. He’s currently vice president for administrative services at NERR and previously served as president of NWR. Wilson is on the board of directors for both railroads and is part owner of NWR and Transit Solutions Group, a commuter rail operating company. He received his bachelor's in political science from UMASS-Dartmouth in 1977 and a master of public administration degree from Suffolk University in 1981. He serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Buxton, a democrat from Tunbridge, Vt., has strong ties to Vermont, having graduated from Fair Haven Union High School, UVM and Vermont Law School. After graduating from UVM in 2000, she worked in Governor Howard Dean’s executive office before joining the senior staff of his presidential campaign. Since 2004, Buxton has worked at the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., managed a successful congressional campaign in Ohio, and worked as a staff assistant to Rep. Marcy Kaptur. She is a member of the Vermont Bar Association; the Justice for Children Task Force; a founding member of Building a Local Economy, Inc.; and member of the Gifford Hospital Auxiliary and the Tunbridge Church. She works at Vermont Law School and represents the towns of Royalton and Tunbridge while serving on the House Committee on Education.
O’Brien, a Democrat from Richmond, Vt., is a health care clinical consultant and owns Sweet Hearts of Vermont, a small business that produces 100 percent pure maple candy hearts for weddings and events. She previously worked as a visiting nurse; as executive director and founding member of the Vermont Council for Quality; and was a faculty member in Extension at UVM, also serving on the Faculty Senate. O’Brien has deep roots in the state having graduated from Champlain Valley Union High School, UVM in 1982 with bachelor’s in nursing, and St. Michael’s College in 1992 with a master of science in administration. She has served on the founding boards of the Vermont Human Resource Investment Council; Vermont Council for Quality; and is a founding board member and secretary of the Richmond Community Senior Center Board. She has also served on the Richmond Board of Civil Authority and is currently a member of the Richmond Economic Development Committee. O’Brien is on the House Committee on Appropriations.
Dwyer is a management consultant who has owned her own practice for 12 years, providing strategic, fundraising and management services to federal and state political candidates, political committees, non-profits and businesses. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain and previously served as executive director of Kids Voting Vermont; deputy director of the Women’s Leadership Forum; education specialist for Hogan & Hartson; and as a research assistant for the Illinois Board of Higher Education. She received a bachelor's of arts from Alverno College in 1990 and a master’s of public administration from George Washington University in 1995.
Thakrar, an M.D. candidate at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, has been actively involved in scientific research since receiving a bachelor's in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University, where he contributed to the field of peripheral nerve regeneration. He also spent a year in Dr. Robert S. Langer’s prestigious biomedical laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he investigated a novel therapy for Type 1 diabetes using transplant surgery. During his first semester at UVM, he collaborated with Dr. Houman D. Hemmati, an ophthalmologist at Fletcher Allen Health Care, and devised a new treatment protocol for Recurrent Corneal Erosion Syndrome, a debilitating and painful eye condition. Thakrar received a master's in physiology and biophysics from Georgetown University and is co-founder of JT Productions, a disc jockey company based in Massachusetts.