Deborah Jensen Barker Named Chair of the Bowdoin Board of Trustees; Three Others Named Trustees

Deborah Jensen Barker ’80, P’16

Deborah Jensen Barker ’80

The Bowdoin College Board of Trustees elected Deborah Jensen Barker ’80, P’16 to serve a three-year term as chair during meetings held May 10-11, 2013, on campus. Barker, of Short Hills, N.J., is the first woman to serve as board chair at Bowdoin. She succeeds Steve Gormley ’72, who will remain on the board.

Trustees also approved three new members, re-elected five trustees, approved a new budget, appointed a new faculty member with tenure, and approved the election of trustees and faculty to emeritus status

The board elected Peter J. Bernard ’79, Andrew E. Serwer ’81 and Mary Tydings Smith ’78 trustees for a term of five years, effective July 1, 2013.

After graduating from Bowdoin, Barker earned her MBA at Harvard and worked in finance for years, including as a managing director in investment banking for Prudential Securities. She has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including The Pingry School, New Jersey SEEDS, Student/Partner Alliance and the Grand Teton National Park Foundation’s Resource Council.

Barker joined Bowdoin’s board of trustees in 1999 and was co-chair of The Bowdoin Campaign, the College’s five-year fundraising effort that concluded in 2009 having raised $293 million for the academic program, student life and financial aid. Barker’s son Lee is a member of the Class of 2016.

(Top to bottom:) Peter J. Bernard ’79, Andrew E. Serwer ’81,Mary Tydings Smith ’78.

(Top to bottom) Peter J. Bernard ’79, Andrew E. Serwer ’81, Mary Tydings Smith ’78.

Peter J. Bernard, of Sherborn, Mass., serves as a managing director and Chief Risk Officer for the D.E. Shaw Group, a global investment and technology development firm headquartered in New York City. Bernard previously served as CFO and executive director of RiskMetrics, a vendor and creator of risk management technology; and as president of New Bond Trading, an investment management company in Boston.

Bernard has served on the College’s Investment and Reunion Gift committees, and as an associate class agent. Bernard’s son Andrew is a member of the Class of 2011; uncles Roger Sullivan and Richard Sullivan Jr., and a grandfather, Richard Sullivan, are alumni as well.

Andrew E. Serwer, of New York City, is managing editor of Fortune magazine. He is a regular contributor on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CNBC’s Squawk Box, and from 2001 to 2006, served as the business anchor for CNN’s American Morning. In 2010, Serwer published Starting Over: Why the Last Decade Was So Damn Rotten and Why the Next One Will Surely Be Better.

Serwer is currently chair of the Alumni Council’s Communications Committee; he previously served on the Reunion Gift Committee, and has visited campus as a Reunion and Common Hour speaker. Serwer’s daughter Emily is a member of the Class of 2016.

Mary Tydings Smith, of Easton, Md., a managing director at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates, Inc., serves as a senior advisor to the firm’s nonprofit sector, and works with major national and international foundations, non-governmental organizations, cultural institutions and higher educational institutions to recruit presidents, chief executives and to advise board leadership on issues including governance and succession planning.

Smith spent several years as an editor and reporter for the Mutual Broadcasting System before joining The Larry King Show as a producer. She also worked inside the White House during the Clinton administration in the Office of Presidential Personnel. Smith is a member of the Board of the Campaign for the Prevention of Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Smith has served as president of the College’s Alumni Club, as a class agent, and on the Reunion Gift Committee. Smith’s son Benjamin is a member of the Class of 2009.

Trustees re-elected Jane L. Pinchin P’01; Linda Horvitz Roth ’76, P’13; Geoffrey Claflin Rusack ’78, P’13; John J. Studzinski ’78 and David P. Wheeler ’74, P’07, P’15 for five-year board terms, effective July 1.

Trustees also appointed David B. Carlon Associate Professor of Biology, with tenure, effective July 1.

Five retiring faculty members were elected to emeritus status. Ronald L. Christensen was elected James Stacy Coles Professor of Natural Sciences Emeritus; Linda J. Docherty was elected Associate Professor of Art History Emerita; Edward P. Laine was elected Associate Professor of Earth and Oceanographic Science Emeritus; Rosemary A. Roberts was elected Professor of Mathematics Emerita; and William C. VanderWolk was elected Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Professor of Modern Languages Emeritus.

Three board retirees — William E. Chapman II ’63; Dennis J. Hutchinson ’69, P’03; and D. Ellen Shuman ’76 — were elected to emeritus status in recognition of their devoted service to the College.


  1. Tracy Burlock says:

    Hallelujah! Seats at the table are wonderful, but the head of the table is best of all. Go Deb!

  2. Nancy Bellhouse May says:

    Congratulations, Deb!

  3. Fredrick Orkin says:

    It may be understandable, if not expected, that the majority of trustee appointees might be highly monied, if not within the financial-services industry, in a time of a growing bubble in college growth and costs (think dot-com and housing bubbles). Where are those whose distinguished careers did not involve wealth creation, particularly of a personal sort? Where are those who arguably have made greater contributions to a better society through their work in the arts, (public-interest) law, social welfare, education, medical and health sciences, engineering, and social and natural sciences?

  4. Jordan Van Voast says:

    Congratulations Debra. Now please do the right thing and lead the College back to the moral high ground by divesting from fossil fuels now.

  5. Michael owens says:

    Congratulations Deb wishing tremendous success at the helm of our beloved Alma Mater.

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