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Governor Ned Lamont


Governor Lamont Appoints Joann Ryan as Chair of Board of Regents, Names Juanita T. James and James McCarthy as Board Members

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced he is appointing JoAnn Ryan to serve as chair of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR), and Juanita T. James and James McCarthy to serve as board members. The BOR is the governing body for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system, which consists of four state universities, 12 community colleges, and Charter Oak State College.

Ryan has served as BOR vice chair since February and has been a member of the board since 2018. In addition to her service on the board, she is president and CEO of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. Ryan will succeed Matt Fleury as BOR chair. Fleury has served as chair since 2016 and has been a member of the BOR since 2011. His tenure ends on June 30, 2022.

“As leader of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, JoAnn has a tremendous amount of experience and strong connections to the business and education communities,” Governor Lamont said. “As vice chair of the Board of Regents, she has consistently demonstrated her support of higher education in the state of Connecticut and commitment to the 17 Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. In her new role as chair, she will be an asset to the board and CSCU system.”

“It is an honor to receive this appointment and a privilege to serve as Board of Regents chair,” Ryan said. “I look forward to working with Governor Lamont and President Cheng to ensure the CSCU system maintains its core mission of access, equity, and affordability for Connecticut’s students so they may succeed and graduate in a timely manner.”

“JoAnn’s dedication and strong relationship with educators, students and businesses is exactly the right experience and leadership style we need to ensure our 17 colleges and universities are in the position to help students succeed and gain a competitive edge in the workforce,” CSCU President Terrence Cheng said. “As board chair, JoAnn will continue to promote student success throughout the CSCU system and increase the number of students graduating college.”

President Cheng also recognized outgoing BOR Chair Fleury and Regents Budd and Jimenez.

“Matt’s leadership on the Board of Regents for the last six years has brought stability to CSCU and made our 17 institutions more accessible, affordable and equitable for Connecticut’s students,” Cheng said. “Matt has been a highly effective chair who has shepherded important policies – such as the merger of the 12 community colleges into Connecticut State Community College – to improve the college experience for our students. We are thankful for his tireless work and dedication to the CSCU system, and we will miss him greatly. CSCU is also better off thanks to the contributions of Aviva Budd and David Jimenez, both of whom have been intelligent, thoughtful, and dedicated board members; we will miss their perspectives going forward.”

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve as both a member and chair of the Board of Regents,” Fleury said. “I have had the opportunity to work with outstanding faculty, staff and students with the goal of making CSCU colleges and universities accessible and affordable to all students, regardless of their life experiences or background. I am proud of what we have accomplished in maintaining the highest quality educational options for our students.”

“Matt Fleury has led with integrity, compassion, and responsibility, always prioritizing the fiscal and community health of the CSCU system and its constituent units,” Governor Lamont added. “As a graduate of a community college, Charter Oak State College, and the University of Connecticut School of Business, Matt understands that transformational power of public higher education, and has put the needs of students at the center of his work. His leadership, intelligence, and dedication will be missed on the board.”

As new board chair, Ryan also serves on the BOR’s Finance and Infrastructure Committee and Human Resources and Administration Committee. She has been president and CEO of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce since 2002 and is first woman to hold that title since the Chamber’s inception in 1901. She was previously regional manager of Kelly Services, Inc., an adjunct faculty member of Naugatuck Valley and Northwestern Connecticut Community Colleges, a high school history and English teacher, and Torrington City Councilwoman. Since leading the Chamber, Ryan initiated numerous programs and serves on many boards and steering committees that touch health and human services, education, recreation, philanthropy, historic preservation, the arts, and business.

Ryan holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Albertus Magnus College and an Master of Arts in education from Trinity College.

Also appointed to the board are Juanita T. James, president and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation and James McCarthy, former interim provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Baruch College, The City University of New York. James’s term begins July 1, 2022, and McCarthy’s term begins immediately. They are replacing Regents Aviva Budd and David Jimenez.

New board member Juanita T. James, president and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, was previously chief marketing and communications office for Pitney Bowes and a member of the Chairman’s Council. She also spent a 20-year career with Time Warner and five years at Bertelsmann, holding several senior executive positions, including president of Time-Life Libraries.

James is vice chair of the Board of Trustees of Lesley University, trustee emerita of Princeton University, and a former trustee of the University of Connecticut. She is also on the Nominating and Governance Committee for Asbury Automotive Group and director for First County Bank. She was named a Savoy Magazine “Power 300 – Most Influential Black Corporate Directors” in 2015 and 2021, and a “2018 Most Influential Corporate Director” from Women Inc. She has received many honors including the League of Women Voters “Outstanding Women in Philanthropy Award,” NAACP “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut” award, and “Stamford Citizen of the Year.”

She earned a master’s degree in business policy from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. James also holds Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Mitchell College and Fairfield University, and an honorary associate degree in Humane Letters from Housatonic Community College.

Prior to his most recent appointment at Baruch, McCarthy also served as president of Suffolk University from 2012 to 2014. At Baruch, McCarthy was the distinguished lecturer and director of the Graduate Program in Higher Education Administration, the Marx School of Public and International Affairs; and from 2007 to 2012, was provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs and professor of public affairs. He also served as dean, School of Health and Human Services and professor of Health Management and Policy, University of New Hampshire; and as director of the Heilbrunn Center for Population and Family Health, and Heilbrunn Professor of Public Health at Columbia University. Earlier, he was a faculty member at The Johns Hopkins University, and a member of the research faculty at Princeton.

He holds a Ph.D. in sociology, Princeton University; an M.A. in sociology, Indiana University; and a B.A. sociology, College of the Holy Cross. McCarthy was born and raised in Waterbury, and has lived in Clinton for the past 15 years.

Governor Lamont added that he was pleased that new board members James and McCarthy accepted positions on the Board of Regents. “Juanita’s extensive experience in philanthropy and serving on boards of higher education, and Jim’s deep knowledge and experience in higher education will benefit CSCU in ensuring our students have rewarding academic experiences,” the governor said.

“I am happy to welcome these new Regents to the CSCU system,” President Cheng said. “Their professional backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives will be an asset to the important work the board does in support of CSCU’s 17 colleges and universities.”

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