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The Changing Face of the Board of Trustees

The Changing Face of the Board of Trustees

A Graceful Transition 

Ginger Gore Giovale 

At the Board of Trustees meeting on March 31, 2006, Ginger Gore Giovale announced her decision to retire after Commencement this year. Ginger has been serving as chair of the board for the past 18 years, having been initially appointed as a trustee in 1977. She is among the longest continuously serving trustees in Westminster’s history.

In an email she sent to the campus, she explained her decision: “We have a strong president who is a visionary leader and a transformational strategic plan that sets out a path to a very bright future….This is a good time…for me to retire….Our board has many talented leaders ready to help Michael take Westminster to the next level. I’ve decided to devote more time to building our new house, family, and other pursuits I’ve put off.” While her retirement is understandable, the community was saddened to hear the news.

Ginger and her family’s generosity to Westminster is well known, with the most recent gift from Ginger and her husband, John, being the largest one in the school’s history: 10 million dollars toward the construction of a new science center and an endowed faculty chair in science. (Read more about this on p. 21). But it has also been her fair-minded and enthusiastic leadership as chair of the Board of Trustees for which she will be remembered.

During her tenure on the board, Westminster changed from a very small college with quaint but outdated facilities serving traditional-aged students to a nationally ranked, comprehensive liberal arts college with a state-of-the-art physical plant serving a diverse group of students—undergraduate and graduate, traditional-aged and adult, commuter and residential, professional and liberal arts.

Her commitment to creating opportunities for people to grow and realize their dreams at a college that values the individual and the interaction between students and faculty has been the constant in her leadership and in her support. In some odd way, it really hasn’t mattered to Ginger who the administrators or the staff or the faculty or the students have been, exactly. It is the idea and the ideal of a Westminster education that have been her passion. And she has supported all of us over the years by remaining true to that vision.

Several years ago at a Gore Endowment Trust meeting, she and two other trustees were listening intently to several faculty and students report on the progress they had made on their Gore Summer Research Grants. Ginger was as captivated by the presentations and the conversation as her mother, Vieve Gore, had been decades before. While Ginger was interested in the subjects and projects, mostly she was excited to see faculty and students who had been encouraged to follow their own passions and dreams and to continue learning.

How fortunate we all have been to have benefited from Ginger’s steadiness, strength, leadership, compassion, and generosity for so many years, and how pleased we should be for her as she continues her life’s adventure. Reassuringly for all of us, Ginger’s love and commitment to the college will not end with her retirement. As she said in her letter, “I will miss all of my friends here at Westminster. I plan to stay connected to the college in several ways, not least of which is seeing to the successful completion of the Science Center. You can be sure that my heart and support will always be there.”

Thank you, Ginger. 

A Passion for Westminster 

When an institution such as Westminster College searches for new members to join its highly regarded Board of Trustees, there are many qualities college officials seek.

Most importantly, candidates must possess a passion for the vision and mission of the college. They must also offer fresh insights and perspectives on the strategic direction of the institution.

Westminster officials have found those qualities in the six new trustees appointed in recent months. Three are alumni of the college, one is the parent of a current student, and all have a passion for Westminster.

Even before these new trustees were appointed, the face of Westminster’s Board of Trustees was beginning to change. Two long-term board members, Lon Watson and Peter Behrens, passed away earlier this year.

Nick Rose

Nick Rose, a long-term board member and former CEO of Questar, offered his resignation effective June 2006. A widely recognized community leader, Rose served on the Westminster Board of Trustees for 15 years, eight of them as vice chair. “It was a natural thing,” said trustee Susan Glassman, describing his affiliation with Westminster. Because Rose had been an advocate of higher education, Westminster was the next logical place to put his energies. His experience as CEO of Questar, his strong collaborative style, and his integrity have benefited Westminster on many levels. Adept at leadership, he is equally comfortable as a member of the team, able to offer his thoughts while allowing room for other opinions.

Glassman noted, “His strongest ability is in assessing the skills and abilities of others, which is a huge benefit for any board. He has helped direct numerous new trustees, as he did with me, in ways that would allow them to hone their skills while at the same time put their talents to good use.” Nick has had great faith in Westminster’s vision and has been a tireless trustee, always giving 110 percent.

Community leader and trustee, Byron Russell, also resigned earlier in the year to pursue other opportunities.

Commenting on the recent changes to the board, Westminster President Michael Bassis remarked, “The type of board members a college can attract is a true mark of institutional health and the strength of its reputation. In that sense, Westminster is very fortunate. I am proud that our board is an accomplished and vibrant group of thinkers who are not only passionate about Westminster and its students but are extremely dedicated to the college’s success and future.”

One such Westminster trustee is Anthony Sweet who, in addition to his full-time job as the CEO of Sweet Candy Company, chairs the Trustee Affairs Committee, the group responsible for researching and identifying possible new board members who are leaders in their communities and interested in the success of Westminster.

“Selecting someone to become a part of the leadership at Westminster is a complex process integrating many factors. Simply being outstanding in a professional sense is not enough to warrant an invitation for membership to the Board of Trustees. We very carefully consider whether the person has the ability to serve the needs of Westminster and its students,” remarked Sweet. He added, “Recognition of the importance of private higher education to society and willingness to commit and invest in Westminster are also qualities we look for in a trustee.”

Jeanne Ambruster

Jeanne received her bachelor’s degree from Pitzer College and went on to complete a neuroscience fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco Medical School. After her schooling, Jeanne joined W.L. Gore and Associates and worked in their regenerative technologies division. She then became the vice president of Interleukin Genetics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jeanne is now the CEO and founder of The Avenues Company, a business development organization that focuses on the healthcare industry. Jeanne and her husband, David Sherry, live in Flagstaff, Arizona. Her son, Ty, is a student at Westminster College.

Thomas Eastwood

Tom is a graduate of the University of Utah and was an executive in the automotive industry for 26 years. He officially retired from Nissan Motor Corporation USA in 1998, but retirement for Tom included launching an automotive-buying service website and serving as a business development consultant for the Chicago-based firm, Centiv Inc. Tom and his wife Laurie currently live in Park City, Utah.

Bing Fang (MBA ’88)

Bing received his MBA from Westminster College in 1988. He is the president of AMT Labs, which manufactures vitamins and nutraceutical products. Under Bing’s leadership, AMT Labs received the “Utah 100” Award three years in a row for being one of the fastest-growing companies in the state. Bing, his wife Judy (MBA ’99), and their two children live in Bountiful, Utah.

Robert Garda

Bob received his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his MBA from Harvard. Bob worked for the international management firm, McKinsey & Company, for 27 years. Throughout his career, Bob published dozens of articles on pricing, marketing, sales management, and segmentation; has lived and worked in Switzerland, Spain, and Australia; and has served on two corporate boards as well as various advisory boards for Duke. Bob received the Federal Government’s Urban Mass Transit Administrator’s Award for “Outstanding Public Service” for his work as the interim CEO of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. He is currently an executive-in-residence at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke. Bob and his wife, Annie Lewis, live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Park City, Utah.

Colleen Kearns McCann (’90)

Colleen received a dual degree in marketing and economics from Westminster College in 1990. After working for several years for Ascent Partners Group, a venture capital company, she now works in the real estate industry. She has spearheaded many fund-raising efforts for community development organizations in Seattle, Washington, where she lives with her husband, Byron, and their daughter.

Carter Stinton (’80)

Carter graduated from Westminster in 1980 with a degree in business administration. After graduation, Carter worked at Weyerhaeuser Corporation out of Salt Lake, and then moved to Portland, Oregon, to manage sales for Hampton Lumber Company, where he has been for over 20 years. Carter and his wife, Leianne (’81), have two children. 

Westminster Mourns Passing Of Long-Time Friends and Board Members

While Westminster College enthusiastically welcomes the new members of our Board of Trustees, we simultaneously mourn the passing of two long-time friends and invaluable members of our Board, Lon Watson and Peter Behrens.

Alonzo Wallace Watson, Jr.

Alonzo Wallace “Lon” Watson, Jr. (1922–2005)

Alonzo “Lon” Watson, a 30-year member of Westminster College’s Board of Trustees and prominent community leader, passed away on October 26, 2005. His leadership will be sadly missed. President Bassis remarked, “There have been few people in the long history of the college who have been stronger or more effective advocates. I was deeply saddened by the news Lon Watson had passed away. For more than 30 years, Lon was a member of the Westminster College Board of Trustees. Lon made a difference in the lives of countless students through his active involvement and dedication as a member of the Board of Trustees His work on the Board helped Westminster become the college we are so proud of today.”

Mr. Watson and his family also had a meaningful impact on many students through the establishment and support of the Koch/Watson Woman’s Board Scholarship. This scholarship, established to honor Helen Koch, his wife Mary’s mother, as well as both Mary and Lon Watson, has had made a Westminster College education possible for many deserving students. The Lon Watson Board Room, funded by his many friends, was named in his honor in recognition of his long-time commitment to Westminster College.

He received his BA from the University of Utah in 1943, his BSFS from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1947, and his JD from the University of Utah in 1950. He had been a member of the law firm of Ray Quinney and Nebeker since 1962, specializing in corporate law, and also served as chairman of the firm. Mr. Watson was a long standing active member of many well-recognized foundations and enjoyed his role in helping many worthwhile causes in the state. At the time of his death, Mr. Watson served as a member of the George & Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and was instrumental in obtaining numerous grants for Westminster from the foundation.

Peter Behrens with wife, Dagmar

Peter Behrens (1927–2005)

Peter Behrens, 30-year member of Westminster College’s Board of Trustees, well-known business leader, and respected scientist and engineer passed away on November 25, 2005. President Bassis noted, “Peter’s long-time dedication to Westminster College over the past 30 years will not soon be forgotten. His support, wise counsel, and commitment to Westminster’s success helped our college through its most financially insecure times. His enthusiasm for the type of education we give our students was unwavering, and his memory will live long here at Westminster.”

Mr. Behrens emigrated from Germany in 1966 and the following year founded Great Salt Lake Minerals. His innovative ideas, hard work, and understanding of the nature of Great Salt Lake transformed it into a viable resource for Utah. He was also the creator of Behren’s Trench in Gunnison Bay of Great Salt Lake.

Mr. Behrens was born April 25, 1927, in Bochum, Germany. He is survived by his widow, Dagmar; sons, Philip and Konrad; daughter, Barbara; and a sister and brother.