During its August meeting, the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors elected Georgene M. Vairo ’72 chairwoman. Andrew C. Benjamin was elected vice chair and Marianne “Mimi” C. Fahs ’71 was named secretary. Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, was confirmed as a new board member.
Kelley M. Fitzpatrick ’85, Karen Jackson, Gillian Munson and Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp ’68 were named to the board’s At-Large Executive Committee.
Vairo has been the David P. Leonard Professor of Law at Loyola of Los Angeles Law School since 1995. Since 2007, she also has served as president of Auswin Realty Corp., a family-owned residential and commercial real estate firm in New York City. Prior to her current positions, she was associate dean of the Fordham University School of Law and Leonard F. Manning Professor of Law. From 1988 to 2000, she chaired the board of trustees for the Dalkon Shield Claimants’ Trust, a court-appointed position (appointed by Judge Robert R. Merhige Jr., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia), and helped design and implement the plan to distribute more than $3 billion to more than 200,000 claimants. Since 1994, Vairo has been on the editorial board of Moore’s Federal Practice, and has authored numerous books and articles.
Vairo graduated from Sweet Briar in 1972 and was awarded the Distinguished Alumna award in 1997. In 1975, she received an M.Ed. from the University of Virginia in social studies. She graduated first in her class from Fordham University School of Law in 1979. She was law clerk to the Honorable Joseph M. McLaughlin, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (1981-1982), and associate at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom from 1979 to 1981, specializing in antitrust litigation.
Benjamin has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. As operations manager for Card Establishment Services for seven years, he managed the chargeback department and was one of the key managers to bring automation to the unit. He then joined NeuralTech as director of implementation services, where he worked with banks automating their back-office operation. Then he co-founded Merlin Solutions and was the chief operations officer. In 2007, Total Systems (TSS NYSE) finalized the purchase of Merlin Solutions. Benjamin has remained with TSYS, where he manages one of the highest-margin divisions as director of the Operation Contact Center.
Benjamin has been a fervent Sweet Briar supporter since his daughter, Makayla, became a member of the Class of 2018, joining the parent/student lawsuit that helped keep the school open in 2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, with a B.S. in industrial management and a minor in industrial engineering.
Fahs is a health economist, with more than 30 years of experience. She holds a joint appointment in the City University of New York as a professor of health policy with the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and professor of economics with the Graduate Center. She was the founding research director of the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging of Hunter College, and the founding director of the Health Policy Research Center at the New School in New York City. Prior to that, she directed the Health Economics Division at Mount Sinai Medical Center in NYC, where she pioneered the first cost-effectiveness analysis of cancer prevention strategies among older women in the U.S. She has authored numerous articles and consults regularly with the National Institutes of Health.
Fahs received her B.A. from Sweet Briar College in international relations and her M.P.H. and Ph.D. from the School of Public Health, University of Michigan.
Pasquerella was appointed president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in 2016, after serving as the 18th president of Mount Holyoke College from 2010 to 2016. She was provost at the University of Hartford from 2008 to 2010 and vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school at the University of Rhode Island, where she began her career as an ethics professor in 1985. A philosopher whose work has combined teaching and scholarship with local and global engagement, Pasquerella is committed to championing liberal arts education, access to excellence in higher education and civic engagement. She has written extensively on medical ethics, metaphysics, public policy and the philosophy of law and is the host of Northeast Public Radio’s “The Academic Minute.”
Pasquerella sits on the advisory board of the Newman’s Own Foundation, on the boards of the Lingnan Foundation and the National Humanities Alliance and is a senator and vice president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She is a graduate of Quinebaug Valley Community College, Mount Holyoke College and Brown University and holds honorary doctorates from Elizabethtown University and Bishop’s University.
More information about the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors, including meeting minutes and other documents, can be found at sbc.edu/president/board-of-directors.