By Steven Viera || Senior Editor

Last Thursday, Oct. 15, Sue L. Washburn ’73 was elected by unanimous vote to serve as the new chair of F&M’s Board of Trustees. Washburn, who came to F&M in 1969 as part of the first female cohort admitted to the College, was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1995 and will be the first alumna to serve as its chair.

The Board did not plan on voting on a new chair until their next quarterly meeting in February, but Washburn garnered such strong support during the nomination process that the vote was able to occur early.

“Sue stood out not only in terms of experience and leadership, but also as a very generous, dynamic and thoughtful person who cares deeply about students and the College,” said John Burness ’67, chair of the Board’s Trusteeship and Governance Committee, according to this article on F&M’s news website.

Currently vice chair of the Board, Washburn is also the head of the Compensation Committee and serves on the Executive, Marketing and Communications, and Trusteeship and Governance Committees, according to the article on F&M’s news website. In the past, she served as chair of the Advancement Committee from 2003 to 2008, the Enrollment Committee from 2012 to 2014, the Presidential Search Committee in 2010, and the vice-chair of the Long-Range Strategic Planning Committee from 1998 to 2002. As a member, Washburn served on the Campaign Executive Committee from 1992 to 2002, the 2001-2002 Presidential Search Committee, in addition to the Academic Investments, Alumni Programs and Development, Buildings, Grounds and Sustainability Committees.

Washburn’s three-year term will begin on July 1, 2016; she will succeed two-term chair, Lawrence I. Bonchek, M.D., P ’91.

“During the past 20 years as a trustee, Sue has earned the admiration of the entire Board as a tireless and highly effective colleague, especially when asked to take on exceptionally important responsibilities,” Bonchek said, according to the F&M news article. “At the top of that list, I would put her service as chair of the search committee that brought Dan Porterfield to Franklin & Marshall. As a consultant for higher education institutions around the world, she has also given us the benefit of her expertise on a range of challenging and sometimes sensitive issues. Whenever we have needed a sure and steady hand, clear perspective and sound judgment, we have always been able to turn to Sue.”

After graduating from F&M with a bachelor’s degree in English, Washburn went on to earn a master’s degree in management and marketing from Clarkson University and also completed advanced study at Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management.

Her resume includes serving as the vice president of St. Lawrence University, Centenary College, and The Evergreen State College; former chair of the international board of trustees of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE); and the founding principal of Washburn & McGoldrick Inc., a strategic planning, marketing, development, and governance firm.

“I was the first in my family to go to college,” Washburn said, according to the F&M news article. “I came here on a Classics scholarship and met incredibly smart students and inspirational faculty members… I learned how to learn. For that, I’m forever grateful.”

Senior Steven Viera is a Senior Editor. His email is

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Washburn is the first woman to chair the Board of Trustees; rather, she is the first alumna to hold the position. We apologize for the error.