Wynton Marsalis Named Honorary Co-Chair of University Musical Society's National Council

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Wynton Marsalis Named Honorary Co-Chair of University Musical Society's National Council

The University Musical Society (UMS) hosted its annual meeting of the UMS Board of Directors on Wednesday, June 27, electing six new Board members and re-electing four officers. Additionally, two new ex-officio members were appointed to the Board.

The Board also recognized Wynton Marsalis as the new honorary co-chair of the UMS National Council. Marsalis will serve alongside UMS National Council co-chairs Rachel Bendit and Bruce Tuchman. Also appointed to the National Council are New York-based supporters Kenneth (A.B. '80) and Noreen (A.B. '84) Buckfire, and Jay Ptashek (B.B.A. '89) and Karen Elizaga. Members of the UMS National Council serve as advocates, strategic advisors, and philanthropic supporters for the organization. A full listing of UMS National Council Members can be found at ums.org/people.

"Born of a long-standing relationship spanning more than two decades, we are delighted to welcome Wynton Marsalis to the UMS National Council as honorary co-chair of the group," said UMS president Matthew VanBesien. "Wynton's supreme artistry and passion and advocacy for education and community-building through the arts is exceptional, and his expertise and counsel will be invaluable as we look to achieve our vision going forward."

As part of the annual meeting, the Board elected six new Board members, whose four-year appointments officially begin in July: Karen Bantel (A.B. '77, M.B.A. '84, Ph.D. '87), Mary Campbell (A.B. '67, M.B.A. '79), Alec Gallimore, Linda Gregerson, Tim Marshall, and Brian Willen. In addition, Thomas Kinnear (Ph.D. '72) was named a special representative to the Board representing the Sustaining Directors, and Zita Gillis (B.A. '75) was appointed a representative to the Board as chair of the UMS Ambassadors group. Biographies of all new Board members are listed at the end of this release.

The Board also re-elected Sarah Nicoli to serve as chair; Tim Petersen, managing director at Arboretum Ventures, as vice-chair; Mark Clague, associate professor of musicology and director of entrepreneurship and career services at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, as secretary; and Lisa D. Cook, associate professor of international relations and economics at Michigan State University, as treasurer.

The Board recognized three retiring members for their outstanding service to UMS: Richard Gutow, Daniel Herwitz, and Agnes Moy-Sarns. The three retiring members will be invited to join the UMS Sustaining Directors, a group of former UMS Board members who continue to assist in promoting UMS's mission.

"We are immensely grateful to Richard Gutow, Daniel Herwitz, and Agnes Moy-Sarns for their years of service as members of our Board of Directors," VanBesien stated. "It's been both a pleasure and an honor to work with them during my first year as president of UMS. We're also thrilled to welcome the new members to our Board and continue working with the stellar officers who will continue their service to UMS."


Karen Bantel served as a faculty member in business strategy and entrepreneurship at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan (U-M). Prior to that, she held a similar role at the School of Business at Wayne State University. She has also run a consulting practice focusing on strategic, business, and economic development projects, as well as entrepreneurship curriculum. She holds Ph.D. and M.B.A. degrees from the Ross School of Business at U-M. She has also held multiple voluntary board positions and has done strategic consulting as a volunteer in the Ann Arbor area community. Bantel recently served as chair of the Board of United Way of Washtenaw County and is a former member of the University Musical Society Ambassadors.

Mary Lincoln Campbell, managing director and founder of EDF Ventures, has been an active investor both in healthcare and technology companies. Mary is a Board member for Lycera (pharmaceuticals) and ValenTx (medical devices). She is active with the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at U-M and serves as an advisor to the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies as well as its student-run venture activity, the Wolverine Venture Fund. Mary is former president of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, the state's premier public policy advocate for the venture capital industry, and former chair of the Board of Trustees at Northern Michigan University. Mary received her M.B.A. and B.A. in English from U-M and a Master of Special Education from Fairfield University.

Alec Gallimore is the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at U-M. He co-directs the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory and is on the faculty of the Applied Physics program at U-M. Previously, Dr. Gallimore served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education at Michigan Engineering, and as the Associate Dean for Engineering and the Physical Sciences at the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies at U-M. He also served as the director of the NASA-funded Michigan Space Grant Consortium, and of the United States Air Force Center of Excellence in Advanced Spacecraft Propulsion. He received his B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University.

Linda Gregerson is the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English and Creative Writing at U-M. She is the editor, with Susan Juster, of Empires of God: Religious Encounters in the Early Modern Atlantic(Philadelphia, 2011) and author of The Reformation of the Subject: Spenser, Milton, and the English Protestant Epic (Cambridge, 1995), as well as six books of poetry and a volume of essays on the contemporary American lyric. Her essays on Milton, Spenser, Shakespeare, Wyatt, and Jonson appear in numerous journals and anthologies. Gregerson's most recent volume of poems is Prodigal: New and Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). Among her earlier books, Magnetic North (2007) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Gregerson has received awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Poetry Society of America, the Modern Poetry Association, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim, Mellon, and Rockefeller Foundations. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Zita Gillis joined the UMS Ambassadors in 2014 and has served as vice-chair for the past two years. As an active member of the Ambassadors, she has been involved in gala fundraising event planning and many other volunteer activities. Zita, whose family came from Lithuania, was born and raised in Detroit and has lived in Ann Arbor since 1971. She received her B.A. in Psychology from U-M and has worked for the Wayne County Intermediate School District, WITH-TV, Jacobson's, Michigan Theater, New York Life, and finally as Business Systems Analyst in the Procurement Department at U-M. She retired in 2012 after 23 years of service.

Thomas Kinnear is D. Maynard Phelps Professor of Business and Marketing at the Ross School of Business at U-M. He was fomerly Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and founding executive director of the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, former senior associate dean at the Ross School of Business, and former vice president for development and executive officer for the University. He headed the $1.4 billion Campaign for Michigan in the 1990s and served on the U-M Advisory Board for Intercollegiate Athletics. He holds undergraduate and LL.D. (honorary) degrees from Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, an M.B.A. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from U-M. He is currently CEO and chair of the Board of Directors of the Venture Michigan Corporation, a $225 million venture capital fund and a member of the National Advertising Review Board of the Better Business Bureau. He is former chair of the Board of the American Marketing Association and the Board of the American Marketing Association Foundation, and served as an academic trustee of the Marketing Science Institute.

Tim Marshall is president and CEO of Arbor Bancorp, Inc. and Bank of Ann Arbor, a locally owned and operated full-service community bank with eight locations in the Ann Arbor area. Active in his community, Tim is a board director and immediate past chair for the Michigan Bankers Association as well as a board member for Affordable Housing Partners, Inc. and the Ann Arbor Economic Development Corporation. In 2017, he finished a seven-year term on the Board of Directors of the Washtenaw County Shelter Association. In 2011, Tim was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Community Depository Institution Advisory Council (CDIAC) and served as its chair from 2012-2014. Bank of Ann Arbor was a founding member in 2005 of Ann Arbor SPARK, an economic development organization in Southeast Michigan, where he has served on its board and executive committee since its founding and served as chair of the board from 2012-15. Tim received his B.S. from the Krannert School of Business at Purdue University and his M.B.A. from Butler University.

Brian Willen is a partner at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. His legal practice is a unique combination of litigation and strategic counseling, representing leading Internet companies large and small. Brian's clients include Google, Twitter, Dropbox, Pinterest, and Netflix, along with a wide range of start-ups that host or publish information online. He also handles matters involving the First Amendment, defamation, music licensing, online privacy, "net neutrality," and law enforcement requests for information about internet users, terrorism, and national security. Brian regularly advises nonprofits, including advocacy groups and foundations, about their online practices, and he has done pro bono litigation work for organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Khan Academy, and the New Media Rights Program. Brian is also an adjunct professor at the U-M Law School. A longtime patron of the arts, Brian graduated from Yale College, where he was on the Board of the Yale Dramatic Association, and Yale Law School.


A recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts, UMS (also known as the University Musical Society) contributes to a vibrant cultural community by connecting audiences with performing artists from around the world in uncommon and engaging experiences. One of the oldest performing arts presenters in the country, UMS is an independent non-profit organization affiliated with U-M, presenting over 70 music, theater, and dance performances by professional touring artists each season, along with over 100 free educational activities. UMS is committed to bold artistic leadership, engaged learning through the arts, and access and inclusiveness. Since 1990, the organization has co-commissioned and supported the production of nearly 80 new or reimagined works. Matthew VanBesien became the organization's seventh president in July 2017.

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