Home > Ideas > The Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees

(This post was also posted on thesabloggers.org on June 1, 2011)

The Board is coming to campus, make sure your area is tidy in case they stop by.”

“Please be sure that any event that takes place the night before the Board is due to arrive is cleaned immediately.”

The Board.”

I never understood why when “the Board” was included in a sentence that it had such a nerve racking, anxiety inducing effect on people; until I became a director and now have a better understanding of that. However, this blog post is not about the politics and decision making of this sometimes mysterious and powerful entity. Recently, I was invited to attend the Commencement Eve dinner hosted by the Board of Trustees for the institution. (I believe the main reason for my invitation was to keep an eye on my newly elected executive advisory board of student leaders, but I could be wrong.) Regardless of the reason for the invitation, the dinner left me with numerous impressions about what it means when “the Board” is coming to campus.

The dinner was a celebration. It was light hearted, engaging and draped with an overall sense of “another great year in the books, let’s pat ourselves on the backs for making it happen.” Here they were, this large group of individuals who have invested time, money, advice, and goodwill to an institution of learning (many of them being alumnae). They were proud of themselves and for good reason, without their dollars and sense the success of the past year may have been jeopardized. On the eve of sending 408 students (both undergrad and graduate) out into the world with Nichols College degrees, this group of “trustees” could not have been more elated and proud.

Having taken place about a month ago now, I am still left with a positive impression from the experience and why there is a mysterious feeling about “the Board.” This group is only mysterious because they are referred to as “the Board” not as individuals. Walking around the cocktail reception, these individuals did not introduce themselves as members of “the Board” but instead as partners/alums/friends of the College. They were personable. They were excited to hear what was being planned for the campus. They were even more excited to talk to the student executive advisory board members.

The point of this post however is not to talk about a group of trustees celebrating another successful year over a delicious catered meal on the night before graduation. What reflecting on this experience did for me was two-fold; first, it took away the mysterious anxiety that comes with hearing that “the Board” is coming to campus. I’ve met many of these individuals and they aren’t scary (unless you are in a business deal with them, then you better know your stuff).

Second, is it left me thinking, who would be on my board of trustees? Who are those individuals that are in the background invested in my success? Who would celebrate on the eve of my birthday “another great year in the books”? Am I the one who determines if they are on my Board of Trustees? Or are some on there that I don’t even know about but they watch from afar (see: Facebook) and are ready to act if called upon?

I’m still thinking about mine but what about you? If you had to list the people who made up your Board of Trustees, who would you envision sitting around the table?

Categories: Ideas
  1. Cathy Holbrook
    June 1, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    Joe, what a thought provoking post! What you say about your “board” resonates with me – there are some wonderful members of ours, many of whom I love to catch up wtih at meetings and events. But the idea of a personal “BOT” – l LOVE IT! I need to think carefully about this one!

    • June 1, 2011 at 1:23 PM


      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’m still defining my personal BOT, it certainly isn’t easy and I think in some cases, it is not ours to define.

      As I shared on a comment on thesabloggers.org this idea was magnified as I watched seniors (many of whom I had only known a matter of months) receive awards that I had nominated and advocated for them to receive, without them ever knowing. Made me ask, “Hmm I wonder if they know how many people (who aren’t their families) are celebrating the fact that they are walking across that stage right now and receiving a degree.

  2. June 2, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    Great post Joe! I’m always looking for my “dream team”, folks I would hire, would love to work with, would recommend to my friends & I also have a list of folks I would work for for free. Twitter has helped to grow these lists… thanks for sharing your insights. T

  3. November 28, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    I sit back and read some immensely inspiring blogs and posts from a colleague and friend from back in the day. I am revived to our old slogan of “out of control.” While most would read this and think immediately of crude, barbaric, type of behavior. We in fact associated this term with the most euphoric, quintessential, accomplished, fraternal, and ground breaking experiences. The world was ours for the taking sort of speak; the ability to understand that we are bound by no boundaries.

    I read this post about the Trustees and the anxiety and the intimidation and think, we were inspired by the impressions of those at the school; past, present and future. That basking in the glory of our accomplishments, we were too basking in the glory of the college, and vice versa. Taking into account the theory of reciprocity, I reflect on this post about how giving back now can in turn result in a personal accomplishment and that my personal accomplishments while on campus may have very well given back to an inspiration to a future graduate.

    To all this, I reply back, my “personal BOT” I would suggest would have “visiting seats.” I recently experienced this when witnessing Joe present at the Recruiter Day on campus. Walking onto the stage, mind as well have represented his arrive into my personal board room. I in turn have followed Joe’s success through the social media spotlight and found personal gratitude knowing his advancements through his career; and in hopes, a reciprocal feeling was sought and found by Joe himself of my advancements. Joe, thanks for stepping up to be a member of my personal BOT.

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