President & Leadership
Bridgewater State University Board of Trustees
Under the chairmanship of Louis M. Ricciardi, the 11-member board is a blend of veterans and future leaders forming a uniquely diversified, yet coherent mix dedicated to advancing the mission of public higher education at Bridgewater State University.
Mr. Louis M. Ricciardi, Chairman, '81
Mr. Louis Ricciardi is president of Ricciardi Financial Group in Taunton. A longtime supporter and benefactor of the university, Mr. Ricciardi holds the distinction of being the youngest person ever elected to the chairmanship of a governing board for a state college in Massachusetts; he accomplished the feat in 1990 at age thirty.
Mr. Ricciardi has been a member of the Bridgewater State University Foundation since 1990, and served as chair from 1996 to 2004. He co-chaired the university’s first capital campaign, which successfully reached its goal of raising $10 million. Between 1993 and 1996, he cochaired a separate fundraising campaign to build the Alumni Park Baseball/Softball Complex, the first-ever privately funded state college capital project in the commonwealth. In 1994 he proposed and founded the university’s annual Chairmen’s Dinner, which has grown to be one of the premier fundraising social events in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Mr. Ricciardi received the university’s Distinguished Service Award at the May 2002 Commencement, and the Bridgewater Alumni Association Rondileau Award for outstanding community service and professional achievement in 1999.
He serves on a number of local corporate boards including Bristol County Savings Bank, Bristol County Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Morton Health Foundation, Morton Physicians Associates, Morton Hospital and Medical Center, and the Taunton Development Corporation. He has served as president of the Boys and Girls Club of Taunton since 2007. He has also held leadership positions with the Rotary Club of Taunton, the Taunton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Heart of Taunton, Incorporated. In April 2009, he was elected to a five-year term on the Massachusetts State Board of Higher Education and in March 2010 was appointed Vice Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.
Mr. Ricciardi resides in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
Mr. Peter Chase, Vice Chairman
Mr. Peter R. Chase is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chase Corporation, a manufacturing company providing construction products and services to multiple markets such as: wire and cable, electronic coatings, construction products, pipeline maintenance, packaging and industrial, digital and print media and electronic manufacturing services.
Mr. Chase began his career with General Electric Company in 1969. In 1972, Mr. Chase joined Chase Corporation’s Randolph, Massachusetts manufacturing division and has held various management positions in his 40 years with the Company. He was named to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer in 1993 and elected Chairman in 2006.
Mr. Chase is a director and former Chairman of the Board of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. He serves as director of AIM Mutual Insurance Company and Bridgewater Savings Bank. He also served on the New England Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston from 2000 to 2003. A 1969 graduate of Boston College with a degree in finance, Mr. Chase is a member of the Bridgewater State University Foundation.
Mr. Chase and his wife, Kathy, reside in Bridgewater, Massachusetts and have three children and five grandchildren.
Susan Szachowicz EdD, Secretary, '75
Dr. Susan Szachowicz recently retired as principal of Brockton High School, a large comprehensive urban high school. Originally a history teacher, she was the Social Science Department Head for many years, and then became Housemaster. In 1999 she was appointed the Associate Principal for Curriculum and Instruction and in that capacity directed the school’s literacy initiatives to improve student achievement. She became Brockton High’s principal in 2004 and continues to be committed to educational reform at the school and in the state. She has served on numerous state commissions on education reform particularly regarding the Massachusetts assessment program. Her leadership at Brockton High has been committed to “high expectations, high standards – no excuses.” Under her leadership, Brockton High has been recognized as a Massachusetts Compass School, a National Model School for five years in a row, a recipient of the National School Change Award, and received a Bronze Medal from U.S. News and World Report.
She received her BA in History and Sociology and her MA in History from Bridgewater State University. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has also taught graduate courses in history and education at Bridgewater State University and the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Marilyn Barry, EdD, '58
Dr. Marilyn White Barry, a native of Holbrook, is a graduate of the class of 1958 at Bridgewater State University. After teaching first grade in the Weymouth Public Schools and becoming the mother of two sons, she left teaching to raise her family. In 1966 she received a fellowship from Boston University to study for a master’s degree in audiology, speech pathology, brain aphasia and teaching, and then went on to earn an EdD in learning disabilities in 1974. Bridgewater, her alma mater, appointed her to the faculty in 1974 as an assistant professor of special education. In addition to teaching, she was actively involved in professional organizations and was one of the original movers of Special Education and Chapter 766 in Massachusetts.
She became chairperson of the department in 1978 and served in that position for nine years. In 1987, Dr. Barry was appointed the first woman Dean of the Graduate School at Bridgewater, a position she held for eleven years until retiring from the college in 1999.
Dr. Barry is one of the college’s most generous benefactors and continues to be actively involved as a trustee of the Bridgewater State University Foundation.
Vanessa Britto, MD
Dr. Vanessa Britto is the Director of Health Services at Wellesley College. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College, her degree in Medicine from the University of Illinois College of Medicine, and a Masters in Science in Community Health from Brown University.
Dr. Britto completed her residency and fellowship in Primary Care and General Internal Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence and is board-certified in Internal Medicine. She has enjoyed practicing general medicine in various settings including neighborhood and community health centers, private practice and, prior to joining Wellesley College, served as the college physician at Stonehill College. She has always enjoyed a concentration in women’s health, preventative medicine and cardiovascular disease prevention. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American College Health Association representing New England and New York, the Board of the New England College Health Association and the Diversity Committee of the Massachusetts Medical Society.
Dr. Britto is also involved in various professional and community organizations in New England and Southeastern Massachusetts.
Ms. Carol Bulman
Carol Conway Bulman is the chief executive officer and vice chairman of Jack Conway, Realtor, one of the largest independently owned real estate companies in New England, and the past president of Conway Financial Services, the mortgage subsidiary of Jack Conway Real Estate.
A leader in the real estate industry at the local, state and national level, Ms. Bulman serves on the Government Affairs Committee for the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and the Education Committee for the Plymouth and South Shore Association of Realtors. She is a director and serves on the executive committee for the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and is a trustee for South Shore Hospital. From 2011 to the present, she serves as a trustee of the Bridgewater State University Foundation Board. Ms. Bulman is a past president of the Massachusetts Mortgage Association, a former member of the Banker & Tradesman Advisory Council and has served on Mass Housing’s Single Family Advisory Council.
The Boston Business Journal named Ms. Bulman a recipient of their “40 under 40” award. She also received the Providence College Career Achievement Award and has been honored by Banker & Tradesman as part of their Women of FIRE Awards.
Ms. Terry Hart Cogan, 51
Ms. Mary (Terry) Hart Cogan is the alumni trustee on the University’s Board of Trustees, elected by the Bridgewater Alumni Association (BAA). She is four-time chairperson of the University’s Annual Fund campaign and continues to serve on the boards of the Bridgewater State University Foundation and the BAA. She is the University’s most generous donor and in 1990 became the first graduate ever to offer a one million-dollar gift.
A native of Hyannis, Ms. Cogan grew up on Cape Cod and began her career as an elementary school teacher in Lexington. Long active in civic and community affairs, Ms. Cogan is a past president of the hospital auxiliaries of Boston University Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She is currently a member of the Boston Ballet Board of Trustees and a benefactor of major arts organizations on Cape Cod and in Boston. She has also been involved in the Democratic Party and was invited to attend the inaugurations of Presidents Kennedy, Carter and Clinton. She is a past member of the Lexington Democratic Town Committee and currently serves on the Chatham Democratic Town Committee.
In 1999, Bridgewater State University awarded her an honorary doctorate of public service which, in part, reads: “Mary Hart Cogan, benefactor of your alma mater, civic-minded champion of responsible and compassionate government, volunteer in community activities, devoted and generous patron of the arts, and strong advocate for women in leadership positions, you have lived your life in service to others, carrying out daily the ideals and values expressed in the motto of this university, ‘Not to be Ministered Unto but to Minister.’”
Trustee Cogan currently resides in Chatham, is the mother of four children and the grandmother of five grandchildren.
Mr. Brendan Concannon
Mr. Brendan Concannon, a senior majoring in Political Science at Bridgewater State University, was elected by the student body to serve as Student Trustee for the 2013-2014 academic year. Prior to his election, Mr. Concannon served as Parliamentarian of the Student Government Association for the past two years. He also serves as the South Shore Regional Director of the College Democrats of Massachusetts, a role he has held since 2012.
Mr. Concannon is very involved with the Bridgewater State community. In addition to his service in Student Government, he has worked as a Production Assistant in the Rondileau Campus Center since 2010 and as a Tutor in the Academic Achievement Center. He is a member of Sigma Pi Fraternity, and the fifth member of Sigma Pi to serve on the Board of Trustees. He also participated in this summer’s Adrian Tinsley Summer Research Program, where he received a grant to research the viability of Massachusetts County Government.
Outside of the University, Mr. Concannon has spent much of his time participating in civic engagement. He has completed internships with the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the Office of Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan, and the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington, D.C. He has also volunteered with many political campaigns.
Mr. Concannon is from Braintree, Massachusetts, and is a 2010 graduate of Braintree High School. After graduation he would like to work as a Legislative Aide on Beacon Hill or in Washington, and would eventually like to go to law school or receive a Master’s Degree in Public Policy.
Mr. Eugene J. Durgin Jr.
Mr. Eugene Durgin, Jr. is a retired managing director of Voyageur Asset Management in Boston. He was President at Massachusetts Public Pension Forum, Chairman and President at Freedom Trust Company, Senior Vice President at BayBanks and Vice President and Trust Officer at BankBoston.
From 1991 to 2001 he served on the Bridgewater State University governing board as a trustee and from 1994 to 1998 as the chairman. Gene currently serves on the Bridgewater State University Foundation Investment and Executive Committees and on July 1, 2009 became the Foundation Board Chairman.
Over the years, Gene has become very familiar with Bridgewater State University and has a clear interest in wanting to help us continue to grow and better serve the students of Southeastern Massachusetts. As we continue to navigate through these economically difficult times, Gene’s experience in the world of finance is an asset to the university.
Gene holds a BA in Political Science from Boston College and a minor in Economics.
Dr. Joan Wallace-Benjamin
Dr. Joan Wallace-Benjamin joined The Home for Little Wanderers in 2003 as president and chief executive officer. Under her guidance, the agency has gained prominence in the field of child and family service providers, becoming a leader in innovative programming for underserved populations and expanding its role of advocacy for all children.
Previously, she was president and chief executive officer of The Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts for eleven years and immediately prior to joining The Home, she served as a consultant with Whitehead Mann, a global executive recruiting firm. She has also served as director of ABCD Head Start and a research analyst for ABT Associates. She took a short detour from The Home in 2007 when she answered Governor-Elect Deval Patrick’s call to serve as chief of staff on his transition team and in the first months of his administration.
Dr. Wallace-Benjamin is a former trustee of Wellesley College and a member of the Board of Overseers for The Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Additionally she has been a corporation member of Northeastern University and a trustee of Pine Manor College. She graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in psychology and received her PhD from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Mr. John Walsh
Mr. Walsh is the chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, a role he has held since 2007. In March of 2005, he met Deval Patrick, then considered a long shot candidate for governor of Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Walsh became his campaign manager helming a successful run in the 2006 gubernatorial race.
He is the president of Independence Insurance Agency in Abington, which serves the South Shore of Massachusetts, served ten years as a member of the Abington Board of Selectmen, and for three years was a member of the Plymouth County Charter Commission. Mr. Walsh is a member and former chairman of the Plymouth County Democratic League.
Mr. Walsh is a 1976 graduate of Brockton’s Cardinal Spellman High School, where he is a member of the board of trustees. He has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. He lives in Abington with his wife Donna and son Coleman.
Mr. Brendan Concannon, Student Trustee