The Emerson College Board of Trustees unanimously voted on August 3 to appoint Eric Alexander ’78 as chair of the Board.
Alexander, who was a Speech major at Emerson, has served as chair of the Board’s Investment Committee and as a member of the Academic Affairs, Finance, Audit, Trusteeship, and Institutional Advancement Committees. He previously served on the College’s Board of Advisors.
A first-generation American and the first of his family to attend college, Alexander credits Emerson with “changing his life” and is dedicated to providing opportunities for talented students to study and thrive at Emerson, regardless of their backgrounds. As chair, he is committed to ensuring Emerson’s leadership role in preparing students to be a creative force in communication, media, entertainment, and the arts.
“I know firsthand the power of an Emerson education,” Alexander said. “From the inspiration I received from teachers like Walt Littlefield, to my internship with the Boston Celtics and my time teaching public speaking and debate to inmates at Norfolk State Prison, Emerson provided me with the experiences, tools, and orientation to succeed in business and in life.”
Alexander, a financial services consultant, has worked at leading advertising and public relations agencies and spent two decades at the helm of a New York Stock Exchange member brokerage firm.
Additionally, in October, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Doug Holloway ’76, Al Jaffe ’68, and Kevin Bright ’76 as co-vice chairs; Ellen Calmas as treasurer; and Marillyn Zacharis as secretary.
Chair: Eric Alexander ’78
Co-vice chairs: Doug Holloway ’76, Al Jaffe ’68, Kevin Bright ’76
Treasurer: Ellen Calmas
Secretary: Marillyn Zacharis
Joshua Wachs ’87, chair of the Board of Advisors, is an entrepreneur and futurist, having started his first technology company while he was a senior at Emerson. Expression magazine recently sat down with him to talk about the College’s Board of Advisors.
What does the Board of Advisors do?
The Board of Advisors helps connect the Emerson College community and the industries where our alumni establish and build their careers. Our board works on Emerson task forces and special projects, serving as guest class lecturers, introducing industry leaders to the College, mentoring students, and creating pathways to internship and career opportunities for students and alumni. Additionally, Advisors are often called upon to assist and support the President and the Board of Trustees to ensure Emerson’s long-term institutional health.
Who is on the Board of Advisors?
Our board is made up of leaders representing industries aligned with Emerson’s core curriculum—Broadway producers, speech and hearing clinicians, marketing and media relations strategists, entrepreneurs, and business executives. Many Advisors are Emerson alumni and parents (and in some cases like mine, both!), but that’s not a requirement. Advisors are passionate about Emerson!
What recent project is the Board most proud of?
Our board spent the better part of the last year critically examining our mission, vision, priorities, and strategic direction to determine how we could better serve the Emerson community. That process highlighted the need for equity to be purposefully embedded into the programming and initiatives we undertake. Clearly, the hard work is ahead of us, beginning with an overhaul of Board recruitment, developing meaningful alliances with institutional constituents and stakeholders, and becoming more intentional in the work we focus on. We are quite proud that Emerson is taking a national leadership role by creating a model that not only dramatically impacts the Emerson community but sets the standard for how governing boards can effectively promote and deliver equity across the communities they serve.
What are you excited about going forward?
What gets us most excited is how we view all new initiatives through an equity lens. As an example, for the past three years, the Board of Advisors has supported Emerson’s Emtern program, which offers current students the opportunity to work with mentors while pursuing summer internships in Boston or Los Angeles. The program provides students with on-campus accommodations as well as a professional development series and networking opportunities. To date, we have worked with more than 30 Emtern students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. As we expand our participation in the Emtern program, we will apply lessons learned to new efforts and enterprises.