Tufts alumni chose to elect Lori Roth (J ’86), a New York City real estate investor, and Kenneth C. Fan (E ’01, F ’07), the COO of eGenesis, a Cambridge biotech company, to represent them on the Tufts University Board of Trustees for a five-year term starting in 2020, according to Bill Gehling (A ’74, G ’79), interim executive director of alumni relations.
Roth and Fan said the results were publicly announced at the spring meeting of the Alumni Council on April 7, which Gehling confirmed in an email.
Roth and Fan will fill two of the 10 seats elected by the alumni on the 40-member Board of Trustees. The two will take the seats currently held by Hugh R. Roome III (LA ’74, F ’77, FG ’80, FG ’80) and Laurie Gabriel (J ’76), whose terms expire at the end of the year.
Fan and Roth will be officially ratified by the Board at its meeting in November, wrote Gehling.
According to Gehling, the alumni response rate for the election this year, 6.82 %, was the second highest on record, falling from last year’s record of 9.9 %.
Gehling said that the Office of Alumni Relations will continue to develop better communication with alumni for the election and regarding other issues.
“Of course, I’d love to see a larger response rate, but you can’t force people to vote,” he said.
Two other candidates were on the ballot; David B. Meyers (LA ’96) and Sonja Bartlett (J ’90). The Office of Alumni Relations does not disclose full election results, including the share of votes received, according to Gehling.
Beyond the alumni trustees, this year’s ballot also saw the election of 10 new members to the Tufts Alumni Council, which oversees various alumni activities and services in addition to organizing the alumni trustee election.
The newly-minted members ranged in class year from James Kostas (LA ’85, D ’89) representing the School of Dental Medicine to Sam Berzok (LA ’16). They hail from as far as Kristy Kaoru Endo (LA ’05) of Japan and as close as Abdiel Garcia (LA ’14), a resident of Cambridge.
The Alumni Council will also see an elected official join its ranks with the election of Massachusetts State Rep. Adrian Madaro (LA ’11, AG ’13), who has represented Suffolk County’s first district on Beacon Hill since 2015.
The other alumni elected to the Council were Meagan A. Edmonds (LA ’14) of Washington D.C; Jennifer J. Faucon (J ’90) of Ashland, Mass.; John M. Kenny (E ’15) of Lexington, Mass.; Melissa S. Norden (J ’94) of Woodmere, N.Y.; and Eugenia A. Vandoros (LA ’04, F ’10) of Athens, Greece.
Half of the candidates elected this year were women.
Roth says she was excited and pleasantly surprised when she learned of her election.
“I think if you had told me when I was a student that a one point I would be a trustee, I probably would have thought you were crazy,” she said.
Roth explained that she had reached out to friends, friends of friends and classmates to get out the word about the election during voting. She thanked those alumni who voted for her and said that the election would only deepen her involvement with Tufts and the alumni community.
As her focus broadens from the the Alumni Council, where Roth will serve as a director of the executive committee starting in July, to the university at large when she takes her seat on the Board next winter, Roth says she’s now working to learn more about the entire Tufts community and the various challenges that face it.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the different aspect, different components of the university more than I know now,” she said.
Roth spoke by phone on May 1 with Peter R. Dolan (LA ’78), chairman of the Board, to begin the process of joining the university’s governing body.
Fan said that he, too, was excited and honored to have been elected and thanked his supporters.
“I’m looking forward to serving the entire Tufts community through my role on the Board. It was wonderful to hear from so many former classmates, as well as alumni I had never met before, regarding their support and affinity for Tufts,” he wrote in an email to the Daily.
Both Fan and Roth saw the fact that this Board election had the second highest response rate ever as a promising indicator of increasing alumni involvement.
Berzok, who won a seat on the Alumni Council, was the youngest person on the ballot this year, which he says gives him a unique perspective.
“As a young alum, I think one of the things I want to bring to the table is how the conversation has evolved around students’ [lives] and sort of the overall meaning of being a Jumbo, which has definitely changed even in the four years that I was on the hill,” he said.
He hopes to join the Student and Young Alumni Engagement Committee as well as the Regional Programs Committee to work on engaging more alumni through social media by educating graduating seniors about alumni resources while they are still at Tufts and developing rural and suburban alumni chapters.
Berzok says his time at Tufts and his engagement with alumni groups motivated him to run for the position.
“I had a great experience at Tufts, [and] when I came back to New Jersey, where I currently work and live, I was looking for other resources and outlets to get involved with fellow Jumbos off the hill,” he said.
Berzok, who works in New Jersey state politics, also reached out to his friends and classmates during the campaign to promote his candidacy.
“As for folks I was speaking to about election, certainly a couple were surprised or had no knowledge of the election going on, but when I pointed to the email essentially with the voting ballots on it, they were able to find it pretty quickly,” he said.
Berzok thought the response rate could have been higher with more outreach through social media and with current students.
The new Alumni Council will begin serving on July 1, according to the Tufts Alumni and Friends website.