Big Changes at New England’s Biggest University

By John O. Harney

Comings and Goings …

Robert A. Brown (Photo by Melody Komyerov)

In a stream of high-profile changes at the largest higher education institution in New England (if you don’t count the heavily online Southern New Hampshire University), Boston University (BU) President Robert A. Brown announced he will step down at the end of the academic year after 17 years in charge. The university also reported that Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory will leave the top job at the region’s biggest paper at the end of the year to become the BU journalism department’s chair. Scott Taylor, a Georgetown University scholar of African politics and vice dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, became dean of BU’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, succeeding Pardee’s inaugural dean, Adil Najam. Taylor has written or co-written four books on African business, culture and politics and served as an election observer in Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The University of Vermont Health Network named Dr. Sunil “Sunny” Eappen, an anesthesiologist and chief medical officer at Boston-based Brigham and Women’s Hospital, to be the new CEO and president of Vermont’s largest health network, succeeding Dr. John Brumsted, who is retiring after 10 years at the helm.

Northern Essex Community College named Springfield Technical Community College Director of Marketing and Communications Keith Paul as the new executive director of marketing communications at Northern Essex, succeeding Ron Taber, who will retire after 24 years in the post.

Massasoit Community College named three new executives: Alex Villanueva, recently of Ball Consulting Group, became the Brockton, Mass. community college’s executive director of communications and marketing; Massachusetts Maritime Academy Director of Advancement Michelle Badger became Massasoit’s new vice president of institutional advancement; and Stonehill College Associate General Counsel Amee Synnott became the community college’s Title IX and compliance officer.

The Biden administration tapped Renee Wegrzyn, vice president of business development at Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings Inc., a synthetic biology firm, to lead ARPA-H, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. Massachusetts is among states competing to be the home of the new agency started in March to drive biomedical innovation that supports the health of Americans.

Michelle Asha Cooper, deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education, will join Lumina Foundation next month as vice president for public policy and executive director of the major education foundation’s Washington, D.C. office. Before joining the department, Cooper was president and CEO of the Institute for Higher Education Policy for more than 12 years.



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