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Alumni Weekend

      Wells Fall Alumnae and Alumni Weekend

The tradition of alumni and volunteers returning to campus in the fall continues. Please find below two very important pieces of information about the upcoming Alumnae/i Weekend: schedule and on-line registration link. Alumnae/i Weekend is an opportunity for all alumni to return to Wells and visit with students, faculty, staff, volunteers and classmates. We hope you will join us.

Dates for future weekend
      October 17-18, 2015
Save the dates so you can come back to Aurora!

Association of Alumnae and Alumni Board

2014- 2015
Association of Alumnae and Alumni Board  
Betty Rodriguez Vislosky '78

Nominating Vice President
Fran Trubilla Kissell '78

Reunion Vice President
Mary Mitchell Goodman '70

Retreat Vice President
Margaret Neenan Leahy '84

WCA Trustees
Pamm Edgerton Ferguson '69
Amy Cerand McNaughton '86
Nancy Wenner Witmer '61
AnnualGiving Chair
Mary Pastore Cryan '84

 Award Committee Chair

Virginia Meeker Munkelwitz '67
Tiffany Hancock Clark '93

Sarah Messinger Gleason '88

Travis A. Niles  '09 


Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations
Pamela J. Sheradin  '86
Broadly stated, the mission of FARGO is to promote the active involvement of recent graduates by enriching the experience of current Wells students, supporting and strengthening the world-wide network of Wells alumnae, and working to assure that Wells College continues to be a vital and leading force in liberal arts education into the 21st century and beyond. These goals will be accomplished through active and increased participation by FARGO alumnae in the life of the college, including admissions, campus events and programs, alumnae activities, and fund raising efforts.

2015 Election Candidates Info


WCA Trustee      

Kathryn Fong ‘06

B.A. in Women’s Studies

Brooklyn, New York

Katie is a senior associate for Kirk Palmer Associates in New York City. Having started her career in executive search for private equity andfinancial services clients, Katie developed a taste for working behind thescenes of a business. She has become an expert in the "back end" ofretail, specializing in assessing and recruiting top financial and operational talent.


A bi-coastal gal, Katie has roots in both Southern California and Philadelphia, PA and will gladly debate the merits of a Five Guys burger versus In-N-Out. She's a perpetually recovering long-distance runner as well as a sciencefiction, literature, and politics devotee who has a compelling recommendation prepared for most television or film tastes. 


Katie has been an active volunteer for Wells since graduation. She is the secretary for her class and is an involved FARGO board member.



Vice President (Nominating)

Susan Eskedahl ‘79

B.A. Psychology

Mound, Minnesota

Sue brings over 25 years of consulting and coaching experience toclients. She is the owner of: Dragonfly Management Associates (an executive consulting and coaching service). Sue has also owned Contract Flooring and Furnishings and served as Executive Vice President for the Employers Association, Inc. She holds the designation of a Certified Executive Coach through the Center for Executive Coaching. Sue has been an active volunteer for Wells College, Imaging For a Cause Foundation, Courage Center on their Human Resources advisory committee of the board, as Vice Chairman of the board for Health Front and as a Regional Vice President for World at Work.



Member-at-Large (FARGO)

Travis Niles ’09

B.A. in History

Alexandria, Virginia

Travis is a marketing specialist at Nextility, a Washington, DC - based startup that offers energy savings for small businesses. He was previously the manager of Communications and IT for the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association in Greenfield, Massachusetts.


Travis is an active volunteer; most recently, he served on the Board of Directors for the Pioneer Valley Symphony, a community performance group that provides classical music and music education in Western Massachusetts. He was an AmeriCorps VISTA member from 2009 to 2011, placing community volunteers in underserved schools. Travis has also been active volunteering for Wells starting as a student. He worked at Reunion on several occasions, and has been a member of the FARGO board since graduation, serving most recently as the FARGO liaison to the WCA board.


Dr. Patricia (Tobie) Tyler van der Vorm, Wells College Class of 1970, has been selected to receive the Wells College Alumnae and Alumni Award for 2015. She is being honored for her service to Wells and to higher education. The Award honors Wells women and men of high achievement in professions and careers, in volunteer and community work, in service to their alma mater, or in some combination of these endeavors.

Tobie’s service to Wells College began before she even graduated. In addition to being a junior advisor and an admissions assistant, she was the resident advisor in Leach, the first student to serve in that capacity. After graduation, she served as Annual Fund chair, 40 th Reunion co-chair, on the executive committee for Careers/Internships, the Alumnae Association Board and the Wells College Board of Trustees, including years as vice chair and chair. This was a time of transition for Wells; the issues included lower tuition to attract more students, the Leadership Institute, strategic planning and working with Pleasant Thiele Rowland ’62, and her vision for Aurora.

Jean Jones Morris ’70, Tobie’s roommate senior year, says that Tobie “operates with complete integrity and is always respectful of others, regardless of their point of view…. While she respects and embraces tradition, she is also able to change course as times and circumstances require.” Alice Woodson Smith ’70, Tobie’s roommate for two of her four years at Wells, says of her, “Without a doubt, her goal was, and is, to ensure that the exceptional liberal arts education she received at Wells is available to those who follow her.”

After graduating from Wells with a degree in psychology, Tobie worked in the admissions department for Hollins College. In 1975 she was hired by American University in Washington, D.C. as coordinator of their Cooperative Education Program. In more than 20 years at American University, Tobie grew the Cooperative Education Program into a full-service Career Center which became a major recruiting tool for American University. During this time, she also earned her master’s in counseling and Ph.D. in education administration from the university. Katherine Stahl, Tobie’s successor as executive director of the Career Center, remembers that “Tobie’s devotion to Wells was well-known…that her time at Wells helped shape her confidence and perspective. Her confidence helped her throughout her time of leadership at AU, often being the only woman in a room full of university leaders. Fortunately, due to early leaders like Tobie, young women today expect to be leaders in every room.”

In 1998, Tobie moved to a position of senior consultant with Academic Search, placing high-level executives at academic institutions. “The right leader at the right institution is crucial to the future of that institution,” according to Donna Burns Phillips, former director of the Office for Women at the American Council on Education. The Council sponsors workshops for middle managers in academia who want to move up to president. Part of the workshop is a one-on-one session with a search consultant. Tobie, a frequent participant, was very effective and well-received.

Dr. Carol Bresnahan, vice president for academic affairs and provost at Rollins College, feels that the search for college administrators has become very complex; expert advice is needed at every step of the process. Tobie provides that advice but does not tell the search committee what to do; it is their search process. A search takes the time of staff, faculty and administration, and time is, of course, money. A failed search process loses that time and money and also credibility within the academic community. Dr. Stuart Baron, president of the Delaware College of Art and Design, another candidate who has worked with Tobie, says that the real value of a search consultant is guiding the search committee as it defines what it is looking for in a candidate. According to Dr. Jamie Ferrare, managing principal at AGB Search, “Tobie does it right. She leads with an ethical compass that assures everyone involved that the search will be done professionally and always with the best interests of the client institution at the center of her work. “

In 2011 Tobie moved to AGB Search, along with several of her colleagues from Academic Search. In addition to executive searches, they assist with transition planning “with the goal of strengthening institutional governance.” Tobie has recently retired from full-time search and consulting work, and has assumed the title of consultant of counsel. In this role, she will mentor new consultants, represent the firm at national conferences and speaking engagements, and serve as a trusted advisor.

What is impressive about Tobie is not just what she accomplished for Wells College and higher education, but how she accomplished it. Everyone seems to feel that Tobie has a way…

             of bringing people together;

            of confronting the issues, not the personalities;

            of seeing the forest as well as the trees;

            of knowing when to step aside and let others take ownership of the decision.

Many have commented on her tact, clear-headedness and mentoring. She asks tough questions and draws out the answers. She is supportive of the efforts of others and gives unstintingly of her time and expertise. Dr. Thomas Courtice of AGB Search says, “Throughout her career, Tobie has demonstrated the values that Wells College intends for all its graduates: social justice, service to others, and a sense of giving to something larger than self. She has spent a lifetime ensuring opportunities for the growth and development of college-aged young people. Her search efforts… have made a measurable qualitative difference in higher education today, and she has touched the lives of thousands of college students through the work of the presidents she has placed.”

Click here to read Tobie's speech from WCA Award Convocation at Reunion 2015.
The Alumnae and Alumni Award Committee is actively seeking nominees for the Wells College Association of Alumnae and Alumni Award. The Award honors Wells alumnae and alumni of high achievement in professions and careers, in volunteer and community work, in service to their alma mater, or in some combination of these endeavors. Only living alumnae and alumni are eligible and self-nominations are not accepted. Both graduates and non-graduates are considered alumni. Points to be considered in making a nomination are as follows: quality of performance in his or her field of creativity, continuity of effort, leadership skills, willingness to accept responsibility, recognition by his or her community, and loyalty to Wells. Please bear in mind that the research process is lengthy and not all candidates who are reviewed will receive the award. Hence, your nomination must remain confidential. The WCA Award is a significant honor. Its meaning lies in selecting those who have been uniquely empowered by their undergraduate experience – those who see their Wells education as providing a special foundation or sense of direction and whose subsequent contributions reflect distinction on them as well as the College. 
Committee Chair:

Virginia Meeker Munkelwitz '67 

Committee Members: Karen Eckerg Gottovi '62, Lynn Perrott Smith '70, Stephanie Sutton Beavers '79, Megan Donovan '88, Kate LeBoutillier O'Neill '66