Phoebe C. Boyer ’89, P’19, ’23’s long Wesleyan journey has taken her from being an undergraduate worker who helped at Board of Trustees meetings to her upcoming role as the University’s next Chair of the Board.
Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees named Boyer as Chair of the Board for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2024. The decision was made during the Board’s November 18 meeting.
“I am honored to assume this responsibility and look forward to continuing to contribute to the Board’s collaborative efforts in support of this extraordinary, and ever important institution,” Boyer said.
“I am so grateful that Phoebe is willing to continue to serve alma mater in this new leadership capacity,” said President Michael S. Roth ‘78. “Her generosity, thoughtfulness and organizational acumen will be enormously helpful to the University.”
“I am delighted to welcome Phoebe Boyer as the next board chair. During her nearly 12 years as a board member, she has demonstrated the ability to listen to, and engage with, the trustees and other members of the Wesleyan community who provide many diverse viewpoints. Her skills have been developed through a long professional career managing complex organizations in the not–for-profit world. Wesleyan will very much benefit from her abilities, and I look forward to working with her in her new role,” said John M. Shapiro ’74, Board Governance Committee Chair.
Boyer, currently a vice chair of the Board, will succeed John B. Frank ’78, P’12, whose term ends in June 2024. He has been on the Board for 16 years, serving as Chair for four. “I would also like to thank John Frank for the extraordinary job he has done addressing the needs of the University, especially given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shapiro said.
“I’m following in the footsteps of very accomplished chairs, such as John Frank and Donna Morea ’76, P’06, Hon. ’23. They have done a tremendous service for Wesleyan,” Boyer said.
She also praised President Roth’s leadership, cultivating an environment in which rigorous scholarship and open thought are fundamental principles. “Michael is doing a beautiful job of making sure that intellectual diversity and free speech are at the heart of what we are about,” Boyer said.
Boyer, who is currently president and chief executive officer of Children’s Aid, sees her role as board chair as someone who will bridge the variety of constituencies represented by the board. “We have different perspectives in the boardroom in the same ways we do in Wesleyan’s classrooms. As Chair I will ensure that people feel heard and engaged, and that we make better decisions as a result,” Boyer said.
Wesleyan taught Boyer that it is always possible to make a difference in the world. By being exposed to different ideas, by carefully examining the issues, by seeing the interplay between disciplines, Boyer learned her approach to solving complex problems.
“Ever since I was a prospective student, there has been something magical about setting foot on Wesleyan’s campus — like I found my people and myself. Over the years, I’ve watched so many, including my own children, come to Wesleyan and have that same magical connection,” Boyer said.
Boyer holds a deep and meaningful bond with the University, one that goes beyond her experiences in the classroom or through extracurriculars. Her history starts with her grandfather, a first-generation scholarship student at Wes. She met her husband Todd Snyder ’84 at a Wesleyan event. Her children came to Wesleyan. And, yet, Boyer said that each person had their own unique Wes experiences. “There is no one version of Wesleyan,” Boyer said; “that’s part of what makes it so special, and a place I am excited to continue to serve.”
“Wesleyan is a part of who I am,” Boyer concluded. “I feel fortunate to be able to give back to a place that has given me so much.”