Adelphi University Board Chair Ron Lee '67 gives the behind the scenes of the board of trustees answering questions about what they do, and how others can get involved.
Behind the scenes with Adelphi University Board of Trustees Chair
We all know what a board of trustees is. But what exactly does the board do? How can you get involved? How much work does it take?
To find out, we spoke with Board Chair Ron Lee ’67. Born and raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Lee attended Erasmus Hall High School, famous for producing such celebrities as Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. He was able to attend Adelphi thanks to a full track and-field scholarship. He ran, played sports,enjoyed fraternity life and majored in history and political science. “I got a terrific education, I had a fabulous time and I met wonderful people,” he said.
Lee married, raised two daughters and, after a short stint teaching high school and coaching sports, joined Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company in 1971. He built a successful business, Lee, Nolan & Koroghlian LLC. After retiring in 2010, he became a trustee and, in 2016, chair. Today Lee and his wife spend winters in Florida. He enjoys playing golf, spending time with his three grandchildren and, of course, serving as Adelphi’s board chair.
What is the role of the board of trustees?
We want to make sure the University is doing the right thing, that the money is being spent properly. We talk about the issues—anything from enrollment to academic affairs, finance and advancement. We have different committees for each of those areas. At the meetings, we ask questions, oversee what’s going on and vote on major issues. President Riordan has set a very strong vision, detailed in Momentum: The Strategic Plan for Adelphi University 2015–2021. She is executing it exceptionally well. We support her and give her the resources to achieve this vision.
What do board members do?
You serve on two of eight committees and attend quarterly meetings. Before meetings, you get a tremendous amount of material to read, review and absorb so that you come to the meeting prepared.
How about the board chair?
I am a member of all the board committees and attend as many committee meetings as possible. I communicate almost daily with President Riordan. Even when I’m in Florida, the president knows that if she needs me, I will jump on a plane tomorrow morning and be there. It makes my job as chair easy, because she’s running the show. But it is not my job to manage. I don’t decide if it is a snow day. That’s up to the executive team.
What is it like to work with President Riordan?
She is dynamic, has tremendous leadership skills and is excellent at executing. I can’t imagine an easier person to work with.
How did you get involved with the board?
After I retired, I joined the President’s Advisory Committee. We met twice a year and gave our views on various subjects. After that, I was asked to join the board.
What do you like about being board chair?
I’m learning something new, which is the business of higher education. I feel that I contribute to overseeing the University as we continue to do wonderful things at Adelphi.
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