By Sophie Foster
Washington College invited Michelle Nichols Gibbons-Neff ’95, Dr. Nayef Samhat, and Michael Woodfolk ’88 to the Board of Visitors and Governors.
According to the College’s website, the three new trustees assumed their roles on Friday, July 1, and will retain them until the end of their term in June 2028. During this time, they will provide leadership, perspective, and philanthropic contributions to the College alongside other members of the board.
“Trustees…are people who have some kind of affinity for the college,” President of the College Dr. Mike Sosulski said. “Sometimes they’re alumni, sometimes they’re parents, sometimes they’re people involved in philanthropy that know the college’s work well…and care about it thriving.”
The board, which consists of 36 members, meets four times annually to strategize how the College can continue to succeed, according to Dr. Sosulski. There are three ways in which trustees are selected: by the alumni board, by the governor of Maryland, or by the Board of Visitors and Governors itself.
Two of the College’s new trustees — Gibbons-Neff and Woodfolk — are WC alumni. According to the College’s website, Gibbons-Neff graduated in 1995 with a degree in political science, and Woodfolk graduated in 1988 with a degree in history. Both were involved in campus student life; Gibbons-Neff was a member of the women’s rowing team and the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, and Woodfolk played varsity lacrosse and served on the Kirby Stadium Committee.
Presently, Gibbons-Neff is the executive vice president of Bank Services Corp (BSC) America, a company which manages vehicle auctions and appraisals, gave her charitable and philanthropic experience, according to its website. According to The Daily Record, she worked with BSC America to raise $100,000 in funding for the American Cancer Society this year.
Woodfolk, meanwhile, is president of the Darden School Foundation, which, according to its website, is “an independent nonprofit organization responsible for raising and stewarding philanthropic funds for the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.”
Woodfolk also works to sustain relationships with stakeholders — notably, alumni — at the University of Virginia, a responsibility he will now be tasked with at WC. According to the Darden School of Business’ website, he “is passionate about volunteer service,” and currently serves as an advisor for Harlem Lacrosse and The House, Inc., two nonprofits based out of New York City and Washington, D.C., respectively.
“Really, [trustees] are volunteers,” President Sosulski said, pointing to volunteer work of this caliber as indicative of the time, energy, ideas, and philanthropic contributions to be anticipated from the College’s trustees.
Dr. Samhat, the third of the newest trustees echoed this sentiment, identifying a “shared purpose: to make the institution even stronger, and to touch the lives of the students who [attend WC].”
Currently, Dr. Samhat is the president of Wofford College, where President Sosulski worked as provost prior to accepting his position as president of WC. Dr. Samhat describes President Sosulski as “not only a professional colleague but a friend,” and he hopes to “support the administration and the president’s goals.”
“To be able to serve is an honor, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve President Sosulski, serve the board, and serve the students,” Dr. Samhat said.
In addition to his work at Wofford College, Dr. Samhat serves as the chair of the Annapolis Group of Liberal Arts Colleges, of which WC is a part. The organization’s website details a belief that “a liberal arts education offers students the most valuable preparation for a lifetime of meaningful and productive work in an ever-changing world.”
Member colleges, guided by Dr. Samhat’s insights, work to provide ideal learning conditions and opportunities for students attending liberal arts institutions.
“Ultimately, fundamentally, what we’re about is educating students and graduating them into the world,” Dr. Samhat said.
Dr. Samhat, Gibbons-Neff, and Woodfolk have been trustees for the College for two months now, and inquiries about the Board of Visitors and Governors’ trustees or functions can be directed to Assistant Secretary to the Board Victor Sensenig at firstname.lastname@example.org.