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Alumni News

New Board Members Bring Expertise and Passion for Education to the Montclair State University Foundation

Posted in: Alumni News and Events

Eager to share in the work of providing financial resources for Montclair State University and its students, three new board members of the Montclair State University Foundation — Susan Head ’75 MA, Nadine Leslie, and Lester E. Taylor III ’97 – are ready to bring their expertise and passion for education to their roles.

During her long career working with not-for-profit organizations as part of Wells Fargo’s trust department, Susan Head ’75 MA helped bring foundation funding to the University to support the John J. Cali School of Music Building Fund, the Cali Connect Program, and the Shanghai Quartet Scholarship. “It was a very rewarding experience,” she notes.

Head – who was recognized with the University’s Carpe Diem Award in 2006 and received the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award at the Graduate School’s Convocation ceremony – sees her board membership as a way to support both the arts and social justice. “It is an opportunity to work for the things that I am most passionate about,” she says.

For Nadine Leslie, CEO of SUEZ North America, membership on the Foundation Board fits well with her mission to have a positive impact on people’s lives. “Investment in education has such a great impact on society as a whole,” she notes. “Education is such a strong area of interest for me. If I can make a difference talking to young students and young women, if I can inspire them, then I want to do it.”

Leslie has been learning about the University through her son, who is studying accounting at Montclair State, and she is looking forward to taking a deeper dive. “I want to understand the challenges and opportunities,” she says. “I also plan to incorporate what I have learned through board memberships at other organizations. I hope to bring a fresh perspective, perhaps a new way of questioning and new solutions.”

Lester E. Taylor III ’97, Partner at Florio Perrucci Steinhardt Cappelli Tipton & Taylor, is deeply committed to building a better, more equitable society through education. A former Mayor of the City of East Orange (2014-2017), he chairs his firm’s Education Practice Group. “It is an honor and a privilege to be appointed to the Foundation board,” he says. “I feel that I have come full circle, from my days as a Montclair State admissions ambassador!”

“It is a pleasure to be in the company of such a distinguished group of volunteers,” Taylor continues. “For too many New Jersey students, the pipeline from high school to college to career is nonexistent. Montclair State answers that need by providing them with a top-quality, affordable education. It is important for us, as a board, to ensure that every motivated student has an opportunity to earn a Montclair State degree.”

“I am thrilled to have these three passionate advocates of Montclair State’s mission as part of our board,” says Greg Collins ’79, chair of the Montclair State University Foundation Board. “Susan, Nadine and Lester are ready to work with us to ensure that our students receive the stellar education that they deserve.”

Colleen Coppla, the University’s Vice President for Development, agrees. “It is an honor to work with volunteers who are so excited about the University and so eager to do whatever they can to help our students. Their efforts, and their generosity, will have a profound impact on Montclair State.”