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Board elects two members, honors three life trustees

May 26, 2020
Side-by-side portraits of Martin Sanders and Elizabeth Ward.Martin Sanders and Elizabeth (Betsy) Ward were elected to the University of Rochester Board of Trustees. (Photos provided)

At a virtual May meeting, the University of Rochester Board of Trustees elected two new board members and recognized three individuals who become life trustees.

“I am thrilled to welcome Betsy Ward and Martin Sanders to the board,” said Board Chair Rich Handler ’83. “It’s during an unprecedented time in the University’s history that they are joining us, and their expertise and commitment to the University are needed now more than ever. I also want to express my gratitude to our new life trustees for their distinguished service over many years. We look forward to their continued engagement with the University.”

University President Sarah Mangelsdorf said, “I wish to welcome our newly elected members to the board and thank them in advance for their commitment. I’m also very grateful to our newest life trustees, all of whom have made invaluable contributions to the University and provided wise counsel and support to me in my first year as president.”

With current circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, both new and life trustees will be recognized in person at a later date.

New trustees

Martin Sanders is cofounder and CEO of Io Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held company based in Santa Ana, California, that develops treatments for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and various cancers. He is also the executive chairman of the company’s board of directors.

Sanders, a medical doctor, has had a long career in clinical medicine, basic laboratory research in immunology, drug discovery research, pharmaceutical product development, patient care, venture capital investment, and serial company formation in the life sciences. He holds many patents, including one that was granted in March 2020 for treating nervous system disorders. Dedicated to bringing new treatments to people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, cancer, migraines, and blindness, he has served as an advisor to more than 50 biopharmaceutical companies in the areas of preclinical and clinical product development since 1992.

Sanders is a passionate supporter of the arts and believes that art and music play a role in good health. In 2018, he and his wife, Corazon, established the Martin E. and Corazon D. Sanders Professorship in Voice at the Eastman School of Music in appreciation of their daughter, Laura’s, voice teacher. Laura earned her bachelor’s degree in 2016 and a master’s degree in 2018 in voice and opera from Eastman. Through the Sanders’s generosity, Eastman celebrated the first installation of a performance faculty member into an endowed position. In addition, Martin Sanders is a member of the Eastman School of Music National Council and the University of Rochester Volunteer Task Force.

He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago; served as an intern and resident in internal medicine at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis; and completed three postdoctoral fellowships in allergy/clinical immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in rheumatology at Johns Hopkins Medical School, and in cancer immunology at the immunology branch of the National Cancer Institute. He is board certified in internal medicine and in subspecialties allergy/clinical immunology and rheumatology.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Ward ’86 is the chief financial officer at MassMutual, leading the finance department at the nearly 170-year-old life insurance company into a new era, with a focus on connecting finance to broader strategic planning. Before becoming CFO in 2016, she held several prominent positions at the Springfield, Massachusetts–based company, including chief enterprise risk officer and managing director at a couple of their subsidiary asset management firms.

Ward serves on the US Department of the Treasury’s Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance and has been a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and the Fellow Society of Actuaries since the early 1990s. She has been a key contributor to global risk management through her work leading various industry groups. She has also served on federal committees on supervisory requirements and research, focusing on the effective groupwide supervision of insurance groups and seeking to narrow the gaps among global regulatory regimes.

Ward earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and Spanish from the University, while also studying flute through lessons at the Eastman School of Music. Music continues to play an important role in her life. She serves on the board of directors of the Community Music School of Springfield and continues to perform on flute in local classical ensembles, and as an alto singer with chamber choirs and chorales in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

In November 2019, Ward was the keynote speaker at the University’s Simon Women’s Conference. In 2012, she was named by Diversity Journal as a Woman Worth Watching in Financial Services, and in 2014, she was cited by Insurance Risk magazine as CRO of the Year.

Life Trustees

At the May meeting, the board approved the transition of three individuals to life trustee status. Together the individuals have provided years of distinguished service to the board and their philanthropy has supported the creation of new facilities, scholarships, professorships, and other initiatives throughout the University.

Kathleen Murray ’77 has been a board member since 2010, serving at different times on the Academic Affairs, Audit and Risk Assessment, Executive, Facilities, Human Resources, and Nominations and Board Practices committees. In her role as trustee, she has lent her business expertise to assist leadership in complex strategic, financial, and managerial issues, as well as supported key University goals through service on the Diversity Advisory Council, the NY Metro Women Steering Committee (for which she is chair emeritus), River Campus Libraries National Council, and Meliora Campaign Cabinet Chair.

In Arts, Sciences & Engineering, she established the Kathleen McMorran Murray ’74 Endowed Scholarship Fund and Rochester Annual Fund. She has also exemplified generosity to other units of the University, particularly to the College Annual Fund, Diversity Program Fund, and the River Campus Libraries Annual Fund.

Francis Price ’74, ’75S (MBA) has provided business, financial and strategic advice to the University since he joined the Board in 1995. He has served on the Academic Affairs, Executive, Executive Alternate, Financial Planning (now Strategic and Financial Planning), Health Affairs, Nominations and Board Practices, and Student Affairs (now Student Life) committees during his tenure.

Price has additionally served on the Memorial Art Gallery Board of Managers, Diversity Initiative Campaign Committee; Hajim School of Engineering Visiting Committee; Los Angeles Regional Cabinet; and the Multicultural Alumni Advisory Council Executive Committee. In 2016, he volunteered his time to serve as the inaugural chair of the Public Safety Review Board.

He has generously supported the David T. Kearns Center, African-American Institute Gift Account, and the College Annual Fund.

E. Philip Saunders has provided distinguished service to the University as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2015. He has encouraged valuable discussions and principled engagement in a wide range of issues affecting the University. He has served with distinction on the Health Board’s Affairs Committee, and served as Rochester Philanthropy Council chair; Medical Center Campaign Cabinet cochair; Medical Center Meliora Campaign vice-chair; and George Eastman Circle Rochester Leadership Council chair.

Saunders has provided extraordinary philanthropic support to the University. In 2011, he contributed $10 million to the University of Rochester Medical Center to support neuromuscular disease and translational research. The Saunders Research Building, home to the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, clinical research programs, and academic departments, was named in his honor. His gift also supports the Saunders Family Distinguished Professorship in Neuromuscular Research and the E. Philip and Carole Saunders Professorship in Neuromuscular Research. He served as a cochair of the Medical Center’s campaign in support of The Meliora Challenge and honorary chair of the George Eastman Circle Rochester Leadership Council. He greatly influenced and encouraged philanthropy with the creation of the highly successful George Eastman Circle “Plus One” outreach concept, inspiring other units of the University to adopt the concept to increase engagement.

Read more

University sealMembers of the Board of Trustees
See a full list of the Rochester’s Board of Trustees, the University’s governing body.
University sealRichard Handler ’83 elected board chair
Richard Handler ’83, the CEO and director of the Jefferies Financial Group, has chaired the board since 2018.



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