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New Trustees - Brian Cobb, Sarah Flanagan and Hugh W. Thompson III
(L to R) Brian Cobb, Sarah Flanagan and Hugh W. Thompson III recently were named to new leadership positions on the Beacon College Board of Trustees. The 11-member board governs the college, which was founded in Leesburg, Fla. in 1989.

LEESBURG — Beacon College appointed three holdover members of its 11-member Board of Trustees as officers: Brian T. Cobb, vice president and treasurer at the Charles F. Kettering Foundation; Sarah Flanagan, vice president for government relations and policy development at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; and Hugh W. Thompson III, retired president of Cutrale Citrus Juices USA.

“The Board’s new leadership affords Beacon new and meaningful insight into the worlds of non-profit management and finance and higher education policy,” said George J. Hagerty, president of Beacon. “It has been the board’s ambition to strengthen and diversify its membership so as to advance and shepherd an institution of growing quality, scope, and reputation.  The entire college community is delighted that Mr. Cobb, Ms. Flanagan, and Mr. Thompson have invested their considerable talents and experience in the college’s governance.”

Cobb, who will chair the board, brings more than a quarter-century of experience in financial management for higher education and not-for-profits. At Charles F. Kettering Foundation, a Dayton, Ohio-based group that develops and publishes research on citizenship in democracies, Cobb also chairs the management committee and its committee on international research. Prior to the Kettering Foundation, he was vice president for finance and planning at Franklin Pierce University and vice president for finance and administrative services at Olivet College.

He holds a master’s degree in organization management from Antioch University. He also completed an executive management program at Harvard Business School.

Cobb currently also serves as treasurer on the board of directors of the Sustained Dialogue Institute in Washington, D.C.

Flanagan was tapped vice chair and boasts more than 30 years of higher education policy and planning experience. Since 1994, she has piloted the government relations department at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Her focus is government regulation, student financial assistance and tax policy. 

Prior to NAICU, she served Rhode Island U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell as the professional staff member for higher education on the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities. Flanagan also worked as staff director for the Senate Subcommittee on Children, Families, Drugs and Alcoholism under former Connecticut U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd.

Flanagan received her M.A.T. degree from Rhode Island College. She currently also serves on the Board of Trustees of Mary Baldwin College in Virginia and is a Trustee Emerita at Providence College in Rhode Island.

Thompson will serve as secretary/treasurer of the board. An experienced food and beverage industry executive, he brings more than 40 years of business experience, most recently with Cutrale Citrus Juices USA — the largest orange juice processor in the U.S. — where he retired as president in 2015. Prior to that, he worked for 27 years at the Coca-Cola Company, rising to senior vice president for finance for Coca-Cola Foods.

He is past president of both the Florida Citrus Processors Association and the Southwest Epilepsy Association in Houston, Texas. 

Thompson is a Texas Christian University graduate.

Beacon College’s Board of Trustees is responsible for setting the institution’s strategic direction in broad strokes, for directing critical investments in personnel and infrastructure and for providing support and oversight to the president and other members of the leadership team. With 320 students and nine academic programs, Beacon is the first college or university accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students with learning disabilities, ADHD and other learning differences. It is nationally recognized as a topflight institution for accommodating and preparing students who learn differently to prosper in a global economy.

Beacon was founded in Leesburg in 1989 by parents who decried the barren postsecondary scholastic landscape for high school graduates with learning disabilities. Because of the college’s legacy as a parent-founded institution, several members of the board are chosen from among accomplished alumni parents.