By Richard Burnett
Their distinguished careers have taken them around the globe; their travels spanning from international capitals to small-town America. Now, after decades of milestones, their journeys have brought them to Beacon College as the newest members of the Board of Trustees.
At first look, their backgrounds may appear dissimilar: A career educator, a leader of an historic think tank, and a nationally lauded obstetrician/gynecologist. On further review, however, it’s clear they have much in common: A vision for Beacon’s work with students with learning differences and a drive to help that work thrive.
“I have a passion for Beacon’s mission,” said Dr. Jennifer Braaten, a long-time professor, former college president and nonprofit educational executive. “I’m impressed with the school, the faculty, the students, their stories, and what they’ve been able to accomplish. They are truly students of promise, who can succeed when given all the right tools and the support they need from parents, mentors and faculty.”
Braaten brings a successful background in higher education to her new role. After a teaching career, she launched a career in college administration, serving as president and other executive roles at colleges across the country. She worked extensively with students with learning differences; managed overseas campuses in Ireland, Sweden and Argentina; and served on boards of national education groups.
For John R. Rogers, the opportunity to join the board also presented a fresh, new challenge after a long career in public policy research and global consulting. From 2000 to 2018, he was executive vice president of The Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., an iconic think tank created a half century ago. Prior to that, he established KPMG Consulting in Washington and worked abroad for the United States Agency for International Development and Price Waterhouse.
In recent years, he has worked as a consultant for several nonprofits in investment decision-making, environmental advocacy and fundraising.
“With any organization, my goal is to help it be everything it can possibly be,” he said. “The Beacon College mission is very worthy and special. Some institutions have tried it, but in some cases, not successfully. Beacon seems to have cracked the code, and they have a strong momentum. It’s still small, still new, but I would love to see them prosper, develop, and establish an even stronger national brand.”
In a complementary way, Dr. Alfred H. Moffett Jr. brings a more locally-focused mindset to Beacon’s board. The retired OBY-GYN practiced in Leesburg for 46 years until retiring and turning his practice over to his son last year. In past years, he worked closely with President George Hagerty in health-care matters, helping set up Beacon’s health-care resources for students and faculty.
After Moffett’s retirement last year, Hagerty approached him about joining the board — an invitation he readily accepted. Beacon’s mission hits home in a personal way for Moffett. He has a grandson who is on the autism spectrum. He noted that President Hagerty and wife Dr. Oksana Hagerty have helped the Moffett family respond to his grandson’s needs.
“I’ve been here a long time and I know most everyone in this community,” Moffett said. “I can be a local liaison for the school to the people in Lake and Sumter counties, and introduce the administration to influential people in the area, who can help in any endeavor that will help these wonderful young people in their education.”
Hagerty welcomed the new trustees to the board, which has helped continue to elevate Beacon “as the premier institution of higher learning for collegians with learning and attention issues.
“The three members of the most recent class of trustees bring to the board and the community with which they are entrusted the wisdom and expertise gained from many years of service in medicine, higher education, and public advocacy,” Hagerty added. “Few liberal arts colleges of any size or duration are able to boast the caliber of governing board members as those who most recently have joined us and continue the legacy of outstanding trusteeship.”