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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

Board of Overseers

Board Members



Board of Overseers

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University at New York is advised by a distinguished Board of Overseers. The Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher appoints the members of the Board plus advisory members from SUNY Central Administration.

John P. Cahill (Chair) is an attorney at Chadbourne & Parke LLP. Mr. Cahill previously served as New York Governor George Pataki’s Secretary and Chief of Staff and as the general counsel and then commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. He was also a partner in the law firm of Plunkett & Jaffe.

Gerald Benjamin (Secretary) is the associate vice president for regional engagement and director of The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz. Dr. Benjamin also served as chair of the Department of Political Science and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He has written and commented extensively on state and local government and regional governance with a special emphasis on New York. He is also former director of NY State and Local Studies at the Rockefeller Institute.

Doug Bauer is the executive director of the Clark Foundation. Mr. Bauer was previously a senior vice president with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisor, a vice president at Goldman Sachs and president of the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and The Business School of Columbia University.

Stephen Berger is the chairman and one of the founders of Odyssey Investment Partners, LLC. Prior to joining Odyssey Partners in 1993, he was executive vice president of GE Capital Corporation and executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Mr. Berger served as chairman of the New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, executive director of the New York State Emergency Control Board for the City of New York and chairman of the Board of the United States Railway Association.

Donald Blinken served as the U.S. ambassador to Hungary from 1994 to 1998. Ambassador Blinken was chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York, president of the Mark Rothko Foundation, president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and served on the Board of the New York Public Library. He co-founded the investment and venture capital firm of E.M. Warbug, Pincus & Co.

Mark Bodden is an adjunct faculty member at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU. Previously, he served as the vice president and program director for the Rudin Foundations and managing director of Binder and Binder. He, additionally, led the corporate giving program at Philip Morris Companies (presently Altria) and has more than 15 years of public policy experience in Washington, D.C., and Albany. He is a fellow at the Public Affairs Institute in Washington and currently serves on the Board of Philanthropy New York.

Richard Brodsky is a senior fellow at Demos and NYU Wagner. He previously served 14 terms in the New York State Assembly where he chaired the Committee on Environmental Conservation and the Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions.

Gavin J. Donohue is the president and chief executive officer of the Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. (IPPNY), a statewide energy trade association. Before joining the association, he served as executive deputy commissioner for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Prior to that, he served as assistant secretary to Governor George E. Pataki and as campaign director for the successful 1996 $1.75 billion Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act.

Dall Forsythe is an adjunct professor of finance at NYU Wagner. He previously held faculty positions at Columbia University, the Kennedy School at Harvard, the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College (CUNY), and the University of Albany (when he was also a senior fellow at the Rockefeller Institute of Government). Dr. Forsythe served as the budget director for the State of New York and for the New York City Board of Education as well as the managing director in Lehman Brother’s public finance department.

Karin Goldmark is a consultant on education policy. Ms. Goldmark previously was the executive director for new initiatives at the New York City Department of Education and was the executive director of College Summit New York. She was also vice president at the New York City Leadership Academy.

Henry M. Greenberg is a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Mr. Greenberg previously served as Counsel to former New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, General Counsel for the New York State Department of Health, Counsel to the Lieutenant Governor of New York State, and an Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) for the Northern District of New York.

Kathryn Haslanger is the chief executive officer of the Jewish Association Serving the Aging. Ms. Haslanger has served previously as a senior vice president, community benefit and external affairs, of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and as vice president for health policy at the United Hospital Fund. She was the deputy commissioner at the Human Resources Administration in New York City.

Karl Rethemeyer is interim dean of Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany. Dr. Rethemeyer’s research interests include social networks, their impact on social, political, and policy processes, and the methods used to study such networks. Dr. Rethemeyer received his doctorate in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. At the University at Albany, he has also served as chair of the Department of Public Administration and Policy.

James (Jim) R. Tallon, Jr. is a nationally recognized health care policy leader and president emeritus of the United Hospital Fund of New York, the nation’s oldest federated charity. He previously served as the chairman of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, as chairman of the board of The Commonwealth Fund, and secretary/treasurer of the Alliance for Health Reform. He is a member of the board of the Institute on Medicine as a Profession. He was formerly a member of the New York State Board of Regents. Mr. Tallon served in the New York State Assembly for nineteen years, beginning in 1975. He was chair of the health committee from 1979 to 1987, and majority leader from 1987 to 1993.

Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., is the founding director of the University at Buffalo Center for Urban Studies and is a full professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the School of Architecture and Planning. Dr. Taylor is also the coordinator of the department's Community Development and Urban Management Specialization.

Paul Tonko is the representative for New York’s 20th Congressional District and former member of the New York State Assembly. He is serving his fifth term, after first being sworn into Congress in 2009. Congressman Tonko serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the oldest standing committee in the House, created in December of 1795. He is the first upstate New York Democratic member to serve on the committee since Leo O'Brien, who resigned the post in October 1966. As a member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, Congressman Tonko also serves on the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, which has jurisdiction over nondefense federal scientific research and development.

Randolph F. Treece was appointed magistrate judge to the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York in 2001. Mr. Treece is the first African-American to be appointed to the federal judiciary in the Northern District of New York and the first person of color to be appointed or elected to the judiciary at any level, state or federal, in 104 years in eastern, upstate New York. Prior to his appointment as magistrate judge, Mr. Treece served as counsel to the Office of the State Comptroller in H. Carl McCall’s administration and directed and coordinated all aspects of the Division of Legal Services in accordance with the comptroller’s overall goals, objectives, and philosophy. He earned a Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School in 1976 and promptly commenced a private practice, specializing in criminal law and litigation. Mr. Treece will also serve as an advisory member of the Institute’s (yet to be announced) new Center for Law and Policy.

Cynthia Rivera Weissblum is the president and CEO of the Edwin Gould Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Rivera Weissblum served as CEO of Results Collaborative Group, Ltd., a consulting firm dedicated to effective philanthropy and program development. She served as CEO of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), one of New York City’s first mentoring and college preparatory programs for underserved high school students and as director of the New York State Mentoring Program.

James Wetzler is currently a consultant to Deloitte Tax LLP, New York City and an adjunct professor of Law at NYU. From 1988 to 1994, he was commissioner of Taxation and Finance for New York State. He served as president of the North Eastern States Tax Officials Association (NESTOA) and the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA). Dr. Wetzler is a graduate of Harvard University and received a Ph.D. in Economics in 1973.

Advisory Members

Carl Hayden (Chair Emeritus) is an attorney and former chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees. Hayden was elected to the New York State Board of Regents in 1990 and was elected chancellor in 1995. He was named chancellor emeritus of the Board of Regents in April 2002 after 12 years on the Board.

Elizabeth Bringsjord (Advisory Member) is vice provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the State University of New York, System Administration. Dr. Bringsjord also served as interim provost at SUNY. As vice provost, she leads the office responsible for system-wide academic planning and policy development, program review and assessment, and campus accreditation support. Dr. Bringsjord leads transformational work underway across SUNY in the areas of academic excellence, strategic enrollment planning, mobility, diversity, teacher preparation, and more.

When the Board of Overseers was established in 2013, Chancellor Nancy Zimpher commented on its importance. “SUNY is leading the nation on a broad range of research and policy issues, and the Rockefeller Institute is the ideal organization to guide our future endeavors and ensure that New York State remains at the forefront,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “As we continue to educate students for 21st-century careers, bring today’s top research discoveries to market, and create and attract more jobs for New York, the Board’s insight will be a critical component of the state’s public policy agenda moving forward.”

Board Chair Carl Hayden added, “As the public policy arm of the State University of New York since 1981, the Rockefeller Institute has become a trusted resource on fiscal issues, education, intergovernmental relations, health care, and more. With this rich history as a foundation, the Rockefeller Institute is primed to play a larger role in informing and shaping policy in New York and throughout the nation, and we look forward to getting started.”