Unity College bolsters its Board of Trustees

New leadership as trustees elect John Newlin chairman, add new members Johnson, Muzzy

UNITY, Maine — The Unity College Board of Trustees has added two new members with broad experience in business and nonprofits, and elected John Newlin its chair.

The newly elected trustees are Luke Muzzy, of Greenville; and Howard “Chuck” Johnson ’73, of Toano, Va.

Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury praised the board’s selections.

“They are a dynamic group of people who have led successful sustainability efforts through times of change in their organizations,” Khoury said. “They are from business and government, from private and public organizations, from nonprofits and for-profits, and bring a blend of views from inside the school, as alumni; and from outside the school, as thought leaders and entrepreneurs.”

As an independent not-for-profit educational institution, Unity College relies on its board of trustees for a range of functions, from hiring the president to determining the strategic vision of the college and being fiduciary stewards of the institution.

“Unity College is fortunate to have a board of trustees made up of highly skilled professionals, thought leaders, relationship managers, and key donors who have demonstrated a commitment to higher education, sustainability, student success, and to Unity College itself,” Khoury said. “As with all independent educational institutions, members of the Unity College Board of Trustees volunteer because they believe in the mission of the college.”

Newlin, who assumes the chair of the Board of Trustees, was first elected to the board in 2011. He is a former high school teacher, school reform consultant, and educational nonprofit CEO who founded Scatter Good Farm and the Green Futures Institute and is senior advisor at Re-Fridge/Affordable Campus Essentials LLC.

“As a career educator, serving as Board of Trustees chair for an excellent liberal arts college is an exciting opportunity to continue to support educational progress.” Newlin said. “As a citizen concerned about our shared future, to help lead America’s Environmental College is both an honor and an incredible responsibility.”

In 2013, Newlin decided to shift the focus of his work to the climate change issue, becoming co-leader of the Midcoast Maine chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, vice chairman of the Unity College Board of Trustees, and founder of the Carbon Tax Advocates website and blog.

Newlin has worked as a high school teacher, K-12 curriculum coordinator, meeting facilitator, grant writer, workshop leader, adjunct college instructor, school change coach, senior project director at the Great Schools Partnership, and nonprofit executive director at the Maine International Center for Digital Learning. He received his Master’s in Science Teaching in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England in 1983.

“Unity College has already been positively changed by John’s superb blend of sustainability science, educational reform, and nonprofit management skills,” Khoury said. “He also has significant experience in systems design, property management, computer-aided design, business writing, startup management, and as a community leader. He has developed multiple climate-friendly startups, and his work is driven by an entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit.

“I’ve worked with John over the last three years here at Unity and am excited about the direction he’ll continue to bring to the governance of this growing and dynamic institution,” Khoury said.

Newly-elected trustee Chuck Johnson is the principal member for HJ E-Human Resources Consulting Practices, advising small and emerging businesses on their workforce needs.

“As one of the college’s earliest graduates, joining Unity’s Board of Trustees is really coming full circle for me,” Johnson said. “It’s been great to engage more fully; the recent campus improvements and programs are really impressive. It’s safe to say that the college and I have both come a long way since my time there.”

Johnson has spent more than 35 years working for medium to large businesses in the field of Human Resources, domestically and internationally, and has experience in managing effective global human resources organizations and programs. Johnson has held senior executive positions for several large companies including Pitney Bowes, Thermo Electron, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Novitex.

His expertise includes HR transformation, leading organizational change, implementing work re-engineering initiatives, and introducing continuous improvement techniques.

“Chuck is a dynamic figure who and a successful alum who knows the trajectory of Unity College personally,” Khoury said. “It’s always great when our graduates let us know how Unity is doing, and we expect Chuck to be able to shape that direction from the unique perspective he brings as a trustee, one of the first alumni of the college, and a seasoned business executive.”

Johnson is married with two grown children.

Muzzy — who oversees real estate matters in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont as senior land asset manager for Weyerhaeuser — is responsible for identifying and evaluating lands that have recreational, conservation and development uses, working closely with state and local government, and community leaders.

A lifelong resident of Greenville, Muzzy is very involved in his community and state, currently serving as president of the Moosehead Lake Economic Development Council. He is a 1983 Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Maine.

“As a lifetime resident of Maine, I am very excited to join the Unity College Board of Trustees,” Muzzy said. “My appreciation for Unity College is rooted in my love for the state of Maine, its people and especially the beautiful natural places. I see Unity as focused on helping Maine – and our country, really – with finding a balance that sustains communities and conserves our natural resources for future generations.”

His civic interests include posts with the Moosehead Lake Kiwanis Club, Maine Woods Consortium, Moosehead Marine Museum, Eastern Maine Healthcare Charities, Maine Community Foundation, the Greenville Board of Selectmen, C.A. Dean Memorial Hospital, Moosehead Lake Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Maine Foundation. Muzzy is married with two grown children.

“Luke brings a depth of nonprofit experience blended with success in the business world that’s hard to match,” Khoury said. “As a lifelong Mainer and fourth-generation resident of Greenville, I doubt there’s anyone who knows more about Maine and its place in the world than Luke. I am thrilled to have his perspective as a Unity College trustee.”

Incoming Vice Chairwoman Sharon Reishus is a thought leader with 25 years of energy sector experience, providing strategic advice, concise insights, and forward-looking analysis to senior leaders within North America. Her clients include C-suite executives, boards of directors, and stakeholders in the sector who need to identify, understand, and act on the key issues and trends constantly reshaping the energy industry.

Reishus, Senior Research Director for IHS Energy, is former chairwoman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission and holds an M.B.A. in Strategic Planning and Management from the Wharton School and a B.S. in Applied Earth Sciences from Stanford University.

Incoming Treasurer Michael Pierce has served as the President and Treasurer of Allen Insurance and Financial since 2012, directing the overall strategic growth and management of the company and overseeing the firm’s financials.

Pierce has implemented employee benefit programs and qualified retirement plans for businesses throughout New England for the Guardian Life Insurance Company, and was a financial consultant with Coopers & Lybrand LLP in their Boston office of tax and financial planning.

Pierce holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the Boston College Carroll School of Management and a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the Suffolk University Law School.

Continuing as secretary to the board, P. Andrew Hamilton is chairman of the Economic Development and Government Relations practice group at Eaton Peabody. For more than 25 years, Hamilton has counseled clients in central and coastal Maine regarding general environmental counseling, regulatory compliance, natural resource permitting, zoning, and land use matters. He has also served as general counsel to many of Maine’s municipalities.

The appointments were made at the Unity College Board of Trustees meeting in May.

About Unity College

The first institution of higher education in the nation to divest from fossil fuel investments, Unity College is committed to educating the next generation of environmental professionals. Sustainability science lies at the heart of its educational mission, with 16 environmentally focused undergraduate majors and an M.S. of Professional Science degree offered online. For more information, visit unity.edu.

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