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Eight new members selected to join Alumni Board

By Tara Lang, with Allie Higgins

The AU Alumni Board is proud to introduce its newest crop of at-large members, following its first-ever open application process. Each of the eight alumni bring a fresh diversity to the board, representing all five schools and colleges and the law school, five decades of graduating classes, seven states (including the District of Columbia), and one country.The new members will join the existing board, which consists of president Brian F. Keane, SPA-SOC/BA ’89; vice president Erin Fuller, SPA/BA ’93, SPA/MPA ’94; past president Carey Earle, SOC/BA ’88; and at-large members Tim Bennett, KSB/BS ’66; Rick Evanchec, SPA/BA ’02; Jonah Gitlitz, KSB/BS ’55; Margo Herron, SPA/BA ’85, KSB/MBA ’03; and Sandra Walter-Steinberg, KSB/BSBA ’86.

Meet your new Alumni Board members:

J. Vincent Chandran, SIS/MIS ’05 & WCL/LLM ’07   

Currently working as an independent consultant, Vincent Chandran has served as visiting fellow at the Center for International Environmental Law and as a barrister in London with the Council of Legal Education.He received an LLB from the University of London and is fluent in four languages.Vincent resides in Washington, D.C.

Thomas Donovan, SIS/BA ’97 & SIS/MA ’98

Thomas Donovan is a managing partner with the Iraq Law Alliance, the largest and oldest law firm operating continuously in Iraq.He heads the Baghdad and Erbil, Kurdistan offices and splits his time between the Middle East and Tacoma, Wash.He received his law degree from New York Law School and attended intensive language institutes at American University in Cairo, the Universieit van Amsterdam, and Georgetown University, rendering him fluent in Dutch and Arabic and proficient in Turkish.While a student at AU, Tom was a member of the swim team and is still an athlete, having completed two solo trans-continental bicycle rides.

Chip Griffin, SPA/BA ’94

A jack of all trades, Chip Griffin is the chief executive officer and founder of Eaglon, a media production company, and chairman and co-founder of Custom-Scoop, a media intelligence service.  An expert in the field of media and communicatins, his writing has appeared in leading publications such as the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Miami Herald.  Fellow AU alumni might be fans of Chip’s prolific blogs,, and Beyond Ward Circle, a blog specifically for and about alumni of American University.  Based in Bow, N.H., he has also been involved with more than a half dozen successful start-up companies.  Chip serves on SPA’s Dean’s Advisory Council.

Larry H. Pockers, SPA/BS ’96

Larry Pockers is a partner with Duane Morris, LLP, a full-service law firm, and represents clients in complex commercial litigation.  He also volunteers his legal services for the Support Center of Child Advocates and the Pennsylvania Bar Association.Larry received his law degree from Temple University School of Law and currently resides in Philadelphia.

Keisha Bolaji Happy, CAS/MAT ’07

A former teacher in the D.C. public school system, Keisha Happy now serves as an academic scheduling coordinator with the University of Maryland in Rockville.She has a great deal of experience in higher education, having worked at both Florida International University and Montclair State University.She received her BA from Drew University and lives in Bethesda, Md.

Judith K. Meritz, SPA/BA ’73

Currently a partner with Blank Rome LLP, Judy Meritz previously worked as the assistant general counsel for the American Red Cross and was responsible for regulatory affairs.She holds an MA from the University of Michigan and a JD from Pace Law School.Judy serves as first vice chair for the Law Journal, published by the Food and Drug Law Institute, and as a member of the advisory board for the Medical Devices, Law, and Industry Report.She resides in D.C. and is the president of AU’s SPA Alumni Association.

Ronald Boots Nissenbaum, KSB/BS ’68

Philadelphia alumni chapter and stewards the Zeta Beta Tau/Donald Brenner scholarship.  Perhaps the men’s basketball team’s biggest fan, he drives down to D.C. from his home in Philadelphia to attend games whenever possible.

Laura A. Stanbridge, SIS/BA ’84

Marabella, Spain.  A global nomad, she has headed the World Trade Division of General Automation in Paris, created a French-speaking television station in New York City, and has worked in production with CASE Television.Laura is a founding member of Women in Business on the Costa del Sol and was elected president of the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain in 2006.She holds two certificates of expertise in European Integration with the European Economic Commission, as well as a degree in arts management from SUNY Purchase.

Griffin notes, “I applied for a seat on the Alumni Board to help to enhance the vast and often underutilized resource represented by AU graduates.I hope that my experience as an entrepreneur will provide some valuable perspective and useful resources to the board’s activities.”Says Laura Stanbridge, “Hopefully, I can bring an international perspective to the Alumni Board by providing contacts and ideas as AU continues to grow in the academic community.”