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Governor Lincoln D. Chafee Announces Ten Appointments to Board of Governors for Higher Education

Providence, RI – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today announced ten appointments to the Board of Governors for Higher Education. The Board will be Chaired by Lorne A. Adrain, a Providence financial executive, philanthropist, and community leader.

“These appointments represent an opportunity to bring to the Board of Governors fresh new thinking and energy to confront the challenges higher education faces in these difficult economic times,” Governor Chafee said. “These individuals represent a wide spectrum of backgrounds and a diversity of perspectives, opinions, and talents. But what they share is a commitment to higher education in the State of Rhode Island – and all of them are determined, as I am, to see our public colleges and universities become national models of success.”

“Over the last several years, funding for Rhode Island’s public institutions of higher education has not only lagged behind other states, but has actually been reduced dramatically,” Governor Chafee continued. “Given this cycle, a dynamic approach is needed, and I have full faith that, under Lorne’s thoughtful leadership, these new appointees will support me in my efforts to develop the strategies and programs necessary to bring significant improvement to our higher education system.”

In addition to Chairman Lorne Adrain, the other appointees are: Joan C. Abrams; Dr. Antonio Barajas; Amy Beretta; William C. Maaia; Eva-Marie Mancuso; Jane B. Sherman; Michael M. Tikoian; John A. Walsh; and Joseph B. White. Thomas Rockett, whose term expires in 2012, will remain on the Board.


Lorne A. Adrain, CLU (Chairman)

Lorne Adrain earned a BS from the University of Rhode Island in 1976 and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1983.

Adrain is Managing Director of Ballentine Partners, LLC, an independent wealth management firm. He previously led, for eighteen years, an insurance practice focused on estate planning and corporate applications of life insurance and serving entrepreneurs and businesses across the country. Prior to that, Adrain spent five years as an executive at AT&T and ten years assisting firms with startup plans, turnaround strategies, and equity financings. He is the founder of the initiative to establish National Neighborhood Day, and was the founder of KindMark, a leader in the creation of software and technologies that advance philanthropy.

Adain is author of the series The Most Important Thing I Know, four books of inspirational thoughts he gathered from leaders throughout the world to support charities.

Adrain is co-founder and served as Chairman of Social Venture Partners – Rhode Island, an organization that engages successful entrepreneurs in innovative community initiatives. He is also co-founder of, which aims to bring the voice of citizens and taxpayers together for better governance. He served as founder and Chairman of RACE for Performance Excellence, which initiated and sponsored the Rhode Island State Quality Awards program. He is on the Board of the Business Innovation Factory.

Among his other numerous positions: Vice President and Director of the Harvard business School Alumni Association; Board member of Big Picture Schools; founding Director of the Beacon Mutual Insurance Company; Executive Committee member of the URI Foundation; and Board member of Rhode Island Foundation and Chairman of its Professional Advisory Council.

Adrain was selected by Northwestern Mutual Life as “Most Exceptional Volunteer” in the USA in 1998 and was honored again with its National Agent Community Service Award in 2006. He was honored with the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2010, by the Rhode Island foundation with its Inspiring Partner Award in 2005, by Leadership Rhode Island with its David E. Sweet Leadership Award in 2007 and by Theta Chi Fraternity as its outstanding undergraduate in the nation in 1976.

As a young man he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Adrain is an avid mountaineer, having climbed Mounts Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Aconcagua since 2004, raising funds to improve schools and economic conditions in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. He lives in Providence, RI with his wife, novelist Ann Hood. They have four children.

Joan C. Abrams

Joan Abrams is Professor of Practice and the Program Director for the Master’s Degree in Communication Management at Simmons College in Boston.

Abrams graduated from Simmons College in 1971 with a degree in Communications and earned an MS in Communications Management from Simmons and an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She then pursued a career in public relations, and joined Xerox as one of the first women recruited for sales and marketing in the New England area. Abrams went on to a career in marketing at Honeywell, Inc. where she rose to the position of Director of Market Support/Communications. She then established and managed a marketing and communications consulting practice, Executive Communications, in Bristol, RI, before joining the Simmons faculty in 1998.

Abrams has been active in advocacy public relations concentrating in the arts, environment, healthcare, and historic preservation. Prior to joining the Simmons Communications faculty, she served as President and Volunteer Executive Director of the Festival of Ballet in Rhode Island, President of Save the Bay, and she recently completed the job as Chair of their $10 million capital campaign.

Abrams is currently a Trustee of Blithewold, a historic property and arboretum in Bristol, Save the Bay, and is on the Board of Directors of Women and Infants Hospital Foundation, Community Preparatory School, and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. She also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Kennedy School at Harvard. Abrams participates in the community through memberships in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Boston Women Communicators (BWC), and as a speaker at conferences on the environment, the arts, historic preservation, and non-profit management.

In addition to teaching in the Master’s in Communications Management program, Ms. Abrams teaches in the undergraduate Communications Department at Simmons, advises 30 undergraduate students in addition to her 110 graduate advisees, and is also the faculty advisor for the Simmons College Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Ms. Abrams is the co-chair of the College Wide Faculty Fiscal Affairs Committee, and also co-chairs a subcommittee of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation processes.

Antonio Barajas, MD

Dr. Antonio Barajas is an Emergency Room physician at Rogers Williams Medical Center in Providence.

Dr. Barajas’ extensive medical background includes service as the House Physician at Kent County Hospital in Warwick, as an Emergency Room physician at Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket, as an Emergency Room physician at Miriam Hospital in Providence, as a physician with Women’s Care Inc., as a field investigator for the RI State Medical Examiner’s Office, and as a primary care and Emergency Room physician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence.

Dr. Barajas is involved with the Brown University Medical School’s mentoring program, is President of the Rhode Island Mexican-American Association, is a Board member of Hospice Care of Rhode Island, and is Chairman of the Rhode Island Coalition for Immigrants and Refugees at the International Institute in Providence.

Dr. Barajas has been involved with research on Guillain-Barre Syndrome and post-transfusion HIV seroconversion. He received his BS in Microbiology and Chemistry from the University of Rhode Island and his MD from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara School of Medicine, during which time he also studied at Prince George’s County Medical Center in Maryland. Dr. Barajas has also took part in the Fifth Pathway Program and the Brown School of Medicine, interned in surgery/medicine at Miriam Hospital, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Miriam Hospital. He is a resident of Central Falls.

Amy Beretta, Esq.

Amy Beretta is a 1989 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law.

In 1997, she formed a law office performing work exclusively for, and employed by, MetLife Auto & Home. Her office is responsible for litigating cases in state and federal courts in Rhode Island and interpreting insurance contract language. She manages and oversees office administration and she acts as an arbitrator in personal injury litigation.

Beretta serves on the Rhode Island Bar Association Ethics Committee, is a Board member and Treasurer for the Defense Counsel of Rhode Island, and served on the Rhode Island Supreme Court ADR Task Force. At the local level, she has served as a Board member, secretary, and treasurer of the Providence Animal Rescue League and, along with her husband, has chaired the Bishops Ball for St. Joseph Health Services. Beretta previously served on the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, to which she was named in 2005, and Chaired the Board’s Appeals Committee.

Beretta lives in East Greenwich with her husband, Richard, and their two children.

William C. Maaia, Esq.

William C. Maaia is an attorney in general practice with William C. Maaia & Associates, the firm he founded.

Maaia earned a BA from Providence College and his JD from Suffolk University School of Law, in addition to Collective Bargaining certification from Rutgers University and Negotiations training from Harvard Law School.

Maaia’s first employment after law school was with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). During his time with RIDE, Maaia served as a labor relations officer, which included work with the Board of Regents, and was project manager for a collaborative of six states that developed comprehensive manuals on fact-finding, mediation, and arbitration in public education. Maaia also served for twelve years on the East Providence School Committee, four as Chairman, during which time he organized the “Blue Print Task Force,” which produced a report – at no cost to the city – identifying significant educational issues.

Maaia has also served as Special Legal Counsel to the Rhode Island Ethics Commission; Legal Counsel to Municipal Water Supply Board; Legal Counsel to Full Channel TV, Inc.; Special Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island; Special Contracted Legal Counsel to three Rhode Island Attorneys General; Special Lecturer, Community College of Rhode Island; Special Instructor, Providence College; and Instructor of English, Bristol Community College.

Maaia is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association, the U.S. District Court, the Rhode Island Trial Lawyers’ Association, the American Arbitration Association, and the Art Clubs of Westport, Massachusetts, and Providence, respectively.

Eva-Marie Mancuso, Esq.

Eva-Marie Mancuso is Managing Partner with the law firm of Hamel, Waxler, Allen & Collins. Before joining the firm, Mancuso served as Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island and, prior to that, Assistant District Attorney for Bristol County, MA. She also has served as Adjunct Professor at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and as Faculty Advisor to the National College of District Attorneys.

Mancuso earned a BA from the University of Rhode Island (URI) and a JD from Suffolk University Law School, where she was Student Bar Association President and earned the Outstanding Graduate Award for Public Service.

Mancuso is a member of the RI Bar Association and the Women’s Bar Association, is a former Vice President of the URI Alumni Association, and served as a CCRI Foundation Trustee. She was the RI Representative to the National Lawyers/Teacher Partnership, and is currently a Civil Trial Specialist with the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Mancuso has been honored as the RI Business and Professional “Woman of the Year,” is a recipient of the South County “Business Woman of Achievement” Award, and received the “Outstanding Service Award” from the URI Alumni Association.

Jane B. Sherman

Jane Sherman served for eight years on the staff of the Providence Plan, an organization that works to improve the economic and social well-being of Providence, its residents, and its neighborhoods. Sherman was a Project Director with the organization, overseeing the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Project.

Before joining the Providence Plan, Sherman was Director of Development for Hospice Care of Rhode Island, and prior to that was an Elementary School Teacher in Chicago and Providence public schools. She received her AB from Mount Holyoke College.

Sherman is a committed and active participant in community service, having volunteered her time in support of dozens of civic and non-profit groups, boards, committees, and initiatives in the areas of education, the environment, public health, transportation, the arts, and community improvement. Among her many past community service positions are: member and Chair of the Providence City Plan Commission; member of the Downcity Task Force; Director of Arts in the Square; Advisory Board member and Capital Campaign Co-Chair for Dorcas Place Parent Literacy Center; Chair of the Olneyville Strategy Committee; Director of the South Side Community Land Trust; Director of the Blackstone Park Improvement Association; and Vice President of the League of Women Voters of Providence and President of the League of Women Voters of RI.

Sherman presently serves on the RI Rivers Council, the RI Greenways Council, the Narragansett Bay Commission Community Advisory Council, the RI Transportation Advisory Committee, the Internal Review Board of Women & Infants Hospital, and is a member of corporation for Rhode Island Hospital.

Sherman is a recipient of awards and distinctions from the American Planning Association, the Environmental Protection Agency, the RI Department of Environmental Management, the Soil & Water Conservation Society, and the RI Greenways Council. During Providence’s 350th anniversary celebration, Sherman was honored by the city as one of 350 outstanding Providence community leaders.

Michael M. Tikoian

Michael Tikoian earned a BS from Bryant College, completed the Information Systems program at Roger Williams University, which certified him a Novell Engineer, and earned an MBA from Providence College.

Tikoian joined Piccerelli, Gilstein & Company, LLP in 1979, and has been with the company ever since. Tikoian manages the firm’s audit, review, compilation, and other accounting and tax engagements for a wide range of clients. Tikoian also founded the firm’s Technology Solutions Group, which helps clients design, install, and maintain technology systems.

Tikoian has been Chairman of the Coastal Resources Management Council since 1996, is a former member of the Governor’s Narragansett Bay & Watershed Steering Committee, a former member of the Leadership RI Finance Committee, a member of the RI Society of CPAs and a fellow of the American Institute for CPAs, a former Chairman of the RI Society of CPAs Cooperation with the Legal Profession Committee, and a former Vice Chairman of the Smithfield School Committee. He resides in Narragansett.

John A. Walsh, Ph.D.

Since 2002, John Walsh has served as a Social Studies educator and Department Chair at North Kingstown High School, where, among other accomplishments, he developed the school’s World History curriculum. Walsh also spent five years as K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator for the North Kingstown School Department.

Walsh currently serves on the Advisory Committee for Educator Evaluation Systems at the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), and previously served as the Civic Education Curriculum Developer for RIDE. From 2005-2010, Walsh also was an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) School of Education. He began his career in education as a Social Studies teacher at Attleboro (MA) High School.

Walsh currently is a member of the RI Civic Education State Panel on the Civic Mission of Schools, and is a former member of the RI State Commission on Civic Education and a former Curriculum Committee Member for the National Council for the Social Studies.

Walsh was a recent inductee to the Rhode Island College (RIC) Alumni Honor Roll, and is a past recipient of a RI Learn and Serve America Grant and a Living Democracy Grant. He is a member of the American Educational Research Association, the American Education Studies Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the RI Social Studies Association.

Walsh has published widely in peer-reviewed education publications and is a frequent presenter and lecturer at education conferences. He received a BA in History/Secondary Education from RIC and a Ph.D. in Education from URI and RIC.

Joseph B. White, Esq.

Joseph White is a Partner with the Providence offices of Nixon Peabody, where he is a member of the firm’s Global Business & Transactions Group, focusing on corporate transactional work and emerging businesses.

White is seated as Municipal Court Judge, Town of North Kingstown. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Trustees of the following organizations: Greater Providence YMCA, Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum, USS Saratoga Museum Foundation, Rhode Island Republican State Central Committee and the Rhode Island Commodores.

White formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Chief Executive Club; the American Red Cross, Western Connecticut Chapter; The Bridge to Independence & Career Opportunities, Inc.; West Bay YMCA; and Danbury Scott Fanton Museum & Historical Society. He has also served as a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors; Rhode Island Technology Council; Brown Enterprise Forum; Progress for America; The Governor’s Pandemic Flu Advisory Committee; and the Federal Executive Council Employee Review Committee.

White’s former civic commitment included serving as Co-Chair of the Beechwood House Senior Center Capital Campaign; Probate Judge, Town of North Kingstown; Juvenile Hearing Officer, Town of North Kingstown; Asset Management Commission Legal Representative, Town of North Kingstown; President, Rhode Island Republican Chairmen’s Caucus; President, Hope Fund; Chairman, North Kingstown Republican Town Committee; Finance Chairman, Rhode Island Republican State Central Committee; and Presiding Justice, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, South Kingstown Lodge.

White earned a BS from Providence College and a JD from the Syracuse University College of Law.

Thomas Rockett, Ph.D. (remaining on Board)

Dr. Thomas Rockett was appointed to the Board of Governors for Higher Education in 2003. Since retiring in 2000, Rockett has worked as a consultant and free-lance author. Prior to his retirement, Rockett served in various teaching and administrative positions for 30 years at the University of Rhode Island. Rockett holds a bachelor's degree from Tufts University, a master's degree from Boston College and a Ph.D. from the The Ohio State University. He serves on the Academic and Student Affairs and the Government Relations Committees.

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