The Denison University Board of Trustees announces two new trustees will join the board as of July 1. Lisa Coleman, chief diversity officer and special assistant to the president of Harvard University, and a member of the Denison class of 1988; and Jeffrey Masten, professor of English and of gender and sexuality studies at Northwestern University, and a member of the Denison Class of 1986, have accepted invitations to deepen their participation in the life of their alma mater. In addition, John Canning, chairman of Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC, and a member of the Denison Class of 1966, has been elected to Life Trustee status.
“We are thrilled to welcome two such accomplished and engaged alumni to our Board of Trustees,” said Denison President Adam Weinberg. “Lisa and Jeff are outstanding leaders in their fields. They will lend their keen intellect and their diverse life experiences to their work on the board. Their insights will be valuable assets to work of the college as we inspire and educate our students to become critical thinkers and citizens who are active and successful in their professions and personal lives.” He added, “We also are grateful that John Canning will continue to share his learning and experience with us as a Life Trustee after more than 10 years of service on the board.”
Coleman recently has accepted a position as New York University’s senior vice president for Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation, for the university’s eleven campuses. She will report directly to the president and be part of the Senior Leadership Team, and in close collaboration with Provost Katherine E. Fleming, lead the development and implementation of a strategic plan to systematically advance equity, diversity and inclusion across all NYU schools and units. Currently, Coleman is Harvard University’s inaugural chief diversity officer and special assistant to the president, and is responsible for developing a strategic approach, as well as supporting initiatives and platforms, for promoting diversity and inclusion across Harvard University’s schools and programs. She has served in this role since 2010.
Coleman has worked with numerous organizations, universities, and colleges prior to Harvard, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, Merrill Lynch Inc., the City University of New York, the College of Wooster, Vassar College, and Tufts University. She directed the Africana program at Tufts University, and also served as that institution’s first senior diversity officer where she worked with the president, provost, and other senior leaders to create and implement university-wide diversity strategies. Before joining Tufts in 2000, she taught in the City University of New York system. She has received numerous awards for teaching and academic leadership, and for her work on equity, inclusion and diversity.
Named the Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence and a recipient of the E. LeRoy Hall Award for Distinguished Teaching in Northwestern's Weinberg College, Masten in his academic work focused on Renaissance English literature and culture, drama including Shakespeare, the history of sexuality, and the history of authorship and collaboration. He has authored several books including “Queer Philologies: Sex, Language, and Affect in Shakespeare's Time,” “Textual Intercourse: Collaboration, Authorship, and Sexualities in Renaissance Drama,” and “Language Machines: Technologies of Literary and Cultural Production,” co-edited with Peter Stallybrass and Nancy J. Vickers. In addition, he edited the collaborative play “The Old Law” for “Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works.” Masten has served as a trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America and was a co-founder of Denison Pride, the college’s LGBTQ alumni network.
Masten discovered a previously unknown first-edition copy of Christopher Marlowe's 1594 tragedy “Edward II,” and published the finding in the Times Literary Supplement in 2012. In December 2016 he received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue his research for a scholarly edition of Marlowe's play.
Canning served as chief executive officer of Madison Dearborn Partners, a position he held until 2007, at which time he became chairman. Over its 23 year history MDP has invested more than $17 billion, achieving a compounded annual return of 20 percent. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Corning Incorporated, Exelon Corporation, Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, and Sage Products, LLC, and is a Life Trustee of Northwestern University.
Canning’s extensive community service includes his time as co-chairman of the Big Shoulders Fund, director and chairman of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, director and former chairman of The Economic Club of Chicago, trustee and chairman of the Museum of Science and Industry, former chairman of The Chicago Community Trust, trustee and former chairman of The Field Museum, and former director and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. As co-chairman of the Big Shoulders Fund, Canning has helped raise more than $100 million for Chicago’s inner-city parochial schools, which serve 24,000 students, 80 percent of whom are minorities, 62 percent are from families who are living at or below the poverty level. In addition to this, each year, the Cannings also provide 100 scholarships to inner-city students. They are the principal sponsors of WINGS (Women In Need Growing Stronger), which provides more than 40,000 nights of shelter and other comprehensive services to abused women and their children.