By Wendy Hankle
At its spring meeting held May 17–19, the Ithaca College Board of Trustees voted to appoint Dave Lissy ’87 and Jim Nolan ’77 as the next chair and vice chair of the board, respectively. Their three-year terms begin June 1.
Lissy has been on the board since 2011 and Nolan since 2012. Lissy, who has served as vice chair for the past three years, succeeds Tom Grape ’80, whose tenure on the board spans nine years, the last six as chair.
“Ithaca College has had a profound impact on my life, and being selected as chair is an incredible honor and privilege,” Lissy said. “I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for IC, and I look forward to leading the board in partnership with Jim, someone I have a tremendous amount of respect for.”
Lissy served for 17 years as the chief executive officer of Bright Horizons Family Solutions, the world’s leading provider of employer-sponsored childcare and early education, dependent care, and educational advisory services. He is now executive chair of the company’s board. Bright Horizons experienced tremendous growth under Lissy’s leadership, and now employs more than 33,000 people in six countries. It is the only company in its field consistently named to Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 best companies to work for in America.
Lissy graduated from IC with a bachelor’s in management from the School of Business, and during his time on the board has served on the Executive, Governance, and Institutional Advancement/Campaign Committees.
“The college is very lucky to have Dave serve as chair of the board. He has tremendous integrity and an impressive track record of leadership at Bright Horizons, doing something that’s highly caring, highly sensitive, and very important for families around the globe,” Grape said. “There is no better person that I could possibly hand the reins to.”
Nolan, who is both an alumnus of the college and the parent of a 2001 grad, has served the board as chair of the Governance Committee and the Assessment and Compensation Committee. In 2016–17, he led the Presidential Search Committee, a 15-member group which unanimously recommended to the board of trustees the hiring of Shirley M. Collado as the ninth president of Ithaca College. In 2017, Nolan retired from his position of executive vice president of Bimbo Bakeries USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo, one of the top commercial bakers in the world. He earned a B.S. in health education (teaching) from Ithaca College in 1977.
Honoring Grape’s Distinguished Service
During the board’s May meeting, the trustees voted unanimously to award Grape chair emeritus status in recognition of his distinguished service to the board and to the college. Grape is only the fourth chair emeritus in the college’s 125-year history.
Grape’s tenure as chair brought strategic change to the board. The first three years of his leadership focused on a deep evaluation and assessment of how the board operated, including adopting governance best practices, the framework of the meetings, new trustee orientation, committee structures, regular evaluation practices, risk management oversight, and inclusive excellence. The last half of his tenure built upon that foundational work, continuing to improve engagement, expectations, transparency, and communications. Grape says he’s proud of many things related to his time on the board — notably, efforts around increasing the college’s endowment and giving to the Annual Fund; placing a high priority on affordability and keeping tuition increases low; and managing presidential transition, including the board’s selection of Collado as president.
“It has been a great honor to serve as chair of the board, and as a college trustee,” Grape said. “I have been grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to meet and work with the many wonderful people who make Ithaca College a very special place.”
Photo: Incoming Board of Trustees chair Dave Lissy ’87 (left) and President Shirley M. Collado present Tom Grape ’80 with a special gift during the board dinner on Friday, May 18. The framed photo collection and 2018 Presidential Medallion represent historic moments in Grape’s service as board chair, which spanned from 2012 to 2018.