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Provost Mary B. Marcy recently announced that Bard College at Simon’s Rock has welcomed four new members to its Board of Overseers. "We are pleased to have Joan Countryman, alumni John McWhorter '81 and Eli Pariser '96 and Dr. John Kendrick Hall actively involved with us. Their expertise and perspective will surely play a dynamic role in shaping the future of the College."


"Joan is an educator with a wide range of teaching and administrative experience. She is the former head of Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island, and has served as the interim head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa and the Atlanta Girls’ School in Atlanta, Georgia,” continued Marcy. "She brings an incredible amount of expertise to our campus."

Countryman received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and a master's degree in city planning from Yale University. She studied at the London School of Economics as a Fulbright Scholar. Her publications include Writing to Learn Mathematics, Black Images in American Literature, and "Teaching Math to Girls" in Looking Ahead, Independent School Issues and Answers. Countryman is a current trustee of Sarah Lawrence College, and also serves on the boards of the Rhode Island Public Radio, Paul Cuffee School (RI), Women and Infants Hospital (RI), and The National Center for Independent School Renewal. Joan and her husband Edward Jakmauh, an architect and principal with Ballinger Associates, live in Providence.


"John is intelligent, insightful, engaged, and occasionally irreverent -- in short, he's the model of a Simon's Rock alum," said Marcy. "He is also a world class linguist and a nationally recognized commentator on issues ranging from race to lost languages. His experience in a variety of intellectual forums and his personal insight will bring new energy and ideas to the Board."

McWhorter is the senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He writes a regular column in the New Republic, is the author of the New York Times bestseller Losing the Race, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Nonfiction. McWhorter has appeared on numerous national TV and radio shows, including Meet the Press, The Bill Moyers Journal, The Colbert Report, and NPR's Fresh Air and Talk of the Nation. A well-known and widely published linguistics scholar, Mr. McWhorter is the author of Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue. John entered Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 1981 and earned his AA degree from Simon’s Rock in 1983. He later earned his PhD in linguistics from Stanford University in 1993 and became associate professor of linguistics at UC Berkeley after teaching at Cornell University.


Eli Pariser is the former executive director of; a grassroots political organization. His leadership began following the September 11 attacks, which spurred him to establish the MoveOn Peace Campaign. Soon after its founding, the campaign joined with, one of the nation’s first successful virtual political communities. "Eli's role as the executive director of was really an extension of the commitment to justice and to personal responsibility that he exhibited as a student at Simon's Rock," said Marcy. Under Pariser's leadership, grew to boast more than four million members and has raised over $30 million from more than 350,000 small donors. "Eli's innate sense of fairness, strategic approach to problem solving, and intellectual acumen, has served him exceptionally well as a professional. We are fortunate to share his insight."

Pariser is also the author of the book 50 Ways to Love Your Country, and has been a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report. Pariser recently stepped down as the executive director and now serves as the chair of the board for MoveOn. He graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 2000 with a BA in law and political science.

John McWhorter and Eli Pariser join alumni Douglas Ahlers '77, Loren AliKhan '99, Michael J. Peters '76, and Sally Unger '73 on the College's Board of Overseers.


"Dr. Hall is the son of the College’s founder, Elizabeth Blodgett Hall, and replaces his sister, Elizabeth Richardson, on the board of overseers. His presence upholds his family's long standing connection to the College and serves to strengthen their continuing stewardship."

Dr. Hall holds a PhD in marine geophysics from Columbia University's Lamont Geological Observatory and has conducted extensive research in global tectonics. He has played an integral role in the geophysical mapping of Israel's Mediterranean offshore, the Dead Sea, and the northern Red Sea, and has collaborated with Russian scientists on two books: Geological Structure of the Eastern Mediterranean and Geological Framework of the Levant. Dr. Hall has held professorships at the University of Rhode Island, the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev-Sede Boquer, and the University of New Hampshire where he was a visiting scholar. Dr. Hall is currently preparing the launch of the Griffon 2000TD, a hovercraft that will be based at the UNIS university in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. During the winter of 2010, the craft and a team of scientists will work with UNIS students to cross the Atlantic and work in the inaccessible areas of the Lincoln Sea—last visited by the 3 billion ton iceberg called T-3. Unanalyzed seismic data taken in 1971–74 suggests that this area was struck by an asteroid. Dr. Hall’s hovercraft will be able to determine the origin and history of the enigmatic Alpha-Mendeleyev Ridge, and the effects of this suspected impact.

Simon's Rock is part of the Bard College system under the leadership of President Leon Botstein, and operates independently within that system under the leadership of the provost and vice president with the guidance of the Board of Overseers.