Amherst Magazine

Three Alumni Join Board of Trustees

By Rebecca Ojserkis ’12

Walter Donovan ’85, Julie Segre ’87 and Jim Tsai ’85 are the newest members of the Amherst College Board of Trustees.

Donovan, a history and political science major at Amherst, is the chief investment officer and senior managing director of Putnam Investments in Boston.

Appointed by the trustees, Donovan describes himself as “an ardent champion of the Amherst community because of the support it gave me to pursue a better life.” After working his way through high school at Phillips Exeter Academy (which Tsai also attended) and Amherst, Donovan grew committed “to helping others share in the dream Amherst
afforded,” he wrote in a biographical statement.

In addition to serving on the Amherst board, Donovan is a trustee of Cathedral High School, a private inner-city school in Boston, and Phillips Exeter. He has also founded and supported numerous financial assistance funds for students’ educations.

The alumni body elected Segre and Tsai.

Segre is a researcher for the Human Genome Project in Bethesda, Md. She also directs a flagship project at the National Institutes of Health that explores the diversity of microbes on healthy and diseased human skin. A mathematics major, she graduated summa cum laude from Amherst before earning her Ph.D. in genetics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Segre is interested in the role of science in a liberal arts education. “We need both to provide future scientists with a well-rounded education and to provide non-scientists with a good understanding of how science contributes to our society,” she wrote in her  biographical statement.

Tsai is the chair/chief of ophthalmology at the Yale University Medical Center in New Haven, Conn. After graduating magna cum laude from Amherst, he received an M.D. from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University.

 “[A]n Amherst liberal arts education is best able to prepare tomorrow’s leaders for utilizing scientific and technological advances in an effective, efficient and ethical manner,” Tsai, a neuroscience major, wrote in a personal statement. “Amherst’s opportunities have never been greater to become a world leader in reshaping the future of liberal arts education here and abroad.”