A Message from Judith Campisi ’80, Russell Sage College Trustee and Presidential Search Committee Chair

With deep gratitude to retiring Russell Sage College President Christopher Ames for the stability and collegiality he brought to the college, and great optimism for the college’s future, I am honored to lead the search for Sage’s 11th president. 

For more than 100 years, Russell Sage has provided affordable and high-quality private education, with a focus on making higher education accessible to underserved populations. I am confident that Sage is in a strong position to attract a dynamic and inspiring new leader who will continue the college’s legacy of smart and sustainable growth and positive social impact.

I look forward to working with the presidential search committee, Diversified Search Group, and each of you in the wider community of college stakeholders as we select the next leader of Russell Sage College.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the open forums and responded to the survey about the critical attributes our next college president should possess. 

I will communicate with you regularly as the search moves forward. In the meantime, please find the search committee and a proposed search timeline listed below. 

All nominations and information should be sent directly to [email protected] to maintain the integrity of the search and to respect the confidentiality of potential candidates. 


Judith Campisi ’80, 
Russell Sage College Trustee and Presidential Search Committee Chair

Position Description

Search Committee Members

  • Chair: Judy Campisi ’80, Russell Sage College trustee and non-profit consultant
  • Vice Chair: Terry Bentley ’82,  Russell Sage College trustee and business owner


  • John Bennett, M.D., CEO, CDPHP
  • Catherine Hill, Esq., chair, Business & Entrepreneurship, Skidmore College
  • Ronnye Shamam ’64, owner, Shamron Mills
  • Nancy Valley ’81, retired, KPMG
  • Ann Duffield, former trustee and higher education leadership consultant
  • Mary Altpeter, Ph.D., ’71, University of North Carolina, former trustee and chair of The Women’s Institute at Russell Sage College advisory board

Cabinet and Administration

  • Trish Cellemme, vice president of student life
  • Tawana Davis, associate vice president of student life and Wellness, Thrive@Russell Sage
  • Sarah Hunter, executive assistant, Finance and Administration


  • David Baecker, MFA, Visual and Performing Arts
  • Erin Elkins, DPT, Physical Therapy
  • Emilly Obuya, Ph.D., Chemistry
  • Kelly Smith, Professional Education 


  • Deshawn Fleary ’23, Sport Science: Coaching & Mental Performance graduate student, student-athlete
  • Gabrielle Gellys ’24, History major, Student Government Association 
  • Douglas Sato ’24, Childhood Education major

Diversified Search Group Team

Diversified Search Group will support the Search Committee throughout the presidential search. Their role includes providing “best practices” guidance; training the committee on implicit biases; networking with, recruiting, and vetting qualified candidates; and providing reference checks and all due diligence on finalists.

  • Kim Morrisson, Ph.D., managing director
  • Euris Belle, managing director
  • Nancy Helfman, vice president and senior search associate
  • Susan Kart, senior associate
  • Nora Maurer, senior search coordinator

Proposed Presidential Search Timeline

November-December 2023: Needs Assessment and Search Launch

  • Conduct constituent meetings – identify and understand culture and deliverables. 
  • Search kickoff 
  • Position profile crafted, finalized, and approved
  • Develop timeline and search strategy, and conduct targeted research based on culture, organizational needs, and position profile
  • Advertising strategy developed and approved 
  • Place appropriate advertisements and postings

December 2023-February 2024: Outreach, Sourcing, and Selection

  • Search team begins outreach/sourcing/candidate development 
  • Potential candidates identified and evaluated (phone and in-person interviews) by search team (ongoing)
  • Calibration meeting with Search Committee based on developing candidate pool
  • Ongoing search updates with Search Committee co-chairs 
  • Search Committee selects semifinalists

February-March 2024: Interviews and References

  • Profile review meeting to determine candidates to interview 
  • First-round interviews with Search Committee 
  • Finalist campus interviews 
  • Referencing: 360°references conducted on finalist candidate(s)

April-May 2024: Offer, Negotiations, and Announcements

  • Russell Sage College selects chosen candidate
  • Offer structured, extended, negotiated, and accepted
  • Announcement of appointment