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University Board of Trustees elects seven new members

Flank of Nassau Hall
Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

On July 1, the University named seven new members to its Board of Trustees.

The board elected Paul Maeder ’75 and Sarah Stein ’97 to serve as charter trustees; Peter Briger Jr. ’86 and Carla Vernón ’92 to serve as term trustees; and Janeria Easley GS ’16 and Melissa Wu ’99 to serve as alumni trustees. 


Jackson Artis ’20 was elected by the junior and senior undergraduate classes (the classes of 2021 and 2020) and the two youngest alumni classes (the classes of 2019 and 2018) to serve for four years as a Young Alumni Trustee.

On June 30, the following trustees completed their terms on the board: José Alvarez ’85, Azza Cohen ’16, Blair Effron ’84, Brent Henry ’69, Robert Hugin ’76, Derek Kilmer ’96, Thomas Roberts ’85, and Peter Wendell ’72.

The seven new trustees began their terms only days after the board decided to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from the School of International and Public Affairs. In response to the name change, new trustee Carla Vernón tweeted out, “This is a very powerful action.” 

Paul Maeder, a resident of Cambridge, Mass., is a founder and general partner at Highland Capital Partners. He has served as a term trustee at Princeton since 2015. 

Maeder has worked in venture capital for over 35 years and headed many public and private companies as director. He currently serves on the board of Exagrid and as board chair of 2U. Previously, he chaired the National Venture Capital Association during the creation and passage of the JOBS Act, served on the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies, and chaired the boards of BB&N School and the Massachusetts Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Maeder was recognized by the Forbes Midas List as one of the top venture capitalists in the industry and received the Mass Technology Leadership Council Commonwealth Award.

Maeder graduated from the University with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering before earning an M.S. from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard University.


A former Young Alumni Trustee from 1997 to 2001, Sarah Stein, of San Francisco, Calif., is a managing partner at Hall Capital Partners LLC where she is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Management Committee, and Investment Review Committee. She joined the firm in 2002 and was appointed president in 2012. Previously, Stein worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and the Fisher Family Foundation and taught English in Guangzhou, China, for Princeton-in-Asia.

Stein serves on the Princeton Endowment (PRINCO) Board, the San Francisco Day School Board, the Board of Directors and Investment Committee of the Rosenberg Foundation, and the Investment Committees of the Gates Foundation Strategic Investment Fund. She is also a member of the Young Presidents Organization and a trustee at the Breakthrough Collaborative, KIPP Bayview Academy, and the San Francisco Foundation.

Stein graduated from the University with an A.B. in history. She went on to earn an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a master’s degree from the Stanford School of Education.

Peter Briger Jr. is co-chief executive officer of Fortress Investment Group in San Francisco and is responsible for the credit and real estate business. Prior to joining Fortress in 2002, he spent 15 years at Goldman, Sachs & Co, where he was named partner in 1996.

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Briger serves on the Council on Foreign Relations and as chair of the U.S. Soccer Investment Committee. He is a board member for several charitable foundations, including the UCSF Foundation and Tipping Point, a nonprofit organization focused on fighting poverty in the Bay Area.

Briger graduated from the University with an A.B in history and earned an MBA from the Wharton School Executive MBA program.

A resident of the Twin Cities, Minn., Carla Vernón worked as an executive at General Mills for 22 years, serving as corporate officer and president of the Natural and Organic Operating Unit. There, she oversaw the growth of a variety of brands recognized for environmental sustainability leadership in the food industry.

Vernón is currently working on her first book and providing advisory counsel to early stage natural-products startups through her newly founded Inspired Tiger LLC. She also leads the Tiger Sisters Network of Princeton which she co-founded in 2017, an organization bringing together 1,250 Princeton alumnae and students from the African, African American, and Caribbean diaspora. Vernón is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute; a member of the Executive Leadership Council, which focuses on opportunities for Black executives; and a member of the Alumni Society, an organization of Latinx leaders.

Vernón earned an A.B. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University and an MBA from the University of Texas-Austin.

Janeria Easley is an assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. In her research and teaching, Easley specializes in racial and ethnic relations, demography, social stratification, and urban studies.

Easley is the first person elected to the University’s Board of Trustees in the new alumni trustee position created last year for an individual who received a degree from the University’s Graduate College within the five years prior to the year of election.

Easley received her B.A. in sociology and English from Duke University and completed a Vice Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. At the University, she earned her Ph.D. in sociology, with a concentration in demography.

Based in Boston, Melissa Wu is chief executive officer of Education Pioneers, a national nonprofit aiming to recruit diverse talent into education. Since becoming CEO in 2018, Wu has worked to strengthen initiatives focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion. Earlier in her tenure, she oversaw the launch of Impact Fellowship, a 10-month leadership development program.

Wu previously worked as a partner at TNTP, a national education nonprofit that recruits and trains teachers and advances policies and practices for effective teaching; the Boston Consulting Group; and the TEAK Fellowship, an academic enrichment program in New York City that prepares low-income students for success.

Wu graduated from the University with an A.B. in sociology before going on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Young Alumni Trustee Jackson Artis, of Plainfield, N.J., works at AGI and plans to pursue a master’s degree in space systems engineering at Johns Hopkins University in the fall. He was awarded a 2020 Spirit of Princeton Award, given annually to recognize undergraduates for positive contributions to campus life. 

As a University undergraduate, Artis conducted summer research in the Complex Fluids Group led by Howard Stone, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. 

Artis was also involved in several theater-related activities, including as artistic director of Fuzzy Dice Improv Comedy and co-host of All-Nighter, Princeton’s late-night comedy talk show. He is an independent music artist, releasing music under the stage name Ajax the Lesser, and has worked with Princeton’s Ultraviolet Recording Studio. Artis was a residential college adviser at Rockefeller College and a member of the Meal Plan Collective, Club Powerlifting, and Princeton Christian Fellowship.

Artis graduated this May with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering and certificates in Chinese language and robotics and intelligent systems.

Artis is specifically looking forward to the opportunity “to bring the most current ideas from the student body to the board and be sort of a conduit for the two sides of the conversation,” he said in a statement to The Daily Princetonian. As a trustee, he aims to participate in and encourage conversations surrounding racism, sexism, homophobia, and ongoing protests.

As Charter Trustees, Maeder and Stein will serve on the board until 2028. All Term and Alumni Trustees will serve 4 year terms ending in 2024. 

None of the newly elected trustees responded to requests for comment.