Bell Tower Committee

The Bell Tower Committee is a group of dedicated trustees, faculty, staff and alumnae & alumni who are focused on four key priority areas in support of Wells College.

The Wells College Board of Trustees formed the Bell Tower Committee in early 2020 to generate and vet ideas to support the financial sustainability of Wells College, and to assist the president and his senior leadership in presenting a set of recommendations for further action to the full board of trustees.

The committee is chaired Marie Chapman Carroll ’75, who was elected on May 14 as the College’s next board chair, succeeding Carrie Bolton ’92.

The Bell Tower Committee is organized into a core group that is focused on four key priority areas, as well as subcommittees representing each of those four areas:

  1. Auxiliary academic programs and student life enrichment initiatives that provide additional revenue through increased enrollment or greater retention;
  2. Non-academic offerings (over the near- and long-term) that expand ancillary, earned income opportunities;
  3. Fundraising and alumnae/alumni engagement activities that significantly boost and sustain grant revenue, donations and/or enrollment and retention;
  4. An information technology and digital learning initiative focused on enhancing Wells’ technology systems capability and developing an advanced digital learning plan.

 How You Can Contribute Your Ideas

The Bell Tower Committee invites all members of the Wells community to send submissions for consideration across the first three priority areas.

Ideas may be submitted through the email address; a sub-group of the Bell Tower Committee will thoroughly review each and every submission). 

The committee is particularly encouraging submissions related to any of the following:

  • Academic and student-life offerings that do not need approval either from our accreditor or from New York State’s Department of Education. These offerings can be either new non-major programs, or initiatives that connect existing programs or classes in new and interesting ways (e.g., summer learning programs, non-degree-bearing or non-certificate post-baccalaureate programs, “field schools,” other newly marketable academic initiatives, etc.);
  • Non-academic business ideas that take advantage of under-utilized campus buildings and surrounding property — especially during the summer and other “off seasons”;
  • Fundraising opportunities (e.g. foundation or corporate grants for which Wells may be eligible, alumnae/alumni connections to foundations or corporations that fund higher education proposals, and so forth);
  • And, of course, alumnae & alumni engagement strategies that can be independently carried out by volunteers with only minimal staff support.

How Ideas Are Collected and Vetted

As we noted above, all contributions will be reviewed by a member of the Bell Tower Committee. Committee members may contact contributors of submissions with follow-up questions as the group develops its recommendations.

The group’s original composition consisted of eight trustees, including the WCA president and all three elected alumna trustees. As noted above, the committee is chaired by Marie Carroll, a nine-year former trustee and the incoming board chair whose term begins July 1, 2020.

In addition, at the request of the committee, Provost & Dean of the College Cindy J. Speaker selected three faculty members to join the core committee; additional members have been invited to the leadership group and/or subcommittees based on their areas of expertise. Please see the membership roster below:

Bell Tower Committee Leadership

Marie Chapman Carroll ’75, Chair of the Board of Trustees (committee chair)
Lindsay Burwell, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Mary Pastore Cryan ’84, Trustee
Katie Fong ’06, Alumna Trustee
Joanne Kelley ’83, Alumna Trustee
Randy Kissell, Trustee
Heather Kowalski ’90, Alumna Trustee
Michelle Landers, Manager of Corporate and Foundation Relations
Laura McClusky, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
Amy Cerand McNaughton ’86, WCA President
Vicki Keller Panhuise ’74, Trustee
Erinn Ryen, Assistant Professor of Business
Stephen Zabriskie, Trustee


Auxiliary Academic Programs and Student Life Enrichment

Katie Fong (lead)
Lindsay Burwell
Marie Carroll
Phillip Guingona, Assistant Professor of History
Laura McClusky
Kevin Miles, Director of the Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship

Ancillary Revenue

Randy Kissell (lead)
Katie Fong
Kevin Miles
Stephen Zabriskie

Fundraising and Alumnae/Alumni Engagement

Joanne Kelley (lead)
Sloane Bailey ’87, Non-Trustee Member
Mary Pastore Cryan ’84
Eliza Heppner ’06, Non-Trustee Member
Sarah Jankowski ’92, Trustee
Randy Kissell
Michelle Landers
Amy McNaughton
Vicki Panhuise
Pamela Sheridan ’86, Director of Leadership and Planned Giving
Rachel Snyder ’11

IT Initiative

Vicki Panhuise (lead)
Sloane Bailey ’87
Jon Gans, Educational Technology Coordinator
Michelle Landers
Erinn Ryen
Christin L. Schaaf ’99, Non-Trustee Member
Dan Wentworth, Director of Information Technology

Moving Forward in Support of Wells

Other individuals may be invited to participate in subcommittee meetings as work proceeds. We are so grateful to the committee members for sharing their time, enthusiasm and commitment to help see Wells through its current challenges, and we look forward to sharing more details about its progress with you in the near future.