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University of Saint Joseph Elects Beth Barton as Chair of the Board of Trustees

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (June 18, 2018) – The University of Saint Joseph’s (USJ) Board of Trustees announced that current Trustee Elizabeth Barton has been elected to serve as Chair of the Board for a term that will run from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020. Additionally, the Board will be welcoming two new Trustees.

“As the University of Saint Joseph begins a new chapter in its storied history with a coeducational undergraduate college, a thriving Women’s Leadership Center, record-breaking enrollment, and new academic majors and athletic teams, these three individuals – with their breadth of professional and personal accomplishments – will help guide the institution in its exciting future,” said current USJ Board of Trustees Chairman E. Clayton “Skip” Gengras Jr.  “In addition, I want to thank the University of Saint Joseph Board of Trustees for its trust in my leadership over the years and in its selection of a very capable, dedicated, and focused new chair, Beth Barton.”

Barton, an attorney with Day Pitney LLP, has more than 25 years of experience in environmental and land use litigation, permitting, and consultation, all of which encompass involvement at the federal, state, and local levels. Her clients are involved in manufacturing, energy, real estate, project development, and restructuring. She provides legal services in support of innovative development projects, including large Brownfield restoration projects in Connecticut, such as the Brass Mill Center in Waterbury; smaller urban initiatives, such as the Learning Corridor in Hartford; and mixed-use projects like the Blue Back Square development in West Hartford.

Barton currently serves on the Academic Affairs and Audit and Risk Management Committees of the Board. She was a member of the 2014 Presidential Search Committee that brought Rhona Free, USJ’s current president, to campus.

The new members of the USJ Board of Trustees, who were elected to terms that run from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021, are: Rohan Freeman, founder and president of Freeman Companies, LLC; and Jeanne B. Merola, retired senior vice president, Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company.

Rohan A. Freeman, PE, LS, is president and CEO of Freeman Companies, LLC, an award-winning company that offers site development, engineering design, and construction services. The firm is involved with several large-scale, transformative public projects, including Dunkin’ Donuts Park – home of the Hartford Yard Goats Baseball team – and supplemental residential and commercial space, part of the $350 million DoNo project. Freeman received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut and is a member of UConn School of Engineering’s Academy of Distinguished Engineers.

Jeanne Merola is no stranger to USJ. She joined the Board in 2003 and was subsequently appointed Board Chair in July 2008, a role she served until 2014; she was named Trustee Emerita in 2016. Merola recently retired from the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, where she held various senior management positions over more than 30 years, including chief operations officer for the Treaty Division. Merola is a graduate of the University of Connecticut where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting.


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The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) offers a wide range of coeducational undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs that combine a professional and liberal arts education with opportunities for mentored research, community service, clinical field work, and internships. Programs are taught on the University’s two campuses in West Hartford and Hartford, Connecticut; at off-campus locations throughout the state; and online. Founded in 1932 by the Sisters of Mercy, the University of Saint Joseph offers degrees with value and values. To learn more, view our website at

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