MCLA Appoints 3 New Trustees

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts has appointed three new members to the college’s Board of Trustees.

Appointed to five year terms are Dr. William Dudley, professor of philosophy at Williams College, Shirley Edgerton, residential program director for the Department of Developmental Services of Berkshire County, and Susan Gold, a member of the MCLA Foundation Board of Directors.

“I am so pleased to welcome three wonderful new members to our Board of Trustees,” said Jane Allen ’61, chair of the MCLA Board of Trustees. “I know that each of them will bring great energy, keen insight, and a collaborative spirit to their work supporting the college, its students, and the faculty, staff, and administrators who work tirelessly every day to make MCLA a strong institution and an important part of the community in North Adams, throughout the Berkshires, and across the commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

President of MCLA, Mary K. Grant, Ph.D., said, “Will Dudley, Shirley Edgerton, and Susan Gold each bring impressive professional perspectives and unique talents and experiences to their work with the board. Will is an accomplished scholar with an impressive array of college and community service credentials. In addition to her leadership role with the Department of Developmental Services, Shirley has founded and led important community organizations in the region that work to build community, encourage youth development and educational success, promote the arts, and encourage civic action. Susan has a demonstrated commitment to MCLA through her work with the MCLA Foundation, as well as highly successful philanthropic experience, and deep ties across the community.”

Grant added, “MCLA’s new trustees will help to make a strong board even stronger. I know that Will, Shirley and Susan will join their colleagues on the board in providing important oversight, and will continue the tradition of trustee engagement by getting to know the faculty, our students, and the terrific opportunities offered through the college’s academic and student life programs.”

Dudley,  Edgerton and Gold join incumbent trustees Jane Allen ’61, chair of the Board, Stephen Crowe, vice chair, James Clemmer ’86, Tyler Fairbank, Richard Lamb, Dr. Eugene Leibowitz, Joelle McDonough, and 2010-2011 Student Trustee Jameek Clovie, a senior.

Dudley is a professor of philosophy at Williams College. He has served on a range of college committees dealing with issues of educational policy, student and residential life, and diversity, and as an advisor to first year students. He is a graduate of Williams, and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University.

Shirley Edgerton is director of the residential program for the Department of Developmental Services of Berkshire County. In addition to this work, she is the founder of the Women of Color Giving Circle of the Berkshires, based in Pittsfield, as well as Youth Alive step dance program, which uses the arts as a vehicle to engage young women in educational and mentoring programs. She also is a board member for the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Herbert Lehman College at the City University of New York, and a Master of Education from MCLA.

Gold is an active community volunteer with experience and expertise in development and fundraising who has worked with a number of organizations in Berkshire County, including Northern Berkshire Health Systems, the REACH Community Health Foundation, and Images Cinema. She is a Trustee of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and has been a member and officer of the MCLA Foundation Board of Directors, and co-chair of the Foundation Board’s Ad-Hoc Fundraising Committee. She earned a bachelor’s degree from American University.

The three new trustees fill positions vacated by three trustees who reached the expiration of their terms of service in 2010: Dr. John Chandler, Dr. Gina Coleman, and Jennifer Trainer Thompson. “I am grateful to John, Gina and Jennifer for their service to the college, for their wisdom and guidance, and for their friendship,” said Grant. “I know they will continue to be important members of the MCLA family, and great champions of the college and our unique role as the commonwealth’s public liberal arts college.”

Allen noted, “While we will miss John, Gina and Jennifer, I am confident that our new Trustees will continue their proud tradition of leadership and service, and will provide their own unique contributions to the work of the Board.”

Grant said, “On behalf of the Board and the students, faculty, and staff of the college, I want to thank Governor Patrick and the members of the Public Education Nominating Council for their support in appointing these three great new Trustees who will make MCLA, and public higher education in Massachusetts, stronger, more effective, and more successful.”

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Know Your Risk Tolerance at Different Stages of Life

Submitted by Edward Jones

As an investor, you will always need to deal with risk of some kind. But how can you manage the risk that has been made clear by the recent volatility in the financial markets? The answer to this question may depend on where you are in life. 

Let's look at some different life stages and how you might deal with risk at each of them: 

• When you are first starting out: If you are early in your career, with perhaps four or even five decades to go until you retire, you can likely afford to invest primarily for growth, which also means you will be taking on a higher level of risk, as risk and reward are positively correlated. But, given your age, you have time to overcome the market downturns that are both inevitable and a normal part of investing. Consequently, your risk tolerance may be relatively high. Still, even at this stage, being over-aggressive can be costly. 

• When you are in the middle stages: At this time of your life, you are well along in your career, and you are probably working on at least a couple of financial goals, such as saving for retirement and possibly for your children's college education. So, you still need to be investing for growth, which means you likely will need to maintain a relatively high risk tolerance. Nonetheless, it's a good idea to have some balance in your portfolio, so you will want to consider a mix of investments that align with each of your goals. 

• When you are a few years from retirement: Now, you might have already achieved some key goals – perhaps your kids have finished college and you have paid off your mortgage. This may mean you have more money available to put away for retirement, but you still will have to think carefully about how much risk you are willing to take. Since you’re going to retire soon, you might consider rebalancing your portfolio to include some more conservative investments, whose value is less susceptible to financial market fluctuations. The reason? In just a few years, when you are retired, you will need to start taking withdrawals from your investment portfolio – essentially, you will be selling investments, so, as much as possible, you will want to avoid selling them when their price is down. Nonetheless, having a balanced and diversified portfolio doesn't fully protect against a loss. However, you can further reduce the future risk of being overly dependent on selling variable investments by devoting a certain percentage of your portfolio to cash and cash equivalents and designating this portion to be used for your daily expenses during the years immediately preceding, and possibly spilling into, your retirement. 

• When you are retired: Once you are retired, you might think you should take no risks at all. But you could spend two or three decades in retirement, so you may need some growth potential in your portfolio to stay ahead of inflation. Establishing a withdrawal rate – the amount you take out each year from your investments – that's appropriate for your lifestyle and projected longevity can reduce the risk of outliving your money. Of course, if there's an extended market downturn during any time of your retirement, you may want to lower your withdrawal rate temporarily. 

As you can see, your tolerance for risk, and your methods of dealing with it, can change over time. By being aware of this progression, you can make better-informed investment decisions.

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