REINHARDT BOARD OF TRUSTEES ELECTS LONGTIME MEMBER AS NEW CHAIR
After chairing the Reinhardt College Board of Trustees for six years, Lynn H. Johnston passed the gavel to James K. Hasson Jr. at the spring board meeting on May 22, 2001. Johnston, a retired chairman and CEO of Life Insurance Company of Georgia, expressed great confidence in Hasson's abilities and experience."
Jim Hasson was a wise choice as our next board chair because of his experience in leading two nonprofit boards, The Foxfire Fund and the Metropolitan Atlanta Crime Commission," Johnston said. Hasson's professional experience with academic institutions and his experience teaching law at Emory University as an adjunct professor will also be helpful to him."
"He knows how to work with nonprofit boards, and he has the gift of understanding how to get the things done that need to be done," Johnston said. "The Board's role is to set policy and to look to the president and the senior administration for background information, understanding and execution. Most of our board members are business people who expect well thought out, fiscally sound plans. In a college model, the expectation for responsibility, accountability, and performance is similar, yet the faculty does also have a role in governance. The atmosphere should be more collegial and involve more outreach than is expected in a pure business model."
Hasson, a tax and health care attorney with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan L.L.P., of Atlanta, Ga., and Washington, D.C., and a Reinhardt trustee since 1989, has served on the Board's Executive Committee since 1995. When Johnston began quietly discussing possible successors with fellow board officers last fall, Hasson carefully considered the role.
"When Lynn Johnston asked me to consider taking on the task of chairman some seven months ago, many of the current challenges before the board were not on the horizon, but I am confident that the fine members of our board will address these situations appropriately while not losing enthusiasm for the wonderful opportunities ahead for this institution," Hasson said.
Johnston said the time was right to make the change.
"I agreed to accept the position for five years," Johnston said. "I stayed for six to better align the transition with the trustee committee chairmanship rotation and to coincide with internal leadership priorities of individual trustees. I regret that this change has taken place so soon after the resignation of our president, but we have a sound, energetic board, a well-regarded and experienced interim president in place, and a solid plan to locate a permanent president, and I can transition out knowing that the job is in good hands."
On May 14, 2001, Reinhardt President William A. Nevious announced his resignation, stating he had positioned the College for future growth and was leaving for another excellent opportunity for him and his family.
Hasson said he has learned a great deal from his predecessors.
"Lynn has been a superb leader, using persuasion and compromise where needed, but not hesitating to make hard decisions when the time was right," Hasson said. "The most important thing I have learned from him is the need to avoid 'knee jerk' reactions, even if the answer to a problem is obvious. It is important to involve all elements of the college community--faculty, students, administrators, alumni, donors, friends and trustees--in the processes of evaluating issues and coming to decisions about the future of the College."
Paul Milano, Reinhardt's Vice President of Institutional Advancement, offered additional perspective on Hasson's background.
"I've had the privilege of working with two exceptional chairmen, Norman Paschall and Lynn Johnston, in my nine years at Reinhardt," Milano said. "I have also worked very closely with Jim Hasson in his role as the Board's advancement committee chair. Like Norman and Lynn, Jim will be a leader who has a tremendous ability to grasp the big picture, while also being able to inspire people on an individual basis. Being an adjunct professor of law at Emory University and a graduate of Duke University, he also has a deep personal commitment to the value of private higher education."
Student Government Association President Lonnie Lacy said the student leaders are receptive to exploring new possibilities with the board.
"I am tremendously thankful for everything Mr. Johnston has done, and we look forward to working with Mr. Hasson in his new role," Lacy said. "We have suggested some additional opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between students and trustees, and we are excited about the year ahead."
Hasson, a member of the Peachtree Presbyterian Church, is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Georgia, and the Bar of the District of Columbia. He and his wife, Jayne, have been married since 1968. They have one son, Keith, a senior assistant district attorney for Fulton County."