Kim Parizeau ’79 has been elected the next chair of the Middlebury Board of Trustees.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury’s Board of Trustees has elected Kim Collins Parizeau, who graduated from Middlebury in 1979, as its next chair. Parizeau will replace outgoing chair Marna Whittington, who has served on the board for 17 years, the last four years as chair.

“We’re delighted to welcome Kim as the new board chair,” said President Laurie L. Patton. “She brings a great deal of insight to our board operations, having served on several key committees over the years. I was first impressed with Kim when she served on the presidential search committee and have enjoyed getting to know her during my first year in office. I’m looking forward to a great partnership.”

Parizeau has been a Middlebury trustee since 2003. She’ll officially begin her role as chair on July 1.

“I feel tremendously honored to have been chosen by my colleagues,” said Parizeau. “I have very big shoes to fill. Marna was an exceptional board leader and really changed how the board works together.”

Parizeau has served in several roles during her time as a trustee, including chairing the former conference committee, which connects trustees with faculty and staff. She says that committee was a favorite because it brought her in touch with “the people who live and breathe Middlebury every day.”

More recently, she chaired the trusteeship and governance committee, which, among other things, looks at the make-up of the board and recruits new members. “Great boards are made up of people with diverse backgrounds. Our committee is constantly working to recruit talented individuals with varied perspectives on key issues. I’ve really enjoyed working with my fellow trustees to build a diverse board, and I am especially proud that our volunteers bring an incredible array of experiences and skills to the table. It’s important for good governance.”

Parizeau has enjoyed her membership on the board of overseers for the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, noting that it has given her a chance to learn about its people and programs.

Parizeau grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut, where her parents started and operated a small, specialty-clothing store. “My three brothers and I always worked in this family-run business during our school holidays,” she recalled. Arriving at Middlebury in 1976 as a transfer student, she majored in history and says that one of the things she loves about Middlebury today–the dedicated faculty sharing their love of the liberal arts–is the same thing that attracted her back then. An avid skier and hiker, she is still drawn to Vermont’s Green Mountains and Middlebury’s rural setting.

After earning her Middlebury degree, Parizeau worked in advertising in New York, and then earned an MBA at Dartmouth’s Tuck School, where she met her husband Ernie (an active mentor in Middlebury’s MiddCORE and professor of the practice programs). The two moved to Minneapolis for her new job in marketing and product development for General Mills and his work in venture capital for Norwest Venture Partners.

Following the birth of her first daughter, she co-founded Nanny Solutions, Inc., an entrepreneurial venture with her friend–and now fellow trustee–Linda Whitton ’80. After selling their business in 1990, Parizeau turned her attention to volunteering in her community and raising her four children, two of whom are now Middlebury alumni, another a Dartmouth graduate, and her youngest a rising sophomore at Middlebury.

As board chair, Parizeau says she’ll be continually focusing on how the board can best support Patton and tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Their priorities will include helping to develop a new strategic plan and supporting Patton’s efforts to create a more inclusive environment on campus.

Parizeau has invested a lot of her time thinking about how Middlebury’s board can be most effective. In 2013, she served on the Governance Working Group that completely reimagined the board’s governance structure. This included a restructuring of its committees and the establishment of the boards of overseers for the College, Institute and Schools.

“We’ve built a completely new structure. What we ended up with was significantly different than the way we operated for my first 10 years on the board,” said Parizeau. “I’m excited about the new board structure. In many ways, our board structure is innovative in higher education and I think it will help trustees be more engaged, more collaborative, and more effective.

“I am really so honored to be able to contribute to the Middlebury community I love. The faculty and staff of Middlebury College have given so much to my family and me. I am very appreciative, and I hope I can give a bit back.”

Reporting by Stephen Diehl; Photo by Brett Simison