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A mix of leaders and familiar faces joined the Dominican University Board of Trustees this year. Here is a brief look at each of them.

Sr. Laurie Brink, OP

A Sinsinawa Dominican Sister, Laurie Brink, OP, is returning to the board after three years of prior service between 2012 and 2015. She is a professor of New Testament Studies at the Catholic Theological Union and New Testament Book Review editor with The Bible Today. Her current research involves the intersection of science, biblical hermeneutics and religious life.

Melissa Connelly MAT ’08, MAEd ’13

Melissa Connelly is CEO of OneGoal, a Chicago-based national education nonprofit that aims to close opportunity gaps for high school students to access college. She has been with OneGoal since 2014, previously serving as chief program officer and leading a team in building a program strategy that approaches work through a culturally relevant lens. OneGoal was awarded the Bradford-O’Neill Medallion for Social Justice in 2021. 

Phillip Jiménez

Phillip Jiménez is CEO and president of West Cook YMCAs, which offers programs in fitness, healthy living and social responsibility. From 2010 to 2013, he served as president and CEO of the San Miguel Schools of Chicago, and from 2003 to 2010 he was director of advancement for Lutheran Child and Family Services. He serves on the Walther Christian Academy Board and as chair of the Success of Youth Guidance Team for the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation Board. Jiménez previously served on the Safer Foundation Board and co-chaired the Latino Giving Circle, a program of the Chicago Community Trust.

Sr. Marci Hermesdorf, OP

Marcella (Marci) Hermesdorf, OP, is a previous faculty trustee who has served Dominican University for more than 40 years as a staff member, English Department chair and professor. She also held the position of director of Dominican University’s Semester in London Program and taught the Core Curriculum Senior Seminar. Sr. Marci retired in 2021 but maintains a presence on campus as assistant professor emerita. 

Suzanne Pittacora ’89

Vice chair of the Brennan School of Business Advisory Council, Suzanne (Sue) Pittacora is chief strategy officer with Wavicle Data Solutions, a global data and analytics consulting firm. Previously, she was CFO and partner at Corterra Solutions, a technology service provider. Before that, she enjoyed a 25-year career with McDonald’s Corporation, retiring in 2018 as senior director of global consumer/business insights. A CPA, Pittacora also held the position of vice chair for the Center for Creative Leadership.

Kiara Valenzuela, Student Trustee

Kiara Valenzuela, a business management major, has served as a torch leader, peer leader, resident assistant, president of Women in Business (which she cofounded), Campus Activities Board vice president, and a student mentor for Trinity High School. Last summer, Valenzuela was selected for the first cohort of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Hispanics and Latinos Fellowship Program, allowing her to learn banking and business in Plano, Texas. She also completed JPMorgan’s Human Resource Development Summer Analyst Program.