The Determining Factor
The BAC announces new, diverse, and experienced Board leadership
September 27, 2021
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Judy Nitsch has been newly elected and installed as Chair of the Boston Architectural College (BAC) Board of Trustees, succeeding Richard Martini, B.Arch ’84. Marilyn Swartz-Lloyd was appointed Vice Chair. “Both Richard and Judy have been deeply committed to seeing the BAC evolve and flourish,” says BAC President Mahesh Daas, acknowledging how nimbly the College has navigated major leadership transitions and the pandemic in recent years—all with the Board’s close support and guidance.
Although the Board was chaired by Lisa Bonneville 2007-2009, this is the first term with both a female Chair and Vice Chair. More importantly, the duo brings truly formidable qualifications: Judy, a retired civil engineer is founding principal of Nitsch Engineering, the largest Women-Owned Business Enterprise civil engineering firm in Massachusetts. She is proud that the company has completed projects on over 90 college campuses across the United States. Marilyn, a city planner, is former CEO of MASCO, the non-profit organization that provides indispensable programs and services in Boston’s Longwood Medical and Academic Area.
“In the Northeast, people have gotten pretty used to seeing women in power,” says Marilyn. “Just look at the Boston mayoral race.” This wasn’t always the case. The BAC was originally established in 1889 by a cadre of local architects as an all-male professional club. In more recent years, the College has strategically increased diversity, equity, and inclusion, always with an aim to do more.
“Our student body has 40-some countries represented and we need to make sure that our Board’s composition reflects that sense of diversity,” Judy says.
And she walks her talk. Richard was impressed that while serving as his Vice Chair, “Judy put together a matrix of Board membership to ensure we were completely representative of not only our student population, but also the diversity of the wider institution.”
Judy, who describes herself as “determined,” grew up in Southwick, a tiny town in Western Massachusetts and received a bachelor’s degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). A tireless mentor of female engineers, Judy served on the WPI Board for 22 years. Dressed in a company polo at the dining room table which has hosted many BAC and industry events she recalls, “I never had anybody in high school and even beginning in college to tell me what civil engineering was all about.” With an older sister and five younger brothers she knows how to make her voice heard—a critical skill in a field that to this day is male dominated with only 16% female representation.
Judy first formally connected with the BAC administration in 2012 to make a significant gift from the estate of her late husband, Tony Magliozzi, B.Arch ’62. Several years later she accepted the invitation to become a Trustee: “I knew I had the capacity then to help, and I said yes because for me it’s a way to honor my husband. He thought a lot about the BAC. If it weren’t for the BAC, he wouldn’t have had the career he had.” She thinks of him smiling down on her now as she begins her term as Chair, but also smirking a little as if to say, “You people don’t know what you’re getting yourselves into.”
As a BAC Trustee, Judy led the 2019 presidential search that courted and unanimously selected President Daas: “I had a fabulous search committee. As Chair, I read a lot about other successful presidential searches. I tried to get as smart as I could as fast as I could.” She immersed herself in The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges guidelines and hit the ground running. In the end, after the investiture of President Daas, she hosted everyone at her home to celebrate.
Marilyn, who knew Judy through the Boston business community before they collaborated on the Board, attended the event, and was impressed by the detailed effort that went into the search process. “The thing about Judy is that she works harder than anybody else around her. You’re always ending up doing what she asked you to do because she’s right there with you. And afterwards, she’s generous about giving credit to others and making sure they feel rewarded.”
“Richard did the right things, the right way,” Judy says of her predecessor. Richard once remarked, “I hope to make the BAC a better place in my four years as Chair.” In June when she assumed her now role, Judy concluded that he has accomplished exactly that and committed to continuing that aspiration herself. She believes that going forward, “We have a blueprint and a very good board. It’s a particularly diverse, high-level, high-performing group of people poised to support the strong senior team that Mahesh has assembled.”
September 27, 2021
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