Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin today appointed four alumni to William & Mary’s Board of Visitors, the governing body of the institution. They include: Kendrick Ashton, Jr. ’98, Mike Petters M.B.A. ‘93, Steve Huebner ‘76, P ’09 and Laura Keehner Rigas ‘01.
The four will fill vacancies left by Victor K. Branch ’84, Sue H. Gerdelman ’76, William H. Payne II ’01 and Lisa E. Roday P ’13, ’14, who will rotate off the Board. The new appointees will begin their terms on July 1, 2022.
“William & Mary welcomes alumni Kendrick Ashton, Jr., Mike Petters, Steve Huebner and Laura Keehner Rigas to our Board. They have been active members of this community in many different ways, since their time as students. I look forward very much to working with them,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe. “It is also bittersweet that we must say goodbye to Victor, Sue, Will and Lisa as Board members. They have served William & Mary with wisdom, passion, and deep dedication. They are good friends and I know each will continue to play important roles for the university going forward.”
The Board of Visitors is the governing body for William & Mary and includes 17 members who serve four-year terms. Earlier this year, the board unanimously elected Judge Charles E. Poston J.D. ’74, P ’02, ’06, Barbara L. Johnson J.D. ’84 and Ardine Williams as the next rector, vice rector and secretary of the board, effective July 1, 2022.
“Victor, Sue, Will and Lisa made significant contributions during their time on the Board and we are grateful for all they have done to lead William & Mary during such unprecedented times,” said Poston. “We look forward to working with Kendrick, Mike, Steve and Laura to further strengthen the impact of our university and advance the goals outlined in Vision 2026.”
Kendrick Ashton, Jr. ’98
Ashton graduated from W&M in 1998 with a degree in international relations and as one of the university’s star football players. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is the co-founder and managing partner of The St. James Group, a sports, wellness and entertainment company. He previously served as director of Perella Weinberg Partners and as an investment banker in the Industrials and Natural Resources Group of Goldman Sachs & Co.
Ashton has remained closely connected to W&M throughout his career, serving as a member of the William & Mary Foundation Board of Trustees and chair of the reunion committee for the Class of 1998. He previously served on W&M’s Board of Visitors from 2012 to 2016. He currently serves on the boards of several other organizations, including the Board of Trustees of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Mike Petters M.B.A. ’93
Mike Petters is executive vice chairman of the board of directors at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), a global engineering and defense technologies provider. Petters previously served as HII’s president and CEO until March 1, 2022. Before that, Petters served as president of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and as president of Northrop Grumman’s Newport News sector. Petters earned his undergraduate degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, served aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS George Bancroft (SSBN 643) and spent five years in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
Petters earned an M.B.A. from William & Mary in 1993 and has remained closely connected to the university ever since. A gift he and his wife, Nancy Briggs Petters ’81, provided through their foundation extended and expanded Camp Launch, a STEM camp for gifted students offered through the W&M School of Education.
Steve Huebner ’76, P ’09
Huebner and his wife, Diane Arnold Huebner, are both members of the Class of 1976. The W&M lineage extends to their daughter Jennifer as well, who received her undergraduate degree in 2009 and her M.Ed. in 2010.
After graduation he served a combined 22 years, active and reserve time, in the U.S. Army. A member of William & Mary’s ROTC program, Huebner received a commission as a second lieutenant and retired as a lieutenant colonel. Following his active service commitment, Huebner worked at several major hospitals, including Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. He retired from his position as vice president for materiel operations at Bon Secours Health Systems in 2018. Huebner holds a M.A. from Central Michigan University.
Over the years his connections to the university have remained strong, including service on the William & Mary Athletic and Association of 1775 boards as well as the boards of both his 30th and 35th reunion gift committees. As a student athlete, he ran both the steeplechase and 5K as a member of the track and cross country teams. In appreciation of that experience, throughout his retirement Huebner has volunteered his time as a life skills coach for athletes on both teams helping to prepare them for life after graduation and the job market. It is a bond that has proved life-changing for all.
Laura Keehner Rigas ‘01
Rigas earned her bachelor’s degree in public policy from William & Mary, where she played varsity volleyball and served as Student Assembly President. In 2000, Rigas was the first student representative to the Board of Visitors. Recently, Rigas served as senior vice president for reputation and risk management for Syneos Health and previously as the deputy director for the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she facilitated outreach to state, local, and tribal governments, private sector companies, non-profit, and faith-based organizations during COVID-19 pandemic. She has also served as the deputy chief of staff for partnerships at AmeriCorps, and as communications director for the U.S. Department of the Interior. She has 20 years of experience leading executive management, public affairs, and communications teams at the state and federal government levels, non-profits, and the private sector.
During her federal career, Rigas also served at the White House, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Education. While in Massachusetts, she was the communications director for the Massachusetts Secretary of Education. She earned a master’s degree in public administration at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Retiring board members
Victor Branch ’84
Branch, who graduated from W&M with a degree in sociology, was appointed to the board in 2018. He has worked for Bank of America for more than 30 years and currently serves as the Richmond market manager and president. He has served on numerous additional boards throughout his career, including the foundation for Richard Bland College, where he received an associate’s degree in 1982. He currently chairs the Richard Bland Committee for the W&M Board of Visitors and is a member of the committees on academic affairs, financial affairs and institutional advancement.
Sue H. Gerdelman ’76
Gerdelman graduated from W&M with a degree in elementary education and went on to teach school in Washington State. She also held several positions in government, including executive assistant to the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism and as associate director of the president’s national economic council. She was initially appointed to W&M’s board in 2013 to fill a vacancy from an unexpired term. She was reappointed in 2014 and in 2018. In addition to serving on the executive committee, she is currently chair of the Committee on Institutional Advancement and Vice Chair of the Committee on Administration, Buildings and Grounds. She is also a member of the Committee on the Student Experience. Gerdelman served as chair of William & Mary’s successful For The Bold capital campaign and is currently chair of the All In campaign for William & Mary Athletics.
William H. Payne II ’01
Payne is currently the vice rector of W&M and chairs the Design Review Board as well as the Committee on Administration, Buildings and Grounds. He serves on the executive committee and is also a member of the Committee on Audit, Risk and Compliance. A 2001 graduate of W&M, Payne was first appointed to the board in 2014 and reappointed in 2018. He is currently the managing partner of Coalfield Strategies, an economic development consulting firm marketing business investment opportunities in Southwest Virginia communities. He previously served in former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration where he focused on the offshore wind supply chain and economic sustainability strategies for coalfields.
Lisa E. Roday P ’13, P ’14
As a partner and then managing partner in her Manhattan-based law firm, Roday practiced matrimonial law from 1982 to 1996. She served on the New York chapter of the Board of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and was a founder of the Network for Women’s Services. She also served as an adjunct professor at the T.C. Williams School of Law and a substitute teacher at The Collegiate School. The mother of two W&M alumni, Roday was appointed to the board in 2014 and reappointed in 2018. Roday serves on the executive committee and is currently vice chair of the committees on the student experience and organizational sustainability and innovation, and she is a member of the Richard Bland College Committee.
This article was edited July 9, 2022 to reflect updated bio information for Steve Huebner – Ed.
Staff, University News & Media