Spouses Program

Saturday, January 5, 10:15 a.m.–1:15 p.m.
Sunday, January 6, 10:15 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Monday, January 7, 7:30–9:45 a.m.

Developed by an advisory group of presidential spouses, the Presidential Spouses Program runs concurrently with the program for presidents and provides opportunities to share information and advice. Spouses and partners of presidents also are welcome at all presidents’ sessions.

Saturday, January 5
Welcome Luncheon Address
10:15 a.m.–1:15 p.m.
The Spouse as Competitor or Complement
Diana Villiers Negroponte will elaborate upon the challenges that couples face as each pursues his or her own professional goals while remaining supportive of the spouse and the family. Negroponte has sought to be an effective ambassador’s wife while also building houses with working class women in the slums of Tegucigalpa, Manila, and Mexico City. She has pursued her own academic career while carving out time to be at her husband’s side. Combining both roles requires energy, selflessness, and determination.
  • Diana Villiers Negroponte, Non-resident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution

Sunday, January 6
7:15–8:15 a.m.
Breakfast Discussion

10:15–11:30 a.m.
Balancing Careers with the Responsibilities of a Presidential Spouse
Presidential spouses/partners often elect to continue their professional careers in addition to fulfilling the role of the presidential spouse. What strategies do they use to accomplish all the tasks that both jobs require? Do they have additional help with childcare or event planning or special arrangements for telecommuting? Presidential spouses will relate their experiences and engage the participants in discussion.
  • Robert Haring-Smith, Presidential Spouse, Washington & Jefferson College
  • Frances G. Pestello, Presidential Spouse, Le Moyne College
  • Prudence Labeach Pollard, Presidential Spouse, Oakwood University
Fundraising Strategies: The Presidential Couple as a Team
Joint Session with Presidents
Presidential couples who work on fundraising initiatives as a team can be very effective. How does the presidential couple plan and carry out fundraising activities? How can the institutional advancement staff work with the presidential couple to maximize their time and take advantage of their individual strengths? What are some of the challenges? Two presidential couples will relate personal experiences and offer strategies for successful fundraising.
  • David C. Joyce, President, Brevard College
  • Lynne C. Joyce, Presidential Spouse, Brevard College
  • Elise Luckey, Presidential Spouse, Lindsey Wilson College
  • William T. Luckey, Jr., President, Lindsey Wilson College

11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
(Boxed lunches will be available)
Building Relationships with the Board of Trustees
Presidential spouses/partners interact with members of the board at least several times a year. How can they use these opportunities to build good relations with trustees? In addition to arranging activities for board spouses, how can they contribute to the work of the board? Three spouses will discuss their experiences and invite participants to contribute other strategies.
  • Jane Easter Bahls, Presidential Spouse, Augustana College (IL)
  • Connie G. Duffett, Presidential Spouse, Dakota Wesleyan University
  • Mary Ellen Summerlin, Presidential Spouse, Schreiner University
Presidential Spouses/Partners “Open Mike”
Spouses/partners will have an opportunity to raise questions and seek advice from colleagues on specific issues and to share information regarding spouses’ roles on college and university campuses. Advice will come from participating colleagues.
  • Laird Hanson, Presidential Spouse, Hamline University

2:00–4:00 p.m.
Open Discussion and Networking Session
Presidential spouses/partners are invited to gather for informal discussions on topics proposed by the participants. Topics might include but are not limited to:
  • The presidential home;
  • Challenges of spouses/partners with or without a separate professional career;
  • Working with alumni;
  • Community involvement;
  • Fundraising experiences;
  • Family issues; and
  • Challenges and opportunities of faith-based colleges and universities.

Monday, January 7
7:15–8:15 a.m.
Breakfast Discussion

8:45–9:45 a.m.
Using Social Media
Facebook and Twitter are common forms of social media communication that are heavily used by many campus constituencies. What are some of the opportunities and challenges associated with these media? How can presidential spouses/partners effectively use social media in their work to advance institutional outreach? What guidelines should they be aware of in using Facebook or Twitter?
  • Tom Evelyn, Vice President for Communications, St. Lawrence University
Transitions: Preparing for Retirement
Joint Session with Presidents
Presidents and spouses need to consider many issues when preparing for retirement: announcing the retirement to the campus and external community, exiting the campus, leaving the presidential house, taking up residence within the same community or moving to a new community, and helping to arrange a welcome for the new presidential couple. Two presidential couples, one recently retired and one preparing for retirement, will share their experiences and reflect on their retirement plans and what happened after they stepped away from their high-profile roles.
  • Patricia Kepple, Presidential Spouse, Juniata College
  • Thomas R. Kepple, President, Juniata College
  • Mary Pat Seurkamp, President Emerita, Notre Dame of Maryland University and Senior Advisor and Director, New Presidents Program, CIC
  • Robert Seurkamp, Retired Presidential Spouse, Notre Dame of Maryland University