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The Revolutionary Challenge

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The President’s Panel on Innovation (PPI)

The President’s Panel on Innovation (PPI) is the coordinating body for the college’s Revolutionary Challenge. The PPI will evaluate submissions and mentor the teams selected for this high-level idea competition designed to identify and develop bold, innovative programs that will advance Dickinson and our historic mission. 

As revolutionary innovators in their fields, members bring to this initiative their valuable expertise, their dedication to Dickinson and their passionate advocacy. Throughout the process, they will:

  • assist in identifying and soliciting potential partners and funders who can help bring these new projects to life
  • serve as advisors/mentors to finalist teams
  • and coordinate with trustees in the final selection.


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Jennifer Ward Reynolds ’77, CFA

Partner and Director, Ward Properties

Currently a partner and director of the commercial real estate firm Ward Properties, Jennifer Ward Reynolds ’77 has spent over 30 years in the asset management business, most recently holding the position of vice chair and chief investment officer of Legg Mason Trust. She served as chair of Dickinson’s Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2017, has been a trustee since 2000 and was chair of the college’s First in America capital campaign (2007-11).

Reynolds is also immediate past chair of the board of the National Aquarium, where she currently serves as chair of the philanthropy and nominating committees. She is a member of the board of trustees at Stevenson University and the President’s Advisory Council of Notre Dame University of Maryland. She has twice been named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by Warfield’s Daily Record and is a past recipient of the Distinguished Women’s Award from the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. Past board memberships include the Walters Art Museum, Sheppard Pratt Hospital, Stevenson University and the Baltimore School for the Arts.

Reynolds received her undergraduate degree from Dickinson, her masters of finance from Loyola University and is a chartered financial analyst (CFA). She resides in Phoenix, Maryland.

Panel Members

Mark Burgess

Mark Burgess ’81

CEO, Diversey

Mark Burgess ’81 has worked in private equity sponsored companies for almost 20 years. He currently is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Diversey, a global provider of hygiene technologies to food and beverage, healthcare and institutional customers, which employs 8,800 people and generates annual sales approximating $2.7 billion.

From May 2014 until September 2018, Burgess served as the CEO of Signode Industrial Group, a $2.5 billion manufacturer and solutions provider of industrial protection products, until the company was sold to Crown Holdings. Prior to Signode, Burgess served as the CEO of Graham Packaging Company, a $3 billion manufacturer of custom blow molded containers. Prior to joining Graham Packaging in 2007, Burgess served as president and CEO of Anchor Glass Container Corporation in 2005 and 2006, and prior to that he served in various operational, financial and leadership positions at Clean Harbors Environmental Services, JL French Automotive Castings, Trailmobile Corporation and Chase Manhattan Bank.

Burgess also served as the chairman of the Clondalkin Group and is a former director of the Polymer Group and the Eastman Kodak Company. In addition to his B.A. in economics from Dickinson, Burgess holds an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Michael  Fratantuono

Michael Fratantuono, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of International Studies, Business & Management

Michael Fratantuono earned his Ph.D. in international economics from the University of Washington and joined the Dickinson Department of Economics in 1988. From July 1995 to June 1997, he took leave and held the position of visiting professor in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the United States Army War College. Upon his return, he served as the first chair of the newly created Department of International Business & Management and was a member of the Department of International Studies, a unique dual appointment he has held for more than two decades.

Fratantuono has created 35 different courses, and his current research focuses on collaboration among organizations within evolving systems. He has been awarded the Department of the Army Medal for Outstanding Civilian Service, was a co-recipient of Dickinson’s Distinguished Teaching Award and earned the college’s Constance and Rose Ganoe Memorial Award for Inspirational Teaching based on a vote of the graduating class of 2006. Among his many efforts in service of the college, he organized the Innovation Competition at Dickinson six years ago and has since served as director. As a liberal-arts college educator, he sees himself as a life-skills coach for young adults.

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Justin Gold ’00

Founder, Justin’s

Justin Gold ’00 is the founder of Justin’s, which makes naturally delicious, high-quality nut butters and organic nut butter cups and snacks. From humble beginnings at local farmers markets, Justin’s is now one of the country’s fastest growing natural foods companies and has received numerous accolades, including being twice ranked in the Top 15 on the Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies list in the Food and Beverage category.

After two years of experimenting with nuts and a food processor at home, Gold prepared his first business plan and launched Justin’s. With entrepreneurial flair, he taught himself the art of bootstrapping, raising capital and building a first-class management team to help execute his vision. He credits his experience at Dickinson with giving him the confidence to research how to write a business plan.

Gold, who was recognized as the 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Mountain Desert Region, is a passionate innovator who encourages others to follow their passions. He lives in Boulder with his wife and children, finding his work/life balance by enjoying an active lifestyle there as an avid trail runner, mountain biker, skier and backpacker.

Julie Johnson

Julie Johnson ’82, Ph.D.

Program Director, Division on Research & Learning, National Science Foundation

Julie Johnson ’82 is a program director in the Division on Research and Learning at the National Science Foundation. She previously held the position of John Roe Distinguished Chair of Museum Leadership at the Science Museum of Minnesota, where she provided support and leadership in the areas of planning, programming, personnel development and collaboration. She also formerly served as program officer at the National Science Foundation and as chief operating officer for the New Jersey State Aquarium.  

As a consultant, Johnson provides innovative organizational development strategies for businesses and nonprofits. She is currently a student coach/advisor for the Leadership in Museum Education program at Bank Street College, an affiliate faculty member for the Leadership & Change Ph.D. program at Antioch University and a member of Dickinson’s Board of Trustees.

Johnson has B.S., M.S. and M.A. degrees in biology, instructional technology and deaf education; she received her doctorate in leadership and change from Antioch University. She serves on several boards and is very interested in understanding how organizations nurture leadership emergence. Her current research interests include leadership development, the intersections of relational practice and leadership, the intersections of organizational learning and leader development in place, and leadership in complex systems.

Susan Miller

Susan M. Miller

President and CEO, ATIS

Susan Miller is president and chief executive officer of ATIS—The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions and has served in this role since 1999. By bringing an innovative, market-driven approach to the development of technology solutions, she has expanded the organization’s activities, reach and impact. Under her leadership, ATIS redefined how the information and communications technology (ICT) industry collaborates to address its shared solutions-development needs.

Miller represents ATIS before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Commerce and other U.S. federal agencies. She has created and fostered global collaborative relationships with numerous industry organizations to include ATIS’ role as a founding partner in the Third Generation Partnership Project for wireless technologies and services and a founding partner in oneM2M for machine to machine technologies.

Miller was recognized by the University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg Public Policy Center’s report, The Glass Ceiling in the Executive Suite: The 2nd Annual Analysis of Women Leaders in Communications Companies as well as the National Journal, as the only woman president and CEO among the thirteen most influential U.S. telecommunications associations. She was further recognized by Technology Daily as the only woman president and CEO within the ranks of the top 25 technology associations. Miller was also named one of the top 10 women in telecom by FierceTelecom and one of the top 10 most influential people in the telecommunications industry by Billing/OSSWorld. 

Prior to her appointment as president and CEO in 1999, Miller was ATIS’ vice president and general counsel. Before joining ATIS, she practiced communications law for the Wall Street firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges and worked for GTE.

Miller graduated from Dickinson College in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and art history, with a minor in Economics. She received her Juris Doctorate in 1984 from Catholic University Columbus School of Law.

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Amy Nauiokas ’94

Founder and Chair, Archer Gray; and Founder, President and CEO, Anthemis Group

Amy Nauiokas ’94 is founder and chair of Archer Gray and founder, president and CEO of Anthemis Group. She is a visionary executive, investor, producer, leader and innovator across a variety of markets and industries.

As a producer and investor with Archer Gray, Nauiokas has achieved considerable success with such award-winning and Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated films as Can You Ever Forgive Me?, 20th Century Women, The Diary of A Teenage Girl, Mr. Holmes and The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, as well as the eight-time Tony award-winning Broadway musical Once. As a venture capitalist, she identifies and invests in early-stage technology companies and has built a strong investment portfolio of best-in-class, high-growth companies.

Nauiokas was previously CEO and managing director of Barclays Stockbrokers, the U.K.’s largest electronic retail broker. She also co-founded the nonprofit, Bubble Foundation, which partners with New York City schools to promote healthy living through wellness education and merged with Edible Schoolyard in 2018. She received her master’s in international business from Columbia University, where she also has served as an adjunct professor. In addition to serving on several boards, she has been listed among the industry’s most powerful dealmakers in Forbes, Variety, Institutional Investor, Financial News and Global Finance.

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Young Park ’87

President and CEO, GeneOne Life Science

Young Park ’87 is the president and CEO of GeneOne Life Science, a global leader in the field of gene-based biomedicine. Between 2014 and 2016, GeneOne Life Science advanced three DNA vaccines into clinical trials against highly fatal and morbid diseases with pandemic potential including Zaire Ebola virus, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and the Zika virus.

Prior to leading GeneOne, Park managed his own law firm until he invested in the now publically traded biotech start-up Inovio in the early 2000s. The experience stoked Park’s interest in innovation and biotechnology, leading him to leave the law practice behind and launch GeneOne.

In addition to a B.A. in economics from Dickinson, Park holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. His honors include winning the grand prize for the “Technology Innovation” section at the 2013 Korea CEO Leadership Awards as well as the grand prize for the “Global Management” section at The 2013 Most Powerful Business Leaders in Korea awards.



Jennifer Schaefer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Mathematics, Dickinson College

Jennifer Schaefer began her career at Dickinson College after receiving her Ph.D. (2008) in mathematics at the University of Iowa. She is a theoretical mathematician whose research interests include the areas of modular representation theory and symmetric spaces of finite groups.

Schaefer’s scholarship also explores pedagogical topics, such as writing in the discipline and first-year seminars. Her most recent project, Mathematical Themes in a First-Year Seminar, is currently under review and is a co-edited, contributed volume of over 30 chapters describing first-year seminars with mathematical themes taught at different institutions. She and her collaborators hope this book will serve as a resource for other mathematics faculty tasked with teaching a first-year seminar.

Schaefer has previously served Dickinson in a variety of capacities, including as a member of the All-College Committee on Academic Programs and Standards, the All-College Committee on Enrollment and Student Life (chair, 2016-17), the Enrollment and Student Life Subcommittee on Greek Life (chair, 2014-15; co-chair 2015-17) and the Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship Committee (chair, 2015-18).

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R.F. “Rick” Shangraw ’81, Ph.D.

President, Cintana Education

Dr. Shangraw is the president of Cintana Education, a public benefit corporation headquartered in Tempe, Arizona.  He works with universities around the globe to help them achieve scale and excellence.  Cintana was founded in partnership with Arizona State University (ASU).

Prior to Cintana, he spent 15 years as a senior executive at ASU, which U.S. News and World Reports ranks as the most innovative university in the country.  From 2016 to 2019, Dr. Shangraw served as the founding chief executive officer of ASU Enterprise Partners, leading the movement to evolve higher education through innovation. He became CEO of the ASU Foundation for a New American University in 2011 and directed its expansion and transformation into ASU Enterprise Partners –reimagining fundraising to create a diversified revenue generation model for ASU. 

During his nine-year tenure, ASU Enterprise Partners grew its assets from $500 million to $1.5 billion, spanning five subsidiaries raising resources through philanthropy, real estate, technology transfer, applied research, and spinoff incubation. The organization also generated more than $900 million in new gifts and commitments, earned Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating for the last eight years and received recognition for its commitment to transparency by GuideStar USA.  

Dr. Shangraw previously served as senior vice president for research and innovation at ASU, establishing ASU as one of the fastest-growing research enterprises in the United States, with research expenditures ranked 7th in 2019 among American universities without medical schools. Under his leadership, nearly 5,000 distinct research projects were awarded over $1.2 billion in funding.  

Prior to his tenure at ASU, Dr. Shangraw was the founder and CEO of Project Performance Corporation, a Washington, D.C.-based research and technology consulting firm specializing in environmental, energy and information management challenges. He advised the U.S. Departments of Defense, Transportation, and Energy, as well as Fortune 100 companies.  Dr. Shangraw started his career as a tenure-track faculty member at Syracuse University.

He is active in the community serving on the board of directors for the McCain Institute for International Leadership and the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Dickinson College.

Dr. Shangraw has a bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, in political science and a certificate in environmental studies from Dickinson College; a master's degree in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University; and a doctorate in public administration from the Maxwell School, with a specialization in technology and information policy and organization design. 

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Christopher Sharples ’87, AIA

Principal, SHoP Architects

Christopher Sharples ’87 is a founding principal of SHoP who brings his focus on the public realm and his understanding of the experiential possibilities of architecture to the design of some of the firm's most demanding projects, including the Uber headquarters in San Francisco, the Domino Sugar master plan, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the National Veterans Resource Center at Syracuse University. With his brother, William Sharples, Chris also leads SHoP's work designing embassies and other diplomatic facilities for the U.S. Department of State.

Currently, his concentration is on revolutionary models of building that embrace next-generation environmental and materials systems such as mass-timber as well as process-driven innovation utilizing offsite manufacturing to achieve more efficient and environmentally responsive building delivery. His dedication to moving the profession forward continues in his commitment to lecturing and teaching, where he brings SHoP’s message—about the unity of technological invention, artistic inspiration and public responsibility—to students and fellow professionals around the world.

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Lisa Sherman ’79

President and CEO, Ad Council

Lisa Sherman ’79, is an innovative leader and accomplished operating executive with deep experience in the private and nonprofit sectors. She has over 35 years of experience building, transforming and growing organizations. As president and CEO of the Ad Council, she leads all aspects of this national institution. Working at the intersection of media, marketing, technology, entertainment and advertising, the Ad Council convenes the world’s best marketers to create public engagement campaigns. By leveraging leading-edge products, approaches and digital technologies, the organization tackles the most pressing issues facing the country.

Prior to the Ad Council, Sherman was at Viacom, where she built a powerful media business, launching and leading Logo TV, the first cable network for LGBTQ audiences. She also held a number of senior operating roles at Verizon, the ad agency Hill Holliday and the Women’s Sports Network, the VC-backed marketing company she co-founded.

Sherman is a thought-leader, frequent public speaker and an active participant on advisory boards for several industry and public-service organizations, including the World Economic Forum’s Information and Entertainment Stewardship Board. She also has been recognized with a number of industry and community service awards, most recently as a 2019 Matrix award honoree.

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Stephen Smith ’92

President and CEO, L.L.Bean

Stephen Smith ’92 is the president and CEO of L.L.Bean. Before taking on that role in 2016, he was chief merchandising and marketing officer for Yihaodian (part of Walmart Global Ecommerce), a pure e-commerce business located in Shanghai.

Smith launched his career in 1992 at J. Walter Thompson in New York City before moving to Maine in 1997 and rising to become vice president of sales and marketing for Resort Sports Network. In 2002, Smith moved into retail, joining Hannaford Supermarket and launching a nine-year tenure with at the Delhaize Group, where he gained merchandising, commercial planning, marketing and customer relationship management experience. He joined Walmart International in 2011 as SVP and general manager of Sam's Club and chief marketing officer for Walmart China in Shenzhen, China. After gaining management experience, integrating e-commerce into the core business and improving annual sales growth, he became customer officer of ASDA, a $30+ billion food, fashion and general merchandise omnichannel business in the United Kingdom.

Smith grew up in Westchester County, New York, and Amherst, Massachusetts. He spends summers on Canada Lake in the Adirondacks, remains very active in outdoor sports and enjoys a wide variety of activities.

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Andrei Torriani ’89

CEO/Advisor and Independent, Non-Executive Board Member

With a global career building successful businesses in the technology and telecommunications sectors covering mobile, broadband, wireline, pay-TV and electronic media, Andrei Torriani ’89 has been a leader, catalyst and accelerator of shareholder and stakeholder value creation within operational start-ups, mergers, acquisitions, financial restructuring and mature company turnaround scenarios in North America, Europe and Asia. Having led private equity owned and publicly listed companies, he has vast experience and skillsets in debt refinancing, public bond issues and exit scenarios (ranging from trade sales to M&A and IPO scenarios).

Torriani holds an MBA in international management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), and a B.A. in international studies from Dickinson. He currently resides in Colorado and Como, Italy.

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Jodie Vann, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Religion, Dickinson College

Jodie Vann holds B.A.s in religious studies and philosophy from University of Oregon, an M.A. in humanities from Florida State and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Arizona State. She has always been interested in the practice of religion, particularly within the broader cultural context. Her educational trajectory has taken her through diverse inquiry of French existentialism, ancient Roman cult practice, women's diaries during the American Revolution and contemporary alternative spiritualities.

Her current research project is a historical ethnography of the 1987 Harmonic Convergence. This event was a global, synchronized meditation intended to harness the latent powers of a particular cosmic alignment for the betterment of humanity. Highly publicized on mainstream media, the event attracted hundreds of thousands of participants and brought ideas and practices from the fringe "New Age" movement into the popular culture. Vann argues that this is one of the essential historical roots of the current "spiritual, but not religious" trend. 

Vann teaches a wide variety of courses in religion that might generally be categorized as religion and culture courses. These include Religion in the U.S.; Religion, Nature and the Environment; Religion and Modern Culture; and Native American Religions.