President’s Cabinet

As leaders of the administrative divisions for Roger Williams University, members of the President’s Cabinet serve as his senior-level advisors and work collaboratively with him and the Board of Trustees to guide all major strategic and operational decision-making at the university.

Donald J. Farish, Ph.D., J.D. :: President

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Portrait of Donald FarishWith more than 40 years' experience in higher education including 11 as a full-time faculty member, esteemed educator, scientist and attorney Donald J. Farish, Ph.D., J.D., became the 10th president of Roger Williams University in June 2011.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, President Farish immigrated to the U.S. in 1963 to pursue his graduate education after receiving his bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of British Columbia. He holds a master of science degree in entomology from North Carolina State University, a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University and a juris doctor from the University of Missouri. A respected scientist in his field, President Farish is the author of six biology textbooks and has authored and co-authored numerous articles on entomology and animal behavior.

A celebrated academic leader, President Farish joined Roger Williams following a 13-year post as president of Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., where he transformed the respected regional institution into a world-class university known for its innovative academic programs. At Rowan, President Farish was responsible for the physical expansion of the campus, including the construction of new academic facilities for science, medicine, teacher education and technology research; almost 2,000 additional student residence beds to accommodate rapidly expanding enrollment; and a 26-acre downtown redevelopment project to connect the borough of Glassboro with the University.

Throughout his career in higher education, President Farish has demonstrated tremendous commitment to teaching and learning, always considering himself a member of the faculty who also provides administrative leadership. During his tenure at Rowan, President Farish elevated the institution from second tier to top tier, where it was ranked third among public master's level universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report. He also created incentive programs to enhance student-faculty interaction and established a plan to bring an additional 50 tenure-track faculty members to the university.

Prior to assuming presidency of Rowan University in 1998, President Farish held academic and administrative positions at Sonoma State University, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Missouri. His commitment to shared governance has earned him a reputation as a collaborative and inspirational leader dedicated to preparing students for life in a just society, and to turning challenges into opportunities. A sought-after voice in higher education, President Farish served as one of 20 sitting presidents and chancellors at a July 2010 Presidential Roundtable organized in Washington, D.C., by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education to discuss the future of higher education in the U.S.

Since joining Roger Williams in 2011, President Farish has guided the university community in articulating an agreed-upon identity that defines the distinctive elements of an RWU education. As a result of that conversation, he launched the Affordable Excellence initiative, which has positioned Roger Williams at the leading edge of the national dialogue regarding cost, debt and job-preparedness for today’s college graduates. One of the most visible elements of Affordable Excellence is an expanding focus on meaningful experiential learning projects for students across the academic disciplines, many of which are facilitated through the Community Partnerships Center, created shortly after President Farish joined the University.

Via his President’s Blog and other community outreach efforts on both the local and national level, President Farish has established himself as a voice for the change he believes is needed to make higher education more relevant, more affordable and more accessible. In 2013, he was selected to lead the Executive Board of Rhode Island Campus Compact, a coalition of college and university representatives dedicated to supporting and expanding campus-based community service initiatives at schools across the state. He served on the governing boards for the New England Council and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, among other organizations.  He currently chairs the boards of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island, and the Commonwealth Coast Athletic conference.

President Farish and his wife, Maia, live at the University Residence on Ferry Road in Bristol, R.I. Ardent supporters of arts, cultural, educational and social service organizations across Rhode Island, they are patrons of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and are committed to showcasing the performing and visual arts on campus.

Peter B. Wilbur, M.P.A. :: Chief of Staff and Vice President for Community Relations

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Portrait of Peter WilburPeter Wilbur joined Roger Williams in 1999 after holding senior positions in proprietary education and industry as president and principal of a manufacturing facility for 16 years; immediately prior to arriving at RWU, he served as controller, assistant dean and eventually president of the Katharine Gibbs School in Providence, R.I.

In 17 years with the University, Mr. Wilbur has been a senior-level contributor in finance and administration, human resources, strategic planning and community and government relations. He accepted his current position in 2016 and has played a key role in launching significant RWU initiatives such as the Community Partnerships Center, the Latino Policy Institute, Housing Works and more.

Mr. Wilbur earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and completed a master’s of public administration degree at Roger Williams. He is a member of the American Society for Public Administration and serves as the vice chair of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.

Edward Fitzpatrick, B.S. :: Director of Media and Public Relations

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Portrait of Edward FitzpatrickEdward Fitzpatrick became RWU's Director of Media and Public Relations in 2016. Fitzpatrick joins Roger Williams after 28 years as a reporter, editor and columnist, including 16 years at The Providence Journal and eight years as its political columnist.

He grew up in Greenville, R.I., graduated from Mount St. Charles Academy and from Syracuse University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science. He previously worked at the Hartford Courant, the Albany Times Union and The Saratogian.

In addition to many other awards in his long journalism career, he received the 2016 Excellence in Public Service Award from Common Cause Rhode Island for his reporting on the importance of open and transparent government. The Excellence in Public Service Award is given to “public employees, members of commissions, journalists, community organizations, or individuals, whose integrity, courage or leadership in pursuit of open and accountable government exemplify Common Cause objectives,” according to the nonpartisan government watchdog group.

John J. King, Ed. D. :: Vice President for Student Affairs

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Portrait of John KingJohn King came to Roger Williams in 2004 after 12 years at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., and six years at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. Most recently, he served as associate vice president and dean of student affairs at Stonehill, where he coordinated the development and implementation of a first-year seminar. That program was designed to better integrate the curricular and cocurricular experiences of students, both on and off campus. As RWU's Vice President for Student Affairs, Mr. King has instituted a similar program at Roger Williams.

Mr. King holds two bachelor's degrees from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a master's degree from Plymouth State University in Plymouth, N.H. In 2007, he earned his Ed.D. in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Ame Lambert, Ph.D. :: Chief Diversity Officer

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Portrait of Ame LambertAme Lambert joined RWU in 2017 after working for more than a decade in diversity and inclusion leadership positions in higher education. Most recently, she served seven years, including as the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer, at Champlain College, in Burlington, Vt. In her role at Champlain College, she was responsible for defining and driving diversity and inclusion efforts, and helped lead the creation of a comprehensive infrastructure that included a strategic plan, innovative educational and cultural programming, and new partnerships across campus that strengthened institutional-wide practices and policies. As Chief Diversity Officer at RWU, Lambert will lead similar efforts toward improving diversity and inclusion at the university.

Lambert earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baylor University, a master’s degree in human resources and labor relations from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in human resources development, with a focus on organizational development and change, from the University of Texas at Tyler.

Rachel A. Nuzzo, Esq. :: Co-General Counsel

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Portrait of Rachel NuzzoRachel Nuzzo joined the Office of General Counsel at Roger Williams University in 2014 after sixteen years in private practice. She provides legal counsel and support to the University’s leadership and administrators in a broad range of areas including corporate and financial transactions, regulatory compliance, student affairs, litigation, intellectual property, immigration and risk management. She routinely represents the University in contractual negotiations and in judicial and administrative proceedings. She also supervises and manages the work of outside counsel on general liability and property claims and on financial, real estate, regulatory and other legal matters.

Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, her practice included representation of commercial entities and licensed professionals in judicial and administrative proceedings at law firms Winston & Strawn, Adler, Pollock & Sheehan and Nuzzo & Roberts as well as management of operational, transactional, intellectual property, corporate governance and risk management matters as in-house counsel for active sports company Real Watersports.

Ms. Nuzzo earned a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1998 and a B.A. in English from Middlebury College in 1995. She is admitted to practice law in Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.

Lisa Raiola, M.P.H. :: Vice President of Institutional Advancement

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Portrait of Lisa RaiolaAs Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Lisa Raiola is responsible for fundraising for both the University and the Law School, including major gifts, corporate and foundation relations, annual giving, and alumni/parent relations. She has more than 25 years of experience in program development and advancement at non-profit organizations in healthcare and higher education, with a special focus on distributive justice, social responsibility and economic development.

Before RWU, Ms. Raiola was a Vice President of Alumni Relations at Brown University and Deputy Director for the the Boldly Brown Campaign, a seven-year capital campaign which raised $1.6 billion – the most ambitious campaign in the University’s history. She was also a Clinical Assistant Professor for Community Health and Medical Ethics at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine, where she developed and instructed courses in public health research; health promotion and disease prevention; healthcare financing and system reform; and health disparity and the burden of disease.

Before Brown, Ms. Raiola spent nine years with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in Brookline, Mass., where she served as  the Director of Organizational Development, Clinical Training and Quality Management. At Harvard Health she also founded and led the first formal ethics program in managed care in the country.  

Ms. Raiola earned a bachelor of arts degree in biomedical ethics from Brown University and a master of public health from Boston University School of Medicine.

Joseph P. Sassi, Esq. :: Co-General Counsel

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Portrait of Joseph SassiJoseph Sassi joined Roger Williams University’s Office of General Counsel in 2011. In his current role, Mr. Sassi provides strategic advice and proactive counseling to the University’s executive management team and administration on a broad spectrum of higher education legal issues including litigation avoidance and management, regulatory compliance, ethics, risk management, and faculty affairs, with a particular emphasis on labor and employment law. He represents the University in negotiations, arbitration, mediation, and other administrative and judicial proceedings and is deeply involved in the day-to-day administration of the University’s collective bargaining agreements with its five recognized labor organizations. He also supervises and manages the work of outside counsel on insured employment and educator liability claims, as well as other litigation matters that may arise.

A 1999 graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law, Mr. Sassi spent the first nine years of his career practicing as an in-house attorney with legal department of the United States Postal Service (USPS). There, his practice was dedicated exclusively to the law of the workplace, and in that role, he, along with various United States Attorney’s Offices, defended the USPS in labor and employment litigation before various federal district courts around the northeastern United States. Another significant portion of Mr. Sassi’s practice was devoted to defending the agency in litigation before administrative tribunals including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the United States Merit Systems Protection Board.

In 2008, Mr. Sassi joined the University of Connecticut, where, for three years, he served in its equal employment opportunity function, first as a neutral attorney-investigator and fact-finder, and later as its director. During his time with UConn, Mr. Sassi served as an advisor, strategist, and subject matter resource to the university administration on a vast range of employment law and EEO compliance matters, and was a central contributor to the university’s development and implementation of related non-discrimination policies and procedures, including those touching upon Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Act of 1975.  

In addition to his law degree, Mr. Sassi holds a BA in government from Clark University, as well as a certification in mediation from the Quinnipiac University School of Law / UConn Labor Education Center. He is admitted to practice law in both Rhode Island and Connecticut, and is also a member of the bar of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Brian G. Williams, D.M. :: Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing

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Portrait of Brian WilliamsBrian Williams joined RWU as Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing (EMM) in 2017. The EMM division encompasses the offices of undergraduate and graduate admission, the office of financial aid, and university marketing.

Mr. Williams’ career has spanned all facets of the enrollment profession at five institutions prior to joining the RWU team. Since the early ’90s, Mr. Williams has worked across admission, financial aid, student retention, assessment, data analytics and institutional strategic planning. His approach to enrollment management embraces strong analytic competency with service excellence to create a campus culture focused on recruiting the future alumni for RWU.

Mr. Williams earned a doctorate of management degree in 2016 from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. His dissertation focused on the effects of visual analytics on organizational decision making behavior. He presents frequently at the regional and national level on the strategic use of data visualization and analytics in enrollment management.

In addition to his doctoral degree, Mr. Williams earned his master’s degree in higher education administration from Boston College, and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Hampshire.

Jerome F. Williams, M.B.A. :: Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

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Portrait of Jerome WilliamsJerome Williams came to Roger Williams University in early 2009 following an extensive career in state government and the financial services industry. Most recently, Mr. Williams served as the director of Rhode Island’s Department of Administration (DOA), a role he stepped into after a nomination from Governor Donald Carcieri.

Previously, Mr. Williams served as Department of Transportation director after more than a decade as deputy director of the DOA. His state government roles focused on a tremendous range of administrative functions including budgeting, internal auditing, accounting, purchasing, human resources, capital projects, facilities management and more. Prior to his tenure in state government, he served for nine years as a senior vice president of a major banking institution responsible for various business units.

In his role as executive vice president for finance and administration at RWU, Mr. Williams focuses much of his energy on merging the University’s fiscal needs with the expectations of students, families, alumni and employees with a close eye on ensuring that the University remains an effective, efficient organization.

Mr. Williams holds two bachelor’s degrees from Bryant University, where he studied institutional management and accounting. He also earned a master’s in business administration with a specialization in accounting from Bryant in 1986.

Andrew A. Workman, Ph.D. :: Provost and Senior Vice President

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Portrait of Andrew WorkmanAfter 19 years at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., Andrew A. Workman, Ph.D., joined Roger Williams University as provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs in July 2012. He serves as a key member of the senior administrative team and oversees all academic affairs responsibilities for the University.

Mr. Workman joined Mills College in 1993 as assistant professor of history, serving as a full-time faculty member – and eventual chair of the department of history – until 2002. That year, he accepted his first administrative position, becoming dean of social sciences. He subsequently advanced to associate dean of academic planning and development and then associate provost for academic affairs.

As vice provost starting in 2007, Mr. Workman led a five-year undertaking to transform the school’s first-year experience and advising programs – an effort that resulted in a 10 percent increase in first- to second-year retention rate – as well as a taskforce that overhauled the College’s tuition, financial aid and recruitment strategy and increased enrollment and tuition revenue by more than 25 percent. He played a lead role in doubling the number of faculty research proposals at Mills and increasing total sponsored research from $8 million to $20 million. In addition, he expanded academic support resources for undergraduates, creating a peer tutoring program and integrating it with writing and testing to form a new Center for Academic Excellence.

With a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and social theory earned in 1983 from New College of Florida, Provost Workman holds both master’s and doctoral degrees in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

He is an accomplished researcher with an extensive list of published works, many focused on history and policy from the United States during the President Franklin D. Roosevelt era. His teaching and research fields include 20th century U.S. history; intellectuals and public policy; labor history; African American history since Emancipation; and the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A community servant and engaged member of the Oakland community, Provost Workman co-led Words that Made America, a program for teaching history in two Northern California school districts. He is also founder and director of the Oakland Living History Program, which partners with community groups to produce oral histories on the city’s neighborhoods and communities.

Provost Workman was named to the inaugural cohort of the Council of Independent Colleges and American Academic Leadership Institute Senior Leadership Academy in 2010-11. In 2005, he earned the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association Award for Teaching Excellence.

Michael J. Yelnosky, Esq. :: Dean, Roger Williams University School of Law

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Portrait of Michael YelnoskyMichael J. Yelnosky became the dean of Roger Williams University School of Law on July 1, 2014.

Dean Yelnosky is a founding member of the RWU Law faculty. He served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for four years, and he was named Distinguished Service Professor in 2011. He has also taught as a visitor at Seton Hall University School of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law/IIT, and Villanova University School of Law.

Dean Yelnosky is an expert in employment and labor law, and much of his scholarship explores alternatives or adjuncts to traditional enforcement of employment discrimination law. He is a Research Fellow with NYU Law School’s Center for Labor and Employment Law. He has served as President of the Rhode Island chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association, and he was the neutral arbitrator in a major interest arbitration between the State of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers.

Another focus of Dean Yelnosky’s scholarship involves the judicial selection process, both in Rhode Island and nationally. He has written several articles and hosted a major symposium about Rhode Island’s merit selection system, and the major findings of his research into the role of the ABA in the federal judicial selection process were summarized in a Washington Post op-ed he wrote in 2013.  He is regularly quoted in the local and national media on these and other topics, and he has published several op-ed pieces in the Providence Journal.

In the classroom, Dean Yelnosky was a favorite with 1L students in Civil Procedure and with second and third year students in Employment Law, Labor Law, and Employment Discrimination.  He has also taught a course entitled Judicial Behavior and Social Change Litigation, with the Honorable William E. Smith, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.

In his previous administrative role as associate dean, Yelnosky was instrumental in leading the law school’s successful effort to gain membership in the Association of American Law Schools. He also designed and conducted annual studies of the scholarly output of the faculties of most American law schools, studies that documented the achievements of the faculty at Roger Williams and that garnered the attention of a national audience, including influential bloggers Brian Leiter and Paul Caron.

Dean Yelnosky graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and magna cum laude from the University of Vermont. Before he began teaching he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Edmund V. Ludwig in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and worked for two law firms: Mellon, Webster & Mellon; and Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius.

Under Dean Yelnosky’s watch, the School of Law has launched a D.C. Semester in Practice program, a Veteran’s Disability Appeals Clinic, a dual J.D./M.S. in Cybersecurity, a Master’s Program in Law for non-lawyers, and a 3+3 Program with Johnson & Wales University. The School of Law also helped launch the Rhode Island Center for Justice, a civil legal services office that represents indigent clients and is home to a fellowship program reserved exclusively for graduates of the School of Law.

Dean Yelnosky and his wife Laurie Barron are the parents of twins. Yelnosky has completed seven marathons, including Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.