Sterling College Announces the Election of Officers

Six members of the Sterling College Board of Trustees have been elected to serve as officers.

Peter Chehayl, MBA, CPA; Chair. An alumni parent, Chehayl was first elected to the board in 2005, and served four terms as treasurer before being elected chair in 2017.  Chehayl spent 30 years in financial positions, culminating with his post as CFO of Centennial Communications. He has served on the board of directors of Madison River Communications, a rural telephone company; the National Hemophilia Foundation; and the Kansas City Institute of Art. While Naples, FL. is their primary residence, Chehayl  and his wife Liz have a home in Albany, VT. Their son, Daniel, graduated from Sterling.

Allison Hooper, Vice Chair. Hooper made her mark as one of the first artisan cheesemakers in the country, co-founding Vermont Butter & Cheese Co. (now Vermont Creamery) in 1984, and, over the years, winning more than 100 awards and bringing French-style cheeses, butter, and other everyday delicacies to the American table. As president of the American Cheese Society from 2005 to 2008, Hooper has been a voice for and mentor to U.S. cheesemakers. She and her husband, Don, live on a farm in Brookfield, VT, where they raised three sons. She was first elected to the board in 2014.

Wendy Koenig, J.D.; Secretary.  Koenig brings experiences as a grass-roots lobbyist in Washington, DC, and as a consultant in higher education. She served as Director of the Manhattan office of Brain Trust, an innovative staffing agency for the IT and new media fields. Koenig is currently the Director of Government Relations for the University of Vermont. She was first elected to the board in 2008.

Eric Becker, CFA; Treasurer. Eric Becker is Clean Yield Asset Management’s chief investment officer and has been engaged in social and environmental investing since 1993. Eric was a founding member of the Slow Money movement and co-founded Slow Money Boston and Slow Money Vermont, which seek to connect investors and entrepreneurs in the service of building a healthier and more robust food system.. He is a founding board member of The Carrot Project, a sustainable agriculture finance organization. He lives in St. George, VT. This marks his seventh year on the board.

Catherine Donnelly, Ph.D., ad hoc member. Donnelly is a Professor of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Vermont where she has been a member of the faculty for 37 years. She served as Associate Dean and Associate Director of the Vermont Agricultural Experiment Station for UVM’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences before returning to the faculty. A food microbiologist by training, Donnelly is internationally recognized for her food safety work on the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. She has worked closely with Vermont artisan cheesemakers and served as Editor in Chief for The Oxford Companion to Cheese for which she received a James Beard Award. She joined the board in 2011 and has previously served as Vice Chair.

Sherilyn Peterson, J.D.; ad hoc member. She is Of Counsel with the law firm of Perkins Coie, practicing in its Seattle, WA office. She has a strong interest in serving the bar’s pro bono needs. Her representation of death row inmates challenging Washington State’s execution protocol forced the state to change its method of execution and earned her recognition as the first civil litigator to receive the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ President’s Award in 2009. Peterson has more recently represented homeless individuals challenging government sweep policies.  She is also an arbitrator for King County, Washington’s Mandatory Arbitration Program. She and her husband, Richard Coyle, own a home in Craftsbury Common and are committed to historic preservation. She was first elected to the board in 2018.


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