The Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees appoints new chair and members, bids farewell to longtime trustee Perry Sook

Published: July 13, 2023 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees is honored to appoint Sandra (Sandy) Anderson as chair of The Ohio University Foundation Board, replacing Trustee Perry Sook who served on the Board for more than 20 years. Anderson is a retired partner of the Vorys law firm in Columbus, former Deputy General Counsel at The Ohio State University, and a proud OHIO alumna (’73).

Perry Sook
Perry Sook

“We are incredibly grateful for Perry’s service to this University over the
last two decades,” Nico Karagosian, president and CEO of The Ohio University Foundation, said. “He has played an amazing and critical role in ensuring the success of OHIO and our students. His passion and dedication to the entire OHIO community is apparent and has helped enhance our students’ experiences for years to come. He will leave big shoes to fill but we are honored to welcome Sandy in as the new chair and are confident that her leadership experiences, extensive knowledge, and love of this community
will serve our Board greatly.”

Two new members were also appointed to The Ohio University Foundation Board: Bill Brand, former CEO of Rue21 and OHIO alumnus (’87);
and Jeff Wright, Managing Director in Pantheon’s U.S. Investor Relations team and OHIO alumnus (’03). Current Ohio University Alumni Association Board Member Greg Moore will serve as the Ohio University Alumni Association Representative for the Foundation Board during the upcoming year. 

“It has been the greatest privilege to serve on The Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees and as chair,” Sook, who has served on the Board since 2001, said. “Ohio University holds a special place in my heart and is an institution that not only made me the man I am today but is continually providing opportunities to allow every student to achieve success. I’ve been honored to serve in a role that helps make the mission of this University possible.”

In addition to his role as chair of the Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees, Sook has served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nexstar since its inception in 1996. He founded Nexstar with one local television station and today, Nexstar Media Group is the largest local broadest television operator in the United States.

He has over 43 years of professional experience in broadcasting, covering all facets of the business, including ownership and mergers and acquisitions, management, sales, on-air talent and news. Sook also serves on the Board of the Broadcasters Foundation of America and as Chairman of the Television Board for the National Association of Broadcasters. Prior to Nexstar, he worked at Superior Communication Group, Seaway Communication and Cox Broadcasting.

Sook earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication in 1980 from the Scripps College of Communication. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a leadership honor society. He has also served on the campaign committees for both the Bicentennial and Promise Lives Campaigns.

In 2017, Sook was honored as Ohio Athletics first-ever recipient of the Athletic Director Award of Excellence. He is also a member of the Ohio Communication Hall of Fame.

He and his wife, Sandy, also gave a generous donation for the building of an athletics facility dedicated to providing student athletes with a collaborative space to study and for instructional support. The “Perry and Sandy Sook Academic Center” opened in 2018, providing classroom space, a computer lab, tutor rooms, offices for staff to interact with students and meeting rooms for group study. The center is located at the north end of Peden Stadium.

The Ohio University Foundation was established in 1945 by supporters of OHIO. The Foundation is an institutionally-related, tax-exempt nonprofit, serving as the repository for all private gifts to OHIO through annual giving programs.

Sandy Anderson Named Chair

Sandra Anderson
Sandra (Sandy) Anderson

“I’m thrilled to be stepping into the role of chair of The Ohio University Foundation Board,” Anderson said. “As an alumna, it is an honor to serve my alma mater in this capacity and work to promote how important and transformational an OHIO education is. I look forward to continuing to uphold the mission of this University along with so many other alums on the Board.”

Anderson earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication (summa cum laude) from the Scripps College of Communication in 1973. As an undergraduate, she was a member of the Forensics team and the Mortar Board honor society. She has served on the Ohio University Foundation Board since 2015 and was appointed by Governor Strickland to serve on the Ohio University Board of Trustees in 2007, where she served until 2016, including two terms as chair. She also served on both the Bicentennial and Promise Lives Campaign Committees for the College of Communication, on the Interpersonal Communications Alumni Advisory Council and was a member of Women in Philanthropy. In the past, she and Perry Sook were both members of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Scripps College of Communication.

After graduation from Northwestern University School of Law in 1976, Anderson clerked for Judge George Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She practiced law at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, specializing in civil litigation, for 33 years, and then worked as Deputy General Counsel with the Office of Legal Affairs at OSU, until 2013.

In addition to her new role as Foundation Board chair, Anderson is also board chair for the Dublin Arts Council and for the Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA), which provides legal aid services in 33 counties, including Athens. Past board leadership includes service as chair of the boards of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Equality Ohio, and the Legacy Fund of the Columbus Foundation. Other previous board service includes the Matriots PAC, Ohio State Bar Foundation, Life Success Seminars, and New Directions Career Center. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and was the first female president of the Columbus Bar Association. She served for six years on the Ohio Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, including as chair in her final year on the Board. She has served on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and as an adjunct professor at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, teaching Trial Advocacy. In 2020, she was named one of the Columbus YWCA’s “Women of Achievement.”

Bill Brand Appointed as New Trustee

Bill Brand
Bill Brand

Brand is a senior-level executive with over 30 years of visionary leadership experience accelerating growth at both public and private companies across the retail and media industries. Brand is respected for galvanizing and driving results-focused teams and transforming cultures.

Brand was most recently CEO and member of the board of directors of fashion retailer rue21.  The retailer tapped Brand to lead the company’s evolution in becoming a strong customer-centric, omni-channel retailer. Brand successfully led the company through transformational change delivering record earnings and stepped down in April of 2023. 

He began his retail career at HSNi where he spent 12 years in a number of roles – ultimately, being named president of HSN (Home Shopping Network). Brand transformed the TV shopping business to a true omni-channel experience that positioned HSN as a top 10 digital commerce company. His entertainment integration strategy resulted in unique partnerships with major film studios, the production of world-class events, the launch of global brands and innovative content across all of HSN’s platforms.

A storyteller at his core, Brand launched his executive career leading programming and production teams at Lifetime Television and VH1.   He began his career in local news production, working at stations across the country.

Brand earned a Bachelor of Science from the Scripps College of Communication in 1987. While an undergraduate student, he was on the Student Alumni Board and worked for WOUB TV and radio.

Brand has maintained an active role in supporting Ohio University. In 2011, he established an endowed scholarship to recognize the importance of community and to honor the lifelong relationships that form at Ohio University.   In 2016, Brand was the undergraduate commencement speaker and in 2023 was named a Trustee on the Ohio University Foundation Board.  

Jeff Wright
Jeff Wright

Jeff Wright Appointed as New Trustee

Wright is a Managing Director in Pantheon’s U.S. Investor Relations team with business development and client service responsibilities for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic territories. Pantheon is a private markets investment firm with over 40 years of experience across private equity, credit, infrastructure and real estate. 

He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the College of Business in 2003. Wright also served on the Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2017 to 2023.