At its winter 2021 meeting, the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Board of Trustees unanimously elected its newest members to serve four-year terms.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are proud to announce that at its winter 2021 meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously elected five new members to its ranks. All will begin their service in July 2021 and will serve four-year terms. They include New York State Senator Jeremy A. Cooney ’04; landscape architect and philanthropist Josephine Grayson P’18; psychologist and mental health expert Dr. Paula Miltenberger P’23; Citi Private Bank Managing Director Mehrnaz “Naz” Vahid-Ahdieh ’85, P’17; and Stephen Wong ’89, Chairman of Investment Banking for Hong Kong and Asia Pacific ex-Japan Head of the real estate group at Goldman Sachs.
“I am thrilled to welcome these accomplished and passionate members of the Hobart and William Smith community onto the Board,” says Board Chair Craig R. Stine ’81, P’17. “They each bring a significant amount of experience and insight, and their perspectives will be tremendously helpful as we work together to further the Colleges.”
Cooney was adopted by Anne Cooney ’63, P’04 from an Indian orphanage and recently made history as the first Asian elected to state office from Upstate New York. Cooney serves as the State Senator for the 56th District of New York, representing the City of Rochester. His professional career has been dedicated to serving others, as the senior director for downstate community relations for Empire State Development under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the first chief of staff to Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, personal aide to U.S. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, and as a vice president for the YMCA of Greater Rochester. A third-generation HWS graduate, member of the Druid Honor Society and Chi Phi Fraternity, and a former president of Hobart Student Government, he graduated from Hobart College cum laude with honors with a B.A. in public policy studies, minoring in economics and philosophy. Cooney received his J.D. from Albany Law School, where he was elected as his class president and to the Law Review’s editorial board. He is married to Dr. Diane Lu, M.D., a urologic surgeon at the University of Rochester. Cooney previously served as a member of the President’s Advisory Council and is now proud to follow his great uncle, Dr. Robert Doran ’22, L.H.D. ’72, on the HWS Board of Trustees.
Grayson spent a decade in the financial markets before becoming a landscape architect and environmentalist. She went on to spend nearly 12 years at Rutgers University, where she contributed to the planning of the institution’s land use, managing environmental projects and monitoring new construction. Driven by creativity, social good and beautiful spaces, Grayson now pursues her interests in art and her family philanthropic organizations, The Peter and Josephine Grayson Foundation and the Fund for Individual Potential. She holds a B.S. in environmental planning and design from Rutgers as well as a B.S. in business from the College of New Rochelle; she has also completed extended study programs at Parsons School of Design, Universita Bocconi in Milan, and the School of Visual Arts in New York. Grayson is a former member of the Parents Executive Committee and served as a judge for the 2020 Pitch Contest. Lifetime members of the Cook Parents Circle, she and her husband Peter Grayson P’18 have established funds at HWS to support scholarships, entrepreneurship, studio arts and resources at the Center for Teaching and Learning. Their philanthropic gifts have also supported Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, among other causes and institutions. Josephine and Peter have two children, Eric and Bradley ’18.
Miltenberger is a licensed psychologist and founder of Women’s Mental Wellness, a private practice that provides comprehensive mental health care for women. Outside of her private practice, Miltenberger is a consulting psychologist for Medical City Dallas’ Women’s Hospital, where she works with women experiencing high-risk pregnancies, as well as candidates for fetal surgery. A published author on issues related to loss and perinatal depression, Miltenberger earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas; a B.A in international relations from Baylor University and a B.S. in psychology from University of North Texas. Miltenberger serves on the Board of Family Gateway. In 2019, Miltenberger, her husband Bay Miltenberger P’23 and their children, Bryce ’23, Bo, Brady and Brooks, were presented the first Annette G. Strauss Community Service Award, recognizing their exemplary support for families affected by homelessness.
Vahid-Ahdieh began her career with Citi Private Bank as an intern and has since risen to managing director. With more than three decades’ experience, she leads the bank’s Global Law Firm Group, managing more than 200 employees in 14 locations. Vahid-Ahdieh created and developed Citi Private Bank’s mentoring program and led the company’s diversity committee for North America. She holds a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University; a B.A. in economics and sociology from William Smith College; and series 24, 7 and 63 licenses. A donor to the Centennial Endowment Fund, she established the Naz Vahid ’85 Annual Internship for William Smith students in 2015. She has been a volunteer for the HWS Career Network, a judge for The Pitch contest and a member of the William Smith Alumnae Council Honors Committee. In 2015, she received a citation from the Alumnae Association and in 2018 was presented with the Board of Trustees’ Career Services Award. In 2019, she joined the President’s Leadership Council. Vahid-Ahdieh serves on the board of the Tahirih Justice Center, which focuses on providing pro bono legal help to women suffering from violence. She is a past board member of Bottomless Closet, which works to reduce the barriers women in New York City face in the search for employment.
Wong, a financial industry veteran, currently serves as a managing director, Chairman of Investment Banking for Hong Kong and Asia Pacific ex-Japan Head of the real estate group at Goldman Sachs. He has been an executive at Goldman Sachs since 2005 covering corporate, financial sponsor and sovereign clients throughout the Greater China region and Silicon Valley. In 2020, for his commitment to clients, leadership, ethics, professionalism, teamwork and mentorship with Goldman Sachs, Wong was recognized with the company’s prestigious John L. Weinberg Award. Wong graduated cum laude with a B.A. in economics from Hobart and William Smith, where he was captain of the tennis team and was a Durfee and Benjamin Hale Scholar. He went on to earn a J.D. from Stanford Law School. Before joining Goldman Sachs, he served as an executive director of Equity Capital Markets with Morgan Stanley Asia Limited. A life-long collector and one of the world’s foremost authorities on baseball history and its artifacts, Wong is the author of Smithsonian Baseball: Inside the World’s Finest Private Collections (2005) and Game Worn: Baseball Treasures from the Game’s Greatest Heroes and Moments (2016), both of which were runner up for the Casey Award. He is currently a senior honorary advisor and major lender to “Baseball: America’s Home Run,” the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s upcoming exhibition of the history and artifacts of the national pastime, which is planning to open in Fall 2021.