Board of Trustees elects three new members

Sydney Dietz, Sports editor

The Mercyhurst Board of Trustees will host their spring meeting on May 14. There will be three new faces attending the meeting; James G. Breckenridge Ph.D., Christine Spadafor, and Barbara Wening.  

These three individuals are Mercyhurst’s newly elected trustees that will be welcomed at the meeting.  

James G. Breckenridge, Ph. D. has a history with Mercyhurst. From 1998-2001, Breckenridge served as director of admissions. He was the first chair of the Intelligence Studies Department and was the founding dean of the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences from 2014-2017.  

Not only was he the dean of Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences, but he also served as dean of the Walker School of Business and executive director of the research arm of the intel department.  

Breckenridge was named provost of the U.S. Army War College in 2017 where he served as the chief academic officer and senior civilian. The college is the U.S. Army’s senior institution for professional military education in which it educates over 2,400 military, Department of Defense (DOD) civilian, international and interagency students.  

While Breckenridge was pursuing his military career, he taught Middle Eastern History and served as the course director for the World History Program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was honored with the Legion of Merit and was also chosen as a Foundation for Defense of Democracies Fellow for the study of Middle Eastern security issues.  

Breckenridge has earned his doctorate in Organizational Learning and Leadership.  

In addition to receiving his doctorate, he also has a Master’s in Business Administration. He is an alumnus from the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech in which he earned a bachelor’s degree in history.  

Christine Spadafor is an Erie native and is the CEO of SpadaforClay Group. She has worked as an advisor to Fortune 500 C-suite executives.  

She serves as an independent director on boards of public and private companies such as Boyd Gaming Corporation, which is a $3.5B NYSE- listed company, Intus Care, and Kindred at Home, which is the largest provider of home care and hospice in the United States.  

Spadafor has been on the advisory board for National Public Radio Station WBUR and is a commentator on the BBC “Business Matters” global radio broadcast and podcast.  

Spadafor graduated from Harvard Law School and also Harvard School of Public Health.  

On top of attending law school, Spadafor was recognized by the American Bar Association as one of the top 20 female attorneys with business expertise for board service.  

Spadafor also has ties relating back to Mercyhurst such as Breckenridge did. In 2019, Spadafor created an endowed chair in music and an endowed scholarship in voice performance in honor of her late mother, Mary Pellegrino Spadafor. She also gave the graduation address at the 91st commencement ceremony.  

Barbara Wenig is a Mercyhurst alumni from Rome, Italy. She graduated from Mercyhurst University in 1995 and earned her bachelor’s degree in Finance and Business Administration.  

After earning her degree, she obtained a successful career in New York City finance. While she was in New York she led strategic initiatives, oversaw client operations, and worked with data and analytics. 

Her first job was an insurance startup that was affiliated with the New York University Medical Center. Wenig spent two years at this job working on financial programs and analytics.  

She later spent five years at HMS, which is a health care technology and analytics solutions firm where she earned her CPA and CFA designations and ran as the financial planning and analysis function.  

However, in September 2021, she joined Principal Global Investors as the head of global operations and platforms.  

Wenig is in control of advancing strategic initiatives, managing relationships with board members, clients, and industry constituents, and also engaging in new business efforts in support of PGI’s global platforms.  

Mercyhurst is lucky to have knowledgeable and certified trustees joining the Mercyhurst Community. The three trustees will soon be joining the Mercyhurst University board, which means they will soon be able to call Hurst home.