Two Suffolk University alumni – a businessman/philanthropist and a nonprofit finance leader – have been elected as trustees by the Suffolk University Board.
Larry Smith, co-founder of the Nation Safe Drivers Group in Boca Raton, Florida, and Patricia J. “Trish” Gannon, executive vice president of finance and planning and chief financial officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, were confirmed by the board on Oct. 21.
“We welcome these new trustees, both of whom exemplify the success that a Suffolk education can bring and understand the University’s essential role in the city,” said Suffolk Board Chair Robert C. Lamb, Jr. “Trish Gannon has been a wonderful asset to the Sawyer Business School as a member and president of its Alumni Board and a founding member of its MPA Advisory Board, and she brings experience in higher education from her time at Merrimack College. Larry Smith, a businessman who has shared his success with his employees, also generously supports Suffolk athletics, student scholarships and more. We are fortunate to be adding these two strong, independent leaders to the board as we move the University forward.”
Acting President Marisa Kelly said: “I am excited that we are adding two dedicated members of the Suffolk community to the Board of Trustees. They will bring invaluable expertise, commitment and skills to strengthen Suffolk University.”
Gannon brings to the board significant organizational contributions as a leader in nonprofit and higher educational strategic management, and she is known for relationship building with clients, colleagues, donors and board members.
Smith has not only been a fan of the Suffolk Rams teams since he played and captained the basketball team, but the University bears his and his brother Michael’s names on a dining hall, fitness center and on the gymnasium floor in recognition of their generosity.
About Patricia Gannon
Gannon joined Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston in 2006 and serves as executive vice president, finance & planning, and CFO. She provides strategic leadership and policy development for the organization and direct oversight of all financial and planning functions, ensuring long-range sustainability as well as fiscal stability for the agency’s 11 clubs and programs. She manages a range of activities to support the financial, facility and technological functions of the agency, including construction projects, investments, budgets, audit, insurance and vendor relationships.
Formerly, Gannon had served as vice president for fiscal affairs and CFO of Merrimack College, where she provided strategic direction for the financial and facility operations of the four-year residential college. Gannon spent 10 years in senior leadership positions at the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, formerly Massachusetts Industrial Finance Agency, where she directed all financing programs including tax-exempt bonds, direct loans and loan guarantees, with particular focus on colleges and universities and other nonprofit institutions. She began her career at Boston’s Children’s Museum.
Gannon has served on boards and committees for several nonprofit organizations, including Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School Alumni Board, Boston Architectural College’s Board of Overseers, the Greater Lawrence YWCA’s Board of Directors and Bellesini Academy’s Board of Directors. She holds a BA in Economics from the College of the Holy Cross and an MPA from Suffolk University.
About Larry Smith
Larry Smith’s business career began even before he graduated from college, and he has spent more than 50 years in the auto club and insurance industry. Smith and his brother Michael started the Brookfield Insurance Agency in 1962. It grew from a Brockton storefront to seven offices in Massachusetts before they sold it 18 years later. The Smiths then moved to Florida, where they cofounded the Nation Safe Drivers Group in Boca Raton, offering auto insurance, roadside assistance and group insurance to members of major companies such as BJ’s Wholesale Club. The company was sold to its employees in 2014 through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, a trust that makes employees the beneficiaries.
Smith, BSBA ’65, attributes his professional accomplishments to his preparation at Suffolk. He has said that his family taught him the importance of successful people sharing their success with others, and he has done that with his employees and in the Suffolk community.
Together with his brother, Smith has engaged in philanthropy that has had a significant impact on the University, providing for the creation of an executive case discussion room in the Business School and establishing an endowed scholarship in memory of their friend, Pvt. Sheldon R. Cohen, who served in Vietnam. Smith and his brother also pledged support for the 20 Somerset academic building that opened in 2015, a fitness center that opened this fall, and for athletics programs.