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Senior Leadership Team

Colby-Sawyer College's Senior Leadership Team is composed of the president, the vice presidents, and representatives from the faculty and staff. Together, they review all academic, administrative and financial issues associated with the institution and work closely with the Board of Trustees to fulfill the college's mission of preparing students to thrive in, and make a positive impact upon, a dynamic, diverse and interdependent world.

Nick Baer

Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, School of Arts & Sciences
M. Roy London Endowed Chair

Nick Baer joined the Colby-Sawyer faculty in 2004. He received a BA from the University of Vermont and a PhD from the University of Maryland. Nick’s teaching interests include aquatic biology, conservation biology, ecology, water resources, environmental science, capstone research and field-based courses. He concentrates on exploring the surrounding landscape, flora, and fauna, as well as how humans interact with natural resources. He leads activities and field trips throughout New Hampshire and takes advantage of the lakes, streams and forests around New London. His field courses take students to Colorado and Utah and to the mountains of New Hampshire and Maine. Nick's research interests include studying freshwater food web dynamics and the influence of water chemistry on ecosystem structure and function. Another avenue of his research has focused on birds of prey and incidence of pathogens and heavy metal bioaccumulation. Nick’s recent research includes testing for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile virus and Mercury in migrating hawks. He also has students working with community members to identify groundwater contaminants in well water. A common theme to his research is to engage students in understanding how human-derived impacts affect our natural resources and the organisms that rely on them.

Pete Berthiaume

Associate Dean of Students & Director of Emergency Management

Pete Berthiaume joined Colby-Sawyer in 1993 as the director of campus safety and was appointed associate dean of students and director of emergency management in July 2021. In this role, Pete oversees Residential Education, as well as the Baird Health and Counseling Center, Campus Safety and Citizenship Education. Pete is passionate about student safety, and over the past 30 years, he has developed and facilitated numerous crisis intervention and emergency management training programs, not only for Colby-Sawyer, but also for other institutions throughout the Northeast. From 2007 to 2011, Pete was the emergency management director for the town of New London, and he has also served as president and vice president of the New Hampshire Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. He spent many years as a co-director and instructor for the New Hampshire Campus Safety Academy. Pete holds a Bachelor of Science in security management from Bellevue University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of New Hampshire. In his free time, he enjoys music, spending time with his family and staying busy on his farm.

Karen I. Bonewald

Vice President for Finance and Administration

Karen Bonewald was named vice president for finance and administration and treasurer of the college in May 2018 and oversees Financial Services, Facilities and Dining Services. Karen was hired as assistant controller in 2001, promoted to business manager in 2002 and to controller in 2004. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from New Hampshire College and an MBA from Plymouth State College. Karen enjoys volunteering as a trustee at Proctor Academy, spending time with her family, practicing yoga and walking the campus with her two Bernese Mountain Dogs, Rudy and Ridge.

Robin Burroughs Davis

Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

After a brief period as interim vice president for student development and dean of students, Robin Davis was named the permanent chief student development officer in November 2016. Robin oversees Athletics, the Baird Health and Counseling Center, Student Activities, Campus Safety, Citizenship Education, the Hogan Sports Center, Residential Education and Student Success and Retention. Robin has served the college since 1996 and held the roles of director of citizenship education and associate dean of students. Robin also serves as the Title IX coordinator and holds certifications as a Title IX investigator and in advanced Clery Training. She has also been an adjunct instructor for writing and taught a first-year seminar course on leadership for many years. Robin received a BA in English education and an MS in college and community counseling from Longwood University, and she earned a JD from Northwestern California University School of Law. Outside of work, Robin supports our students at any number of events as well as completing road races and baking her famous treats.

Valerie LeClair

Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing

Valerie Leclair joined Colby-Sawyer College in January 2023 as vice president for admissions and financial aid. Valerie is tasked with designing and implementing a holistic strategic plan for Colby-Sawyer’s long-term enrollment success to include a growing number of graduate programs and pre-professional tracks that complement its undergraduate offerings. Valerie, who has more than 20 years of experience in higher education enrollment, previously served as the executive director of undergraduate and graduate admissions at Rivier University in Nashua, New Hampshire. Prior to Rivier, Valerie spent nearly a decade as the director of admissions at Hesser College in Salem, New Hampshire, and three years in the same role at The Salter School in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. She holds a Master of Science in higher education administration from Southern New Hampshire University and a Bachelor of Arts in theater from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Valerie lives in Windham, New Hampshire, with her husband and two children.

Daniel B. Parish

Vice President for College Advancement

Dan Parish joined Colby-Sawyer in August 2017 as vice president for college advancement to lead Alumni Relations, Development and community partnerships programs. Dan has more than 25 years of experience in higher education. He began his career in undergraduate admissions and has worked at Connecticut College, Phillips Exeter Academy and Dartmouth College. After serving as the director of admissions recruitment at Dartmouth College for a decade, Dan was the inaugural director of the Dartmouth for Life program in the Office of Alumni Relations. In this role, he was a member of the advancement management team and coordinated a number of alumni initiatives. Dan earned his AB in history at Dartmouth College and an EdM in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Dan grew up hiking and camping with his family, and he loves to get outside as often as he can to hike, run and ski.

Eden Wales Freedman

Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculty

Following a national search, Eden Wales Freedman was appointed academic vice president, dean of faculty and professor of arts and sciences in 2023 to oversee the faculty, academic departments and academic support services. Previously, Eden served as vice president for academic affairs, dean of faculty and professor of English at Clarke University in Iowa; vice provost for academic affairs and associate professor at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; and division chair of communication, literature and arts at Mount Mercy University in Iowa, where she became a tenured English professor. Eden is an accomplished teacher-scholar with expertise in American literature, race, gender, trauma and reception theories. Her pedagogical excellence has been recognized through multiple teaching awards, and her book, Reading Testimony, Witnessing Trauma (UP Mississippi, 2020), won the Eudora Welty Prize for its innovative approach to literature. Eden is an active member of her community. She regularly offers public lectures and workshops and has served on multiple boards. She is the chair-elect of New Hampshire Women in Higher Education. Eden received her BA in English and political science from Swarthmore College, MA in literature from Boston College and PhD in literature from the University of New Hampshire. Outside of work, she loves to read and write, explore new places and spend time with her husband, Matthew, and dog, Sawyer.