SMITHFIELD, RI – Continuing Bryant University’s long history of distinctive and highly accomplished Board Chairs, visionary entrepreneur and venture capitalist David M. Beirne '85 will succeed William J. Conaty ’67 as Chair of the Bryant University Board of Trustees. This comes at an important and exciting time for the University and supports the transition to a new era of leadership for Bryant University with President Ross Gittell, Ph.D. at the helm. Fellow alumni Beirne and Conaty share a passion for Bryant’s dramatic rise in higher education and surging ascent in prestigious national rankings. Both men will work closely with President Gittell throughout the summer to ensure a smooth transfer of authority.
“Together, we have made great achievements across the board. As a result, today’s Bryant is a game-changer in higher education and I’m confident Dave Beirne will lead us to even greater heights.”
Mr. Conaty has served as Chair of the Bryant Board of Trustees for nearly a decade of outstanding leadership. As Senior Vice President (retired), Corporate Human Resources General Electric Company, he was the human resources leader for over 300,000 GE employees worldwide. He is widely acclaimed for his track record of innovation and was the architect behind many of GE's HR practices in the areas of workforce differentiation and succession planning. Mr. Conaty currently serves as a senior operating advisor for the private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier, & Rice and is on the Board of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, New Hampshire’s only academic health system and the state’s largest private employer. He has been a member of Bryant University’s Board since 2008, with broad and distinguished service as Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary of the Executive Committee.
"Our Vision 2030 agenda will be designed to reimagine higher education and will continue to differentiate Bryant from the competition.”
Effective on October 1, 2020, he will be succeeded by David M. Beirne ’85, a trustee with nearly 20 years of notable service on the Board’s Executive and Finance Committees, and as Chair of the Nominating Committee and Vice Chair of the Compensation Committee. A leading force in the information technology arena for more than 30 years, Mr. Beirne is General Partner and Co-Founder of X10 Capital, LLC, a pioneering private equity fund. Prior to X10, he was one of the five original General Partners at Benchmark Capital, LLC, helping to establish the firm as one of the leading venture capital firms in information technology. Before joining Benchmark, Mr. Beirne co-founded Ramsey/Beirne Associates, a firm nationally recognized as the leader in senior management, high-impact executive search in information technology. Mr. Beirne has been named to the Forbes Midas list of top technology investors as well as being named one of the Top 25 Executives in Information Technology.
“It has been my distinct pleasure to work closely with President Ron Machtley and now Ross Gittell, our trustees, my fellow alumni, and Bryant’s team in taking the University to the next level” said Conaty, who will continue to serve as a board member. “Together, we have made great achievements across the board. As a result, today’s Bryant is a game-changer in higher education and I’m confident Dave Beirne will lead us to even greater heights.”
“Bryant is the nation’s leading university in preparing graduates to be real-world ready,” says incoming Board Chair David Beirne. “Bryant stands out in today’s competitive academic climate because it prepares students with the leadership skills that will make the difference in our ever-changing environment.”
Mr. Beirne was compelled to join Bryant’s Board in 2001, in order to help drive the Vision 2020 strategic plan and Expanding the World of Opportunity campaign. He firmly believes that Bryant has the opportunity to reimagine education for the 21st century and looks forward to leading the Board of Trustees and Bryant community in developing the Vision 2030 strategy and campaign.
“A global pandemic provides the opportunity for all institutions to step back and reevaluate their business. Bryant’s strong balance sheet and leadership team provides a clarity of vision while others are in disarray. Our Vision 2030 agenda will be designed to reimagine higher education and will continue to differentiate Bryant from the competition,” Beirne notes.
“David Beirne is a forward-thinking innovator and leader, and I am excited by the opportunities his Board leadership will create for the University.”
“I cannot thank Bill Conaty enough for committing to remain on the Board of Trustees and helping me during my transition to President of Bryant University,” said Ross Gittell. “David Beirne is a forward-thinking innovator and leader, and I am excited by the opportunities his Board leadership will create for the University.”
Beirne and Conaty have each supported Bryant’s climb through exceptional leadership as Board members and outstanding philanthropy. Under Conaty’s leadership as Chair of the Board, Bryant’s academic programs have been recognized with top national rankings and the University successfully attained several transformative institutional goals while establishing a strong foundation and trajectory for continued success in the future. With fellow Trustee Patricia O’Brien, D.B.A., P ’15, Chair of the Bryant Board of Trustees Academic and Faculty Committee, he co-chaired the national search that led to the appointment of Bryant’s ninth President, Ross Gittell, Ph.D., who succeeded President Ron Machtley on July 1. Together with Michael E. Fisher ’67, Conaty co-chaired Bryant’s historic capital campaign, Expanding the World of Opportunity, which concluded on December 31, 2019, with $111 million raised and set a record for the highest philanthropy in the school’s 157-year history. Bryant Builds, the largest facilities initiative since Bryant’s move from Providence to Smithfield 50 years ago, added more than 250,000 square feet of innovative facilities that inspire excellence and included, among other projects: a new campus entrance; the nationally recognized Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center; the David M. and Terry Beirne Stadium Complex and its award-winning Bulldog Strength and Conditioning Center; the William J. and Sue Conaty Indoor Athletic Center, the largest facility of its kind in the region; Conaty Park Baseball and Softball Complex; and the Chace Wellness Center Training Room.
Conaty served as captain of Bryant’s 1967 baseball team and was inducted into Bryant’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. He was recognized with Bryant’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999. Author of The Talent Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers and frequently cited as a role model for others turning HR organizations into strategic business partners, he is among Bryant’s most accomplished alumni and he and his wife, Sue, are among the top five most generous donors in Bryant history.
Entrepreneur and venture capitalist David Beirne is also among Bryant’s most accomplished and philanthropic alumni. Former captain and member of the men’s lacrosse team, he was inducted into Bryant’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015. Mr. Beirne serves as Vice Chair on the Board of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and on the boards of several private firms including Divergent 3D, Los Cazadores, Pnuma Outdoors, and Artist Republik.
For 157 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. Located on a contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant enrolls approximately 3500 undergraduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, College Factual, and Barron's. Visit www.Bryant.edu.