The Board of Trustees elected a new slate of officers at its May 10 meeting: Arthur “Lex” Birney Jr. as chair, Susan Dyer as vice-chair, John Wobensmith ’93 as treasurer, and Lawrence Leak ’76 as secretary.
Transitioning from his position of Board of Trustees Chair to Trustee following the 2019 academic year is the Honorable Sven Erik Holmes. He assumed the Board’s top leadership position on July 1, 2016.
Holmes first became a trustee in 2011 in order “to contribute to the process of providing high-quality education to high-quality students and to participate in a vibrant liberal arts community.” He is chair of the Executive Committee, and a member of the following: Institutional Advancement Committee, Academic Affairs Committee, Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, Building and Grounds Committee; Finance, Investment and Audit Committee; Student Affairs Committee, and the Trustee Governance Committee.
During the annual Board of Trustees dinner following the May meeting, Trustee Danielle Troyan ’92 said of Holmes, “I appreciate his integrity, his razor-like approach, his humor, and his generosity.”
St. Mary’s College President Tuajuanda Jordan said of Holmes, “He took on this position with conviction. He had direction and focus. He did what was always in the best interest of the College with clear thinking and decisive action.” She continued, “He has always been counted among our donors and as our chair he significantly stepped it up. He was one of the first donors to help build the LEAD curriculum and led the challenge to raise funds for the Jamie L. Roberts Seahawk Fund. I say to you, thank you, sir.”
According to Holmes, “It has been an extraordinarily enriching experience to spend time with the leaders, President Jordan and the members of the Board of Trustees, who are talented. It’s an extraordinary place in every respect, not just the leaders, but also the faculty and students. It all comes together to make a unique institution. It’s been a great and wonderful experience to be chair for the last three years.”
Holmes is the vice chairman of KPMG LLP. In this role, he oversees the firm’s risk management functions as well as its office of general counsel, office of government affairs, security department and ethics and compliance program. Holmes also serves as KPMG’s chief legal officer, counsel to the board of directors and as a member of the management committee.
Previously, Holmes was a partner with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP when he was appointed by President William J. Clinton as United States District Judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma, where he served for 10 years, the last three as chief judge.
Holmes has served in a number of key positions in law, government and academia, including: adjunct professor of constitutional law, University of Tulsa College of Law, 1999-2005; general counsel and staff director, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 1987-1989; Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition (Iran-Contra Investigation),1987; executive director, Democrats for the 80’s (Independent Political Action Committee), 1983-1985; and administrative assistant, Oklahoma Governor David L. Boren, 1975-1977.
He was the vice president of the Baltimore Orioles from 1989-1993.
Holmes has received a number of awards including: Ethisphere’s 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics (2009); National Law Journal’s America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsel (2014); and Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting (2007). He is a member of the board of directors of Equal Justice Works, a member of the board of trustees for the Ford’s Theatre, and chairman of the Council for Court Excellence in Washington, D.C.
Holmes received his A.B. from Harvard University, his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and his LLM in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.
He resides in New York and Washington, D.C.