Robert Bertagna ’85 named chair of Union College Board of Trustees

Publication Date

Robert D. Bertagna ’85 was elected chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees at its meeting Saturday.

Robert Bertagna

He succeeds John E. Kelly III ’76, who completed his four-year term as chair. The executive vice president for IBM, Kelly will remain on the board.

Bertagna is vice chairman and head of mergers and acquisitions at Macquarie Capital in New York. A longtime supporter to the College, he joined the board in 2007.

Bertagna received his bachelor’s degree in economics. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

At Union, he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. He was a four-year starting defensive back for the football team that reached the 1983 Stagg Bowl, the Division III championship. As a senior, he was named an Academic All-American. Bertagna was also a four-year letter winner in track and field.

During Homecoming festivities last fall, the College renamed the stadium at Bailey Field the Bertagna-Class of 1985 Stadium in honor of Bertagna and his wife, Julianne, as well as in recognition to his classmates.

The couple has two children, Isabella and Robert.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Bertagna said. “I owe much of who I am today to the education and experience I received at Union. I’m looking forward to working with President Harris and my fellow board members to ensure that future generations who come to this school can say the same.”

President David R. Harris said, “Bob’s passion and commitment to Union is undeniable. His character, dedication and values exemplify the traits we try to instill in all of our students. We are proud and excited to have him lead the board as we embark on an exciting new chapter guided by a bold strategic plan.

“I also cannot say enough about the strong leadership John provided as chair,” Harris said. “He has been a tremendous asset to the board and we are grateful for his service.”

Stanley O’Brien ’74, was elected vice chair of the board, succeeding Bertagna. A retired vice president for BNY Mellon, O’Brien joined the board in 2007.

Ellen Smith ’80 was named secretary of the board. A senior managing director for FTI Consulting in Boston, Smith joined the board in 2010.

William Perlstein '71 was re-elected general counsel. He is chief deputy general counsel for BNY Mellon. He joined the board in 2017.