Christel Ford Berry of Hartford, an attorney and financial planner, was recently sworn-in by Gov. Deval Patrick as one of three new members of the Westfield State College Board of Trustees. The other two new members are Judge Terry M. Craven of Milton, and Ryan F. Meersman of Charlton, student representative to the board.
“Both Judge Craven and Christel Ford Berry have deep and significant ties to the college and we are grateful they are returning to contribute their leadership skills,” said Evan S. Dobelle, president of Westfield State. “Ryan Meersman also promises to be an outstanding representative of the student body, and we wish him well.”
Nanci Salvidio, executive assistant to the president, recommended Berry for the board.
Berry has been the head of Ford Berry Associates in Hartford for more than 25 years as part of her successful career as an attorney and financial planner. She was previously an associate attorney with the Hartford law firms Hebb & Gitlin and Shipman & Goodwin.
She has also been active in professional and civic organizations. She is a board member of the Hartford Courant Foundation, treasurer and board member of Connecticut Landmarks and a member of the Hartford Association for Women Attorneys. She is also on the Board of Trustees of Friends of Elizabeth Park, a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum and an incorporator of the Hartford Seminary in Hartford and the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford.
She and her husband, Thomas I. Berry Jr., have three children. She has a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and a juris doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
However, Berry has strong family ties to Westfield State. Her father, Donald A. Ford Sr., worked at Westfield State for more than 20 years, retiring in 1991. His career included serving as associate dean of students, director of the Campus Center and director of Affirmative Action.
As board member, Berry said she hopes to contribute to the quality of education at Westfield State, as well as encourage a more diverse faculty and student body.
“I think the opportunity to serve on [the board] is a wonderful way to give back and help make a difference,” Berry said.