University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation Board of Directors Elects New Officers

AMHERST, Mass. - Four new officers were recently elected to one-year terms on the University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation’s Board of Directors. They are Eugene Isenberg, president; John Armstrong, vice president; George “Trigger” Burke, secretary/clerk; and Joyce Hatch, treasurer.

The foundation leads and supports private fund-raising on behalf of the faculty, staff and students of the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts. Its board of directors provides leadership for the development of philanthropic investment in support of the campus’s research, teaching and outreach. The foundation works closely with campus leaders to identify possibilities for private support and to enhance UMass Amherst’s effectiveness in communicating its strength and opportunities to the institution’s many constituencies. The foundation’s current priority is to generate support for a planned university-wide fund-raising campaign.

The board of directors is a diverse group of volunteers who have demonstrated their interest in the Amherst campus and have contributed their support in various ways.

The new president of the board, Eugene Isenberg, is CEO and chairman of Houston-based Nabors Industries, the world’s largest land-based oil and gas drilling firm. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics with a concentration in business from UMass Amherst in 1950. Over the years, his support for UMass Amherst has included scholarships for interdisciplinary learning in engineering, science and business, and a $6 million gift he and wife, Ronnie, made to the School of Management, which was named in his honor in 1997.

Leading the foundation board, says Isenberg, offers yet another opportunity to help move UMass forward. “I know first-hand the value of a UMass education and the key role in has played in my success,” he says. “Through the foundation, I can help UMass Amherst prepare another generation of students to accomplish great things.”

The foundation’s new vice president, John Armstrong, holds a B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University and worked for 30 years in research at IBM, where his positions included vice president for science and technology and director of research. Armstrong has served as a presidential appointee as a member of the National Science Board, and currently chairs the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He became involved with UMass almost immediately after moving to Amherst from Westchester County, N.Y. in 1993. He has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the College of Engineering, and he and his wife, Elizabeth, are the founders of the Armstrong Endowment, which supports a full-time professor in engineering.

As state and federal resources are stretched thin, says Armstrong, “Alumni and the public at large are increasingly being asked to contribute to the support of first-rate public universities. It is my hope that the UMass Amherst Foundation will be able to greatly increase the level of support that comes from these private sector sources.”

George “Trigger” Burke, who is the board’s secretary/clerk, was a basketball star at UMass Amherst, where he received his undergraduate degree in 1956. After a year with the Boston Celtics, he obtained his law degree from Boston College and is now a successful trial attorney. Still a UMass basketball devotee, he regularly makes the 200-mile round-trip to Amherst to attend games. He also led the effort to revive the campus’s Athletic Hall of Fame, which is named in his honor. Burke received an honorary degree from the UMass Amherst in 1996 and the Chancellor’s Medal in 2001. He lives in Quincy.

In addition to serving as the board’s treasurer, Joyce Hatch is vice chancellor for administration and finance at UMass Amherst. As the chief fiscal officer for the campus, she is responsible for establishing, implementing and maintaining financial policies. Hatch earned her MBA at UMass Amherst in 1988. She is a resident of Amherst.

For more information, visit the University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation Web site at