Michael Pergola named president of Graduate Institute

Michael Pergola has been named president of the Graduate Institute, taking the place of A. Harris “Bud” Stone, who will remain as chancellor of the school.

Stone founded the school in 1999. The Graduate Institute's mission is to provide adults the opportunity to earn master's degrees and graduate certificates in contemporary and emerging fields of study such as integrative health and healing, learning and thinking, consciousness studies, organizational leadership, writing and oral tradition, ecotherapy and cultural sustainability.

“The Graduate Institute will continue in its commitment to provide adult learners with both rigorous academics, and opportunities to change themselves and the world,” said Pergola, whose background includes serving as an educator, business executive, lawyer, coach, organizational leader and ordained interfaith minister. He is also one of the founders of the Institute for Regenerative Learning, a non-profit organization.

“The Graduate Institute was founded on the belief that education can inspire people to find creative solutions to pressing societal challenges,” he said. “Given the pressing demands we face today on the planet, these aspirations are more important than ever. Our team is excited to continue that mission, as well as to add new programs and community outreach that strengthens our commitment to inspire colleagues to find their purpose and passion and to leave the world a healthier place for the children and grandchildren of every species.”

Working on the team with Pergola are:

Charles H. Silverstein, the new vice president for academic affairs. A former investment analyst and mathematics educator, he has focused in recent years on research related to transformative practices, spiritual development, alternative healing, personal growth, and somatic practices and awareness.

Gina McCaffrey, who continues to serve as chief operating officer, is a co-founder of the Institute.

Andrew Summa is the Institute's continuing provost. Before coming to the Institute, he was a New York public school teacher, and held other positions, including elementary school principal and assistant to the superintendent for special projects.

Judith Hyde, co-founder of the Children's Law Center of Connecticut, is the new president of the Board of Directors.

Enrico Cheli, professor at the University of Siena, Italy, is a transpersonal psychologist, sociologist, and musician, who has long been committed to combining science and spirituality. He will serve on the faculty and board.

Lynnea Brinkerhoff is a certified executive and wellness coach, social action researcher, and ordained interfaith minister. She will be a strategic advisor guiding the transition to new management and enhanced community involvement.

Eva Archer-Smith is an experienced executive coach, facilitator and keynote speaker. She will focus on board and staff development.

Pergola said, “Our young people need jobs; income disparity needs to be addressed; our elders need a place to use their talents; and the planet our children will inherit can no longer be taken for granted. To that end, The Graduate Institute will be working towards the launch of a variety of exciting new courses, re-imagining our vision and deepening our community connections.”

The Graduate Institute is a non-profit graduate school located in Bethany, formerly in Milford, that offers Master of Arts degrees and certificates in emerging and contemporary fields of study. For more information visit learn.edu or call 203-874-4252.