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Senior Management Team

The senior management team at Lasell University is made up of representatives from each department. The team is responsible for the strategic growth and vision of the University.

Eric Turner

Eric Turner, M.B.A.


Education: M.B.A., Harvard Business School; A.B. in Economics, Harvard College


Eric M. Turner was elected the 10th president of Lasell University on April 10, 2023, and assumed the office on July 1. He transitions into this role following a successful career in business, in the areas of finance, sales, marketing, consulting, and most recently, higher education. As president, Eric oversees Lasell University’s unique multigenerational campus, including the Holway Early Childhood Centers and Lasell Village, an award-winning continuing care retirement community with a learning mandate that attracts a diverse population of residents.

Eric previously served as the University’s provost, a position he held since 2020. As Lasell’s chief academic officer, he oversaw the planning, development, administration, promotion, and evaluation of all curricular and co-curricular programs, and led efforts to promote excellence in teaching and learning. During his tenure at Lasell he has guided and overseen the launch of nearly 30 new academic programs and led the expansion of the University’s professional partnerships.

With more than 25 years of institutional leadership experience at Lasell, Eric’s ties to the University run deep. He first joined Lasell’s senior management team in 2017 as vice president of graduate and professional studies, and previously served as an overseer, trustee at both the University and at Lasell Village, and later as chair of the University’s board of trustees.

Earlier in his career, Eric served as a strategic advisor to chief executive officers of businesses and nonprofit institutions, working to improve personnel and organizational performance. He also served as a senior vice president at State Street Corporation, directing two different departments in the company’s financial services unit. Eric gained significant public sector experience as executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission and as a Deputy Treasurer, both under Treasurer Joseph Malone. Prior to his association with the Commonwealth, Eric worked as an investment banker with the Wall Street firm Drexel Burnham Lambert and held marketing and finance positions at IBM. An active and engaged volunteer, he currently serves as an overseer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and on the board of MassINC (the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth). Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA, both from Harvard University.

Eric resides in Newton, Massachusetts, with his wife, Wanda Whitmore, and their family.

News Story: Eric M. Turner Named Tenth President of Lasell University


Zehra Abid-Wood

Zehra Abid-Wood

President of Lasell Village, Inc. and Vice President of Lasell University

Education: B.A. in Computer Science and English, Williams College


Zehra Abid-Wood is the President of Lasell Village, a nationally recognized senior living community on the campus of Lasell University, renowned for its intergenerational learning and living model. In addition to her Lasell Village role, Zehra is a Vice President of Lasell University. Prior to joining Lasell in April 2023, Zehra was Senior Vice President of Strategy and Transformation at AlerisLife. Her previous jobs also include Director of Project and Portfolio Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and she has more than two decades of leadership experience in residential senior care, real estate, hospitality, and education.


Chris Gray

Christopher Gray

Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management

Education: P.M.B.A., Lasell College; B.S.B.A. in Management, Suffolk University


Christopher Gray was appointed Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management in July 2023. He oversees Undergraduate and Graduate Admission, Admission Operations, Student Financial Planning, the Office of the Registrar, and Marketing & Communications. Christopher joined Lasell in 2012 and has served as Director of Freshman Recruitment & Admission Operations, Director of Graduate Enrollment, and Dean of Enrollment. Christopher also served as Director of Admissions Marketing at Emmanuel College. Additionally, he is a member of the New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC), serving on various committees that advance the field of college admission counseling and its professionals. He is also a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Christopher is currently completing a Doctoral degree at Northeastern University with a dissertation topic of how small, tuition-driven institutions attract students.


Chelsea Gwyther

Chelsea Gwyther, M.P.A.

Vice President of University Advancement

Education: M.P.A., University of North Carolina at Charlotte; B.A. in Environmental Studies, Prescott College


Chelsea Gwyther joined Lasell in December 2018, after serving the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for four years, firstly as Executive Director of Development and then as Assistant Dean of Advancement in the College of Natural Sciences. At Lasell, she leads an ongoing effort to attract philanthropic support for the University’s mission. Additionally, she is focused on creating connections between alumni and current students to improve educational outcomes and reduce costs.

Dave Hennessey

David Hennessey

Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs

Education: Ed.M., Harvard Graduate School of Education; B.A. in Psychology, Clark University

David joined the Student Affairs team at Lasell in December 2008, was appointed Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs in July 2021, and joined the Senior Management Team in July 2023. His current areas of responsibility include the counseling center, health services, international student services and study abroad, residential life, and student activities and orientation. David employs the approach of constructive-developmental psychology to guide his work with students and believes each student who comes to Lasell is capable of achieving excellence. In 2021, he was a recipient of the annual Thomas E.J. de Witt Staff Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Prior to Lasell, David served as an Assistant Dean at Bentley University, where he oversaw the Residential Center and was involved in planning and construction of the Bentley in Bahrain program. David is a native Bostonian with deep roots in the area.


Headshot of Andrew Maylor

Andrew Maylor, M.B.A., M.P.A

Vice President of Finance & Operations and Chief Financial Officer

Education: M.B.A., Suffolk University; M.P.A., Villanova University; B.S. in Management Science Bridgewater State College


Andrew was appointed Vice President and CFO in April 2023, having initially joined Lasell on a part-time basis in December 2022. Andrew oversees a wide scope functions at the Univeristy including: the Business Office and all financial operations; information technology; housekeeping; risk management; food services; the book store; and support and oversight of the business and finance functions of Lasell Village. In addition, Andrew represents Lasell on the Board of the Boston Consortium for Higher Education. As Chief Financial Officer, Andrew is responsible for ensuring the financial integrity of the University and advising the President on all matters of fiscal security and accountability, financial planning and the stewardship of Lasell’s resources. Prior to Lasell, Andrew was Vice President and Chief Business Officer at Merrimack College. He also served as Comptroller of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2019-20, overseeing an annual budget of more than $64 billion in governmental and other funding sources.

Jennifer OKeeffe, J.D.

Chief of Staff and General Counsel 

Education: J.D. summa cum laude, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego; B.A. in Communications, Boston College

Jennifer joined Lasell in 2014 as Director of Legal Affairs and Title IX Coordinator with responsibility for directing and supervising all legal matters on behalf of Lasell University and overseeing all complaints related to sexual harassment and gender discrimination. She was promoted to Assistant Vice President in 2020 and assumed her current role as Chief of Staff and General Counsel in November 2021. In this expanded role, Jennifer continues to serve as in-house counsel to Lasell University and Lasell Village as well as act as a close advisor to the President and her Senior Management Team colleagues, facilitating proactive and collaborative communication throughout the Lasell community. Other responsibilities include oversight of the Human Resources Department and supervision of Lasell’s Title IX/ADA Coordinator. Before joining Lasell, Jennifer was an Assistant District Attorney for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, where she worked in the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit. Prior to her time as ADA, she was a staff attorney for the Justice Resource Institute and served as a law clerk for the New Hampshire Superior Court. Jennifer is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).


Headshot of Chrystal Porter

Chrystal Porter, Ph.D., Ed.S.

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Education: Ph.D., Capella University; Ed.S., Florida State University; M.S.A. in Sport Administration, Ohio University; B.S. in Sport Science, Ohio University; B.S. in Communication, Ohio University

Dr. Chrystal Porter was appointed Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs in July 2023. As the Chief Academic Officer of Lasell University, Chrystal leads a restructured Academic Affairs team that places all academic and academic functions for undergraduate, graduate and professional studies programs within a single division. Her responsibilities include the planning, development, administration, promotion and evaluation of all curricular and co-curricular programs at the campus, as well as providing leadership in support of teaching and learning excellence. She also oversees all hiring, development, funding, and evaluation processes and activities related to University faculty. Chrystal joined Lasell in July 2020 as the Vice President of Graduate and Professional Studies and she was subsequently appointed Vice President for Enrollment & Marketing in June 2021. She has substantial experience in higher education including serving as an Associate Provost, Assistant Director of Graduate Admission, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission, and Assistant Director of Retention while holding positions at Endicott College, North Central College, and Wiley College. She holds the rank of Professor and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in sport marketing, sport finance, sport sales, social media marketing, and higher education leadership. Earlier in her career, she worked for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL.


headshot of Jesse Tauriac

Jesse Tauriac, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

Education: Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston; M.A. in Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston; B.A. in Psychology, Boston University

Jesse Tauriac was appointed AVP and Chief Diversity Officer in 2018. He provides strategic and programmatic leadership and works collaboratively with Senior Management, employees, and students to effectively advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and intercultural competence throughout the University. Jesse first joined Lasell in 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Social Sciences Department, and in 2015 was appointed Director of the Donahue Institute for Ethics, Diversity, & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. With more than 15 years of experience in consulting and providing professional development on effective intercultural engagement and socially responsible organizational development, Jesse brings a deep knowledge of working within an organization to engage stakeholders and foster an environment where community members from every background feel welcomed, included, and valued. He has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses addressing social identities and inequities, intercultural competence, and inclusive teaching practices, and has published and presented widely on these same topics. Jesse was also a fellow of the American Psychological Association's Minority Fellowship Program.