Board of Advisors
The Mary Baker Eddy Library Board of Advisors provides the Executive Director with counsel on strategic and operating issues. Individuals are invited to serve because of their specific areas of expertise, including but not limited to academic research and publishing; archives and records management; public programming; education and youth leadership; exhibit design; library technology and management; historic papers projects; the presentation of Christian Science to the public; and the history of the Christian Science movement. Advisors will be appointed to no more than two four-year terms.
Executive Director: Michael W. Hamilton
John Fawcett holds a BA in History from the University of Iowa, as well as an MA and ABD in Political Science from the University of Texas. His career in museums and libraries began for him during college, when he took a job at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, working his way up from a security guard to his chosen profession as archivist.
From 1987 to 1995, Fawcett worked in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, DC, in the Office of Presidential Libraries. He served as Assistant Archivist for Presidential Libraries, responsible for the development, management, and administration of the Presidential Library system. He worked for The White House, organizing and transitioning President Lyndon B. Johnson’s papers to Texas and then as a research assistant for Johnson’s memoirs and the planning of his Presidential Library. Over the years he has worked in various capacities in museums and libraries, including sales clerk, exhibit specialist, audiovisual archivist, supervisory archivist, supervisor of an oral history project, director, and executive director.
Since 1995 Fawcett has worked as an archives consultant to various institutions, including the George H. W. Bush Library, the Nixon Presidential Library, Baylor University, The Mary Baker Eddy Library, and The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. He also serves on the executive board of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.
Tom McElroy is a Christian Science practitioner who talks and prays with people from all over the world. His work helps others find spiritually-based solutions to challenges ranging from health and finance issues to relationship difficulties. He has traveled throughout North America, Australia, and New Zealand, and in Europe and Africa, as a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, giving talks about Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science in both English and French.
McElroy has a degree in Philosophy and loves interacting with diverse cultures and ideas. He has worked extensively with local and national nonprofits and community outreach groups. This has involved running a program for volunteers, helping with children in a home for battered women, mentoring leadership programs high-schooler recipients of congressional medals for community service work, and volunteering as a prison chaplain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in men’s, women’s and youth probation facilities.
Laura Roberts holds a Master of Business Administration in public and nonprofit management, with high honors, from Boston University School of Management, a Master of Arts in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program of the State University of New York, and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology, magna cum laude, from Harvard University. From 1988 to 1994, Roberts was executive director of the New England Museum Association. She has served as the Director of Education at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, MA, the U.S.S. Constitution Museum in Boston, and the Rhode Island Historical Society. From 1994 to 1996, she was executive director of the Boston Center for Adult Education. Since 1991, she has been teaching graduate students in arts and nonprofit management at Tufts University, Bank Street College of Education, Boston University School of Management, and Lesley University. She is also on the faculty of the Seminars in Historic Administration and is a frequent presenter at professional meetings and conferences.
Roberts is the principal of Roberts Consulting and currently chairs the advisory board of the Tufts University Art Gallery, also serving on the university’s Gifts of Art Committee. She serves on the board of the Central Square Theater in Cambridge and the program and exhibitions committee of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Sandra Rygel is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Chartered Investment Counselor with an expertise in Fixed Income and Asset Allocation. Her professional background includes serving as Vice President and Associate Director of the Short Term Asset Management Group at Scudder, Stevens & Clark and as Co-founder and Executive Vice President of Payden & Rygel, one of the largest global independent investment management firms in the United States.
Fluent in French and an avid traveler, Rygel has an informed global perspective on international relations and the world economy. She served for many years as a trustee to Gifts and Endowments and to the pension plan at The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. A long-time supporter of the Library, she has served in different capacities since its establishment. Currently Rygel is a consultant at Laurel Grove Capital in Los Angeles. She is also a Trustee Affiliate of Berkeley Hall School in Los Angeles.
Jeanne Sigler is President of Jeanne Sigler and Associates, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1983 to serve the nonprofit sector, with a focus on fundraising. She has advised on annual and capital campaigns for a variety of organizations in the areas of the arts, camping, education, the environment, historic preservation, human services, public policy, and public television. Through the business service Interim Solutions, her firm also provides interim senior level staff to nonprofit organizations in transition.
As an active volunteer, she has served on the boards of the American Association of Fundraising Counsel (now the Giving Institute), Prep for Prep, United Neighborhood Houses, Women in Development New York, Asher House, NY, and the Citizens Union. She is co-author of The Complete Guide to Careers in Fund Raising.
Sigler holds a B.A. degree from Kalamazoo College and an M.A. from the University of Illinois, both in Sociology. She also studied at the University of Erlangen, Germany. She lives in Philadelphia.
Lisa Stepanski comes to the Library by way of two summer research fellowships (2009, 2010), during which she researched both the friendship between Mary Baker Eddy and Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott), and Eddy and the early Christian Science Church’s use of modern technologies. A full professor at Emmanuel College in Boston, Stepanski teaches courses in American literature and writing. She recently published her first book, The Home Schooling of Louisa May Alcott (Mellen Press, 2011). She continues her research on Mary Baker Eddy.
Deborah Velders has worked for more than 30 years in non-profit art museum management. She received an M.A. in English and American Literature and a B.A. in Art History, both from the University of Houston. She began her career and training at the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum. Subsequently, she served as Head of Exhibitions and Public Programs at Houston’s Menil Collection; Director of the Cameron Art Museum (Wilmington, NC); and Deputy Director and C.O.O. of Asia Society Texas Center (Houston). She is currently Director of the Mobile Museum of Art (Mobile, AL).
Michael W. Hamilton was appointed as Executive Director of The Mary Baker Eddy Library in 2014. Previously he served as a military chaplain in the United States Navy and as a professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department of Principia College in Elsah, Il. He holds graduate degrees from Boston University School of Theology and Princeton Theological Seminary.