Walkway elects new chair, board members at annual meeting

Walkway executive director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart welcomes new board members (L-R): Michael Oates, Paul Kassel, Waldstein-Hart, Fred Schaeffer and Kathleen Smith. (Absent from photo is Daniel Aronzon.) (Walkway Over the Hudson)

Walkway executive director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart welcomes new board members (L-R): Michael Oates, Paul Kassel, Waldstein-Hart, Fred Schaeffer and Kathleen Smith. (Absent from photo is Daniel Aronzon.) (Walkway Over the Hudson)

Members of the Walkway Over the Hudson organization have elected Patricia Duane Lichtenberg to serve as the nonprofit group’s new chairperson and voted to add five new directors — Kathleen Smith, Paul Kassel, Michael Oates, Dr. Daniel Aronzon and Fred Schaeffer — to its board. Members gathered at the organization’s annual meeting at Mahoney’s Irish Pub & Steak House last week to elect board members and hear a report on the year’s activities from Walkway’s executive director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart.

Lichtenberg assumes leadership of the Walkway organization’s board of directors from Sally Mazzarella, who stepped down after serving as chairperson for four years.  A Highland resident, Lichtenberg is associate vice president of Alumnae/i Affairs and Communications and executive director of the Alumnae/i Association of Vassar College. Her extensive volunteer work has included board service for the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, The Hyde Park Festival Theater, The Valley Theater Company and the Dutchess County Chapter of the American Red Cross.  She has chaired and served on committees for several charities including: the Vassar Brothers Medical Center Diamond Gala, the Saint Francis Hospital Gala and the Eleanor Roosevelt Medal Ceremony.


“I am honored to begin my tenure as chair of the Walkway board, yet humbled to be picking up the mantle from the mighty Sally Mazzarella,” said Lichtenberg. “Sally has done incredible work during her time as chair and we all owe her a deep debt of gratitude.  I plan to focus the work of the board on adding much-needed amenities and greater excitement to the Walkway experience.”

Fred Schaeffer returns to the organization’s board of directors after serving as chairman of the Walkway board of directors from 2004-2010. A practicing attorney and Pleasant Valley resident, Schaeffer helped build the Walkway Over the Hudson organization with the goal of turning the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge into the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park. He has been active in many other community and civic organizations.

An eleventh generation Dutchess County resident, Kathleen Smith enjoyed a 30-year career with IBM, first as a mainframe developer and later as an executive for worldwide technical transformation.  She has traveled the world extensively working with technical professionals in over 100 countries, establishing new world standards for IBM clients. After retiring in 2010, Smith became a Master Gardener volunteer through the Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County and a Walkway Ambassador Volunteer with the objectives of giving back to the community and helping grow the local economy.

The interim dean of the School of Fine & Performing Arts professor at SUNY New Paltz, Paul Kassel is a professional actor, director and writer who has worked in regional theaters and in a number of films, television shows and industrial presentations. A Highland resident, Kassel has taught courses in performance and theatre studies.  He has directed many plays in the Mainstage season at SUNY New Paltz.

Michael Oates is the CEO of Hudson River Ventures, a small business investment firm founded by Sean Eldridge that is focused on the Hudson Valley by making investments within its targeted sectors. A Westchester County resident, Oates previously served as the president and CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, which promotes New York’s Hudson Valley as one of the world’s premiere locations for business.

Daniel Z. Aronzon, MD, practiced general pediatrics for 22 years, co-founding the Children’s Medical Group, one of the largest and most recognized practices in the Northeast. In 2004 he became president and CEO of Vassar Brothers Medical Center, a position he held through 2011. As CEO, he led the medical center through a period of unprecedented facility, market share and revenue growth.