Genie Gannett, President
Terry Gannett Hopkins, Vice President Emeritus
Sisters Genie Gannett and Terry Gannett Hopkins are passionate about living America’s First Amendment freedoms. Their grandfather, legendary Maine publisher Guy P. Gannett, set an example of living his freedoms by exercising his First Amendment freedom of the press.
It was his example that led Terry to pursue a career in newspapering. After graduating from the University of Florida School of Journalism, Terry started working as a reporter in Rochester NY. She married an Air Force officer and was posted to military bases around the nation. In each location, she found employment as a reporter and/or editor at the local newspaper. After the Air Force, Terry became the publisher of the Ithaca (NY) Journal. Her next assignments were the Norwich (CT) Bulletin, the Ft. Myers (FL) News Press, and the Pasadena (CA) Star-News. “It was so gratifying to see how a newspaper can bring a community together,” says Terry.
Genie found a different calling. After graduating from Stetson University with a bachelor’s degree in studio art, she began a career in education, teaching K-12 art in Florida, Alaska, and Maine. “I never thought about how my students were practicing their First Amendment rights, but they were living their freedom of speech through artistic expression. I was, too.” Genie also holds a master’s degree in education from Bank Street College of Education and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Maine, Augusta. She has served on the board of several area educational and cultural organizations.
After retirement, Genie and Terry co-founded the First Amendment Museum at the Gannett House, their grandfather’s former home, to inspire all Americans to “Live Your Freedoms.”
Susan Gross, Vice President
Susan Gross is a retired public school educator. Her professional experience includes teaching English at the high school level, coordinating a high school program for gifted /talented students, and being a K – 12 learning results coordinator. She also did extensive work in staff development with K – 12 teachers, wrote and administered grants, and developed interdisciplinary learning experiences for students. Her volunteer work has included developing a community resource file for teachers, creating and administering a school volunteer program, establishing and publishing a school newsletter, and raising funds for her town library’s expansion.
She is currently a volunteer docent at the Colby College Art Museum. In the late 1970s, Susan and her husband John established Winthrop Veterinary Hospital in Winthrop, Maine, where she performed a variety of roles doing everything except being a veterinarian.
Susan holds a B.A. degree in English and an M.S. degree in Exceptionality.
Her commitment to the First Amendment Museum is grounded in her belief that enhancing our understanding of the First Amendment and facilitating the practice of our rights guaranteed us by the First Amendment strengthens our democracy and improves the lives of all.
Gene Policinski, Secretary
Gene Policinski is Senior Fellow for the First Amendment for the Freedom Forum, where he contributes to the weekly “First Five” commentary on First Amendment issues, responds to news media inquiries and participates in Freedom Forum programs.
One of the founding editors of USA Today, Gene is a longtime proponent of diversity as an essential element of a free press. He is a member of the board of directors of Journal-isms, a regular report on diversity in the news media.
Policinski writes, lectures and is interviewed regularly on news media and First Amendment issues. He is co-author, with Professor emeritus Robert Bickel of Stetson University, of a multi-media academic course, The First Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement. He is a contributor to “Whistleblowers, Leaks and the First Amendment,” published by the American Bar Association. providing a chapter on First Amendment issues and a free press; and has been published in a number of law review journals.
The host of multiple radio and online audio programs during his career, including the current news and interview blog Ciceronia, he also was producer and then narrator for the 20-year multimedia musical touring production, Freedom Sings. Policinski was executive producer of the public television program “Speaking Freely,” several news and sports talk programs on “USA Today Sky Radio;” and was host of “Newseum Radio,” which aired on NPR worldwide.
He joined the Freedom Forum in 1996 as executive assistant to the president, and later served as vice president and executive director of the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center, at Vanderbilt University. He also served as president of the foundation’s Diversity Institute and retired in 2020 as president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Institute.
A former national trustee of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, he is a member of multiple journalism associations, including the News Leaders Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He holds a Certified Journalism Educator designation from the Journalism Education Association
A graduate of Ball State University, he is a member of the Dean’s Council for its College of Communications, Information and Media. He attended the Nashville School of Law. He was awarded membership in 2012 to Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, through its chapter at the University of North Georgia.
Peter S. Onuf, Treasurer
Peter Onuf is the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor Emeritus in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia, and Senior Research Fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies (Monticello).
A specialist in the history of the early American republic, Onuf was educated at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his A.B. in 1967 and Ph.D. in 1973, and has taught at Columbia University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Southern Methodist University before arriving in Virginia in 1990. In 2008-2009 Onuf was Harmsworth Professor of American History at the University of Oxford; in 2014, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Onuf’s early scholarship, focusing on federalism and territorial expansion, includes The Origins of the Federal Republic: Jurisdictional Conflicts in the United States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983) and Statehood and Union: A History of the Northwest Ordinance (Indiana University Press, 1987). He collaborated with his brother, international relations theorist Nicholas G. Onuf, on Federal Union, Modern World: The Law of Nations in an Age of Revolutions, 1776-1814 (Madison House, 1993) and Nations, Markets, and War: Modern History and the American Civil War (University of Virginia Press, 2006), and is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of numerous other publications.
Onuf’s work on Thomas Jefferson’s political thought, culminating in Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood (University Press of Virginia, 2000) and The Mind of Thomas Jefferson (2007, also Virginia), grows out of earlier studies on the history of American federalism, foreign policy, and political economy. He and co-author Annette Gordon-Reed recently published Most Blessed of Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright, 2016); his Jefferson and the Virginians: Democracy, Constitutions, and Empire was published in 2018 by Louisiana State University Press. With Ed Ayers and Brian Balogh, Onuf was founding co-host of the public radio program “Backstory with the American History Guys”.
Jennifer Borg is a Visiting Clinical Instructor at Yale Law School and is the former General Counsel of North Jersey Media Group Inc. The company published more than 50 newspapers and magazines – including the award-winning daily newspaper, The Record – as well as the news website, NorthJersey.com. The Record was owned by the Borg family for over 80 years and was sold in 2016 to Gannett Satellite Information Network LLC.
As head of the Legal Department, Ms. Borg handled all First Amendment issues and right-of-access claims, as well as all the company’s litigation and transactional matters. She is a fierce advocate of open and transparent government. In 2014, she successfully litigated many cases under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act helping The Record in its award-winning breaking news coverage of “Bridgegate.” It was for her role in Bridgegate that PolitickerNJ named Ms. Borg New Jersey’s most powerful woman and 10th most powerful person in 2015.
Ms. Borg was also involved in major copyright issues, such as the licensing of the iconic photograph taken by Thomas E. Franklin of The Record (Bergen Co., New Jersey) showing three firefighters raising the American flag at Ground Zero.
Jennifer Borg is President of the Foundation of Northern New Jersey (f/k/a North Jersey Media Group Foundation) which she founded in 2002 to assist those who suffered losses as a result of the events of September 11.
Janet Marstine is Honorary Associate Professor of Museum Studies (retired), University of Leicester, UK, and is currently an independent scholar and consultant based in Yarmouth, Maine. She writes on diverse aspects of museum ethics from curatorial ethics to negotiating the pressures of self-censorship to artists’ interventions as drivers for ethical change. Marstine is the author of six books including Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics: Redefining Ethics for the Twenty-First Century Museum (Routledge 2011); Critical Practice: Artists, Museums, Ethics (Routledge 2017); with S. Mintcheva, Curating Under Pressure: International Perspectives on Negotiating Conflict and Upholding Integrity (Routledge 2020); and with O. Ho Curating Art (Routledge 2022). To support her research, conducted internationally, in the US, UK, Europe, mainland China and Hong Kong, she has received grants from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (US), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), and the British Academy. In 2018 she was a Senior Research Fellow at Fudan University in Shanghai.
Marstine has a particular interest in recognizing and supporting the agency of practitioners to make informed ethical decisions. She has done ethics consulting with institutions from the National September 11 Memorial Museum—on collections policy—to the Royal Air Force Museum—on sponsorship. She has served on advisory boards for the UK’s National Holocaust Centre and Museum and the EU-funded research project Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritage with the Arts: She sat on the Ethics Committee of the UK’s Museums Association from 2014-2019, helping to move their approach from one of policing to empowering.
Earlier in her career, Marstine taught art history at Bowdoin College where she first fell in love with Maine.
Harold C. Pachios is a lawyer at the firm of Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios with offices in Portland, Augusta, Concord, NH, and Boston.
Before moving to Washington, DC in 1961, he was a reporter for the Portland Press Herald. Subsequently, he served as Deputy Congressional Liaison for the Peace Corps, and Associate White House Press Secretary in the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. He is a former Chairman of the Maine Democratic Party.
For the past 14 years he has hosted a Public Access Television show in the Portland area which features public policy interviews of newsmakers. He was a member and Chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy during the administrations of President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.
Pat Richardson grew up in Maine and started her career in the newspaper industry while in high school, working at The Kennebec Journal when it was still in the hands of Guy P. Gannett Communications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Maine and a MBA from the University of Louisville.
Over her career Pat served as the publisher for several newspapers, including The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk/Virginia Beach, VA), The Capital Gazette (Annapolis, MD), The Carroll County Times (Westminster, MD) and The Day (New London, CT). Pat also held the position of Vice President of Strategy/Associate Publisher with the Times-Union (Albany, NY).
Pat recently returned to Maine to settle into her new home in Cundy’s Harbor. She is currently a digital transformation coach for the American Press Institute, Treasurer and Board Member for The Maine Monitor and a volunteer for the non-profit newspaper, The Anchor, located in Harpswell, Maine.
Bill is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with a Juris Doctorate and Bachelor’s Degree in financial planning and trust management. He has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and specializes in investment management, financial planning, asset protection and estate planning. Bill has an extensive educational background and advanced knowledge of the financial industry. Since he graduated law school in 1982, he has leveraged his expertise on financial matters by offering clients meaningful guidance concerning all of their complex estate planning and retirement affairs.
Bill began his career at SunTrust as a Senior Vice President and Senior Trust Officer managing a $250 Million Trust Department that spanned over five counties of North Central Florida. He later moved to Merrill Lynch as Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor, in addition to serving as Branch Manager, overseeing $1.1 Billion in assets. In 2003, Bill joined Raymond James & Associates as Senior Vice President of Investments and Managing Director of Investments, where he provides investment management and financial planning advice to high net worth families.
Bill has been married for 26 years to his wonderful wife, Debbie. They live in Ocala, FL, where they raised their four children, Will, Lindsay, Christina, and Jim. As a family, the Shepards invest in the community by donating their time and resources at a local not-for-profit.
Denis Thoet was born in Brooklyn, NY, and lived in suburban New York and Washington DC before spending his high school years in Paris, France. He is a graduate of Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs. He also studied in French at the University of Fribourg (Switz). He has a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
He worked as a journalist for 13 years (1965-1978) in New York and Maine. Thoet worked for 25 years in nonprofit development, as development director for the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath (1983-89), Maine Audubon Society, Falmouth (1989- 1992), executive director for the Friends of the Maine State Museum, Augusta (1992- 2003), and development director for the Maine Center for Economic Policy, Augusta (2003-5).
From 2004-2012, he and his partner, Michele Roy, operated a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in West Gardiner. They grew organic vegetables, trained apprentices in farming with hand tools, and served up to 100 families per year.
He joined the board of the First Amendment Museum, Augusta in 2011.
Rex VanMiddlesworth focuses his practice on commercial litigation, administrative law, energy, and alternative dispute resolution. He has tried cases in state court, federal court, before arbitration panels, and before state and federal agencies. Rex has also handled appeals in the Fifth Circuit, the Texas Supreme Court, and various Texas Courts of Appeals. He has extensive experience representing public and private entities in breach of contract disputes, tortious interference cases, and other forms of commercial litigation and arbitration. Rex handles all types of contested proceedings before state agencies and the State Office of Administrative Hearings, including licensing and rate-setting disputes. He also has represented a number of clients in constitutional and voting rights litigation.
Rex has been recognized by numerous publications for his outstanding legal career, including The Best Lawyers in America®, Chambers USA, and Texas Super Lawyers. He was named the 2016 Austin Energy Regulatory “Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America and in 2005, the Austin Business Journal recognized Rex as the best public law and administrative litigator in Austin in its inaugural “Best of the Bar” Awards. He is a frequent author and lecturer at conferences and seminars on issues, including topics of evidence, ethics, constitutional litigation, and administrative litigation. Before beginning his law practice, Rex was awarded a Teaching Fellowship in Constitutional Law at Harvard University under Professor Archibald Cox.
Rex is a graduate of Indiana University, Summa Cum Laude and Harvard Law School, Cum Laude.
Bio coming shortly.