University of Vermont

Former President Daniel Mark Fogel

Post Commencement Appreciation and Update

From: Daniel Mark Fogel, President
To: UVM Community
Date: May 27, 2009
Re: Post Commencement Appreciation and Update

I’m writing to wish all members of the University of Vermont community a happy, relaxing, and productive summer. I also want to offer heartfelt thanks to all who participated in Commencement activities—to our graduates and their families and friends, to our alumni, and to the faculty and staff who have worked so hard to support student success inside and outside the classroom. I want especially to offer thanks to the staff members who made Commencement a success, preparing buildings and grounds for the celebration, setting up ceremonies and receptions (including the massive set-up on the University Green), managing parking and transportation, and a myriad of other essential tasks.

Last week UVM suffered a great loss: Glen Elder, age 42--Associate Professor of Geography, Associate Dean, admired teacher, and beloved colleague--died unexpectedly while running. We are deeply saddened by this death, and indeed by the losses of other precious members of our community we have endured in recent years. These deaths remind us how dear is the gift of being able to live and learn and grow and work together in a community dedicated to the life of the mind and to service.

I also want to thank all of you—faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends—for your hard work throughout a year that has been unusually trying, fraught with stress occasioned by the financial downturn. We have felt the sharp anxiety of not knowing how the economic crisis would play out for the State, for enrollment, and for our budget amidst changing forecasts and many unpredictable ups and downs. And, beyond anxiety and stress, we have suffered the wrenching pain of job losses and the elimination of longstanding programs.

Through it all, members of our community have done a remarkable job with overwhelmingly positive outcomes. Painfully hard belt-tightening on the non-academic side of UVM has paved the way for college and school budgets that will go up by an average of 4% next year and for an undergraduate financial aid increase of 19%.

A record year in undergraduate applications has yielded an incoming class of exceptional quality—more Green and Gold Scholars from Vermont than ever before, a record number of National Merit Scholars (mostly from out of state), and unprecedented diversity, with nearly 12% of all enrollment deposits coming from ALANA students (including some 20% of the deposits for the Honors College). At the same time, the outgoing Class of 2009 had the highest six-year graduation rate in UVM’s history, and the Class of 2010 will be significantly higher (its five-year graduation rate already exceeds the six-year rate for the Class of 2009).

Meanwhile, ahead of the federal stimulus money that will soon flow to universities through competitive granting agencies, research awards at UVM are running more than $11 million ahead of last year’s near-record pace. That index of the scientific and scholarly power of UVM’s faculty was also reflected in this past year’s being a banner year for external faculty awards and fellowships, as it was for student awards.

I am attaching an abbreviated version of the report I recently gave our trustees at their meeting just before the Commencement weekend (full version of May Board Report). The shortened report provides more detail on some of these indicators of UVM’s continuing advance as well as an overview of our budgetary position in the current year and for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. Again, this entire community has my profound gratitude for all you have done throughout a year in which UVM continued to move forward despite many challenges. Thank you very much and, again, best wishes for a renewing and productive summer.

Last modified May 28 2009 12:57 PM

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