Edward C. Andrews, who served as dean of the College of Medicine before his selection in 1970 as UVM’s twentieth president, was the first medical doctor to head the university. He was born in Rockland, Maine, on January 9, 1925, and like his former teacher Lyman Rowell, he moved to Vermont early in his childhood.
Dr. Andrews attended the university as a premedical student in 1942–43 before he transferred to Middlebury College where he earned his B.A. degree under the Navy's V-12 program. He then earned his M.D. degree in 1951 from Johns Hopkins University where he served his internship and residency. He joined the UVM faculty in 1958 as an associate professor of pathology. In 1964 he was selected to serve as associate dean of the College of Medicine, and he was appointed dean in 1966. He married Jean Lyndes, and they are the parents of five children.
Andrew's term as president differed from that of his immediate predecessors in one basic, and very important, respect. Whereas UVM had experienced a continuous expansion since World War II, Andrews faced a period of financial retrenchment that was destined to limit future growth. During the first two years of the Andrews' presidency, the expansion continued as undergraduate enrollment increased from 5,800 to 7,000 students. In addition, an ambitious building program was completed with the dedication of the Harris-Millis residence halls, the Cook Physical Sciences Building, and the Rowell Nursing and Allied Health Science Building. However, little new construction was begun, the major exception being the Living/Learning Center, which was opened in 1973 as a successor to the experimental program.
By 1972 economic stagflation and recession had placed constraints on the university's growth. The trustees approved a temporary budget deficit of almost $700,000. At the same time, they made a watershed decision by placing a limit of 7,200 on future undergraduate enrollment. This marked the first departure from the expansionist philosophy that had characterized UVM's rapid growth throughout the entire postwar period.
The trustees explored a number of different options in an effort to deal with the difficult financial situation. In 1972 they voted to merge the university with the four Vermont State Colleges, but this plan was defeated in the state legislature. Despite attempts to economize, the university's budget continued to grow to $49 million by 1974. The state appropriation, which was not sufficient to keep up with this growth, dropped to 22 percent of total revenues, and federal grants dropped to 20 percent. UVM was forced to make additional cuts in virtually all areas, including athletics where the varsity football program was discontinued as part of a $1.5 million budget reduction program. At a meeting with alumni leaders in November 1974, President Andrews described the "very difficult" budget outlook and explained that "it has become clear...we are going to have to reduce the scope of the university."
Although the Andrews years were a time of financial retrenchment, this did not mean there were no initiatives. Since new construction was so expensive, an imaginative program of building renovations was begun on campus. A plan for the conversion of the old gym into the Royall Tyler Theatre was devised by Drama Director Edward J. Feidner. Ira Allen Chapel was remodeled to provide a large lecture and concert hall with more comfortable seating and improved acoustics, and the state contributed funds to reunite the campus by constructing an underground pedestrian tunnel beneath Main Street. In addition, the Living/Learning Center and the Environmental Studies Program were launched, the Center for Research on Vermont was strengthened, and the Aiken Lecture Series was begun.
President Andrews resigned, effective June 1975, to become the president of the Maine Medical Center in Portland where he remained until he retired in 1989. Despite the difficult financial situation he encountered at UVM, the university continued to experience substantial growth during his tenure with budgeted resources increasing by over 40 percent to $54 million in 1976. In addition, total enrollment grew to 8,600 students. Yet, the Andrews presidency marked a turning point for the university. Although some would lament the end of the years of rapid growth, others would conclude that UVM had positioned itself uniquely to develop into a very high-quality, small public university.