Poised for New Leadership
A Letter From the Chair of the UVM Board of Trustees
Prof Credits Bush Team for Smooth Transition
Rare Washington Miniature in Collection
A State Dinner in Your Future?
Program Bridges Burlington & the Bronx
Even Better Than We Thought
Ag Researchers Discover Mastitis-FIghting Gene
XFL, UVM Mathematicians Make Unlikely Team
On-line Offerings Grow
He Made It!
Poised for New Leadership
President Judith Ramaleys February resignation, the University of
Vermont Board of Trustees quickly began a search for an interim president
and opened the longer process of selecting UVMs next permanent president.
Trustee Chair Bruce Lisman 69 said, I think the board is sending
a very clear message that this campus is in full motion not only
in terms of the work associated with strategic change, but also with regard
to the speed and determination with which we will identify strong, stable
On February 9, Ramaley,
UVMs twenty-fourth president, submitted her resignation to the Board
of Trustees. The action put an end to Ramaleys four-year tenure,
the last year of which had been difŠcult in light of the hockey hazing
incident and cancelled season, a faculty union drive, a strategic action
plan that continues to inspire campus debate, and a faculty no conŠdence
petition regarding Ramaley that circulated campus in the weeks prior to
UVM Board of Trustees
Chair Bruce Lisman 69 described the resignation as a mutual decision
reached by Ramaley and the trustee leadership. Over the course of
the past year, the board came to believe that a change was necessary.
We need leadership now that can inspire and unify the campus and its many
constituents to the degree that a leader must when signiŠcant and necessary
change is the goal, Lisman wrote in a letter to the campus community.
Different points in an institutions progression call for different
leadership styles, and the board believed UVM had reached such a moment.
In a statement released
to the media, Ramaley said, The job of university president is both
difŠcult and taxing, and it is clear to me that the time has come for
me to pursue other opportunities, particularly in the areas of educational
policy, and civic and social responsibility. I have enjoyed my time at
UVM and have, I hope, laid some solid groundwork for the future success
of the institution.
Noting progress made
under President Ramaleys leadership, Lisman said, Relationships
with the city of Burlington and the state of Vermont have been enhanced
and solidiŠed; the foundation has been prepared to begin a major fundraising
campaign; and a strategic plan identifying critical issues before the
university has been developed.
The Strategic Action
Plan and its continued viability in the wake of Ramaleys resignation
was a key point of debate among many in the campus community as the university
worked through the presidential transition in February.
The Board of Trustees
stated Šrm support for the plan and emphasized the critical need that
UVM continue to move forward with change and not be stalled by the leadership
transition. In his opening comments at the Feb. 23 Board of Trustees meeting,
Lisman said, The community and the administration have vastly underestimated
the boards resolve for change along the pathway provided by the
Strategic Plan. He added, Perfection is not possible, nor
is complete agreement on a campus as eclectic as ours. Nonetheless, we
have a plan that we agree to pursue, and it serves as a guidepost and
The board designated
Interim Provost Rebecca Martin as acting president until a replacement
is named. Martin has been at UVM since 1990, primarily in the role of
dean of libraries, and was appointed UVMs chief learning and information
ofŠcer in 1998. She was vice provost under Provost Geoffrey Gamble and
moved into the interim provost role when Gamble left UVM to accept the
presidency of Montana State University last fall.
At their Feb. 23-24
meetings on the UVM campus, trustees set in motion separate search processes
for an interim president and a permanent president. Trustee Martha Heath
will chair a committee of six trustees leading the interim presidential
search, which is designed to bring shorter-term leadership to campus in
the months ahead, allowing the board to conduct the longer search for
a permanent president in a deliberate and fully inclusive manner. It is
anticipated that an interim president will be selected by the end of the
semester. The permanent presidential search could range from one- to two-years.
Action Plan is available on the Web at www.uvm.edu/administration/ or
by request from the Communications OfŠce at (802) 656-2005. To offer input
on UVMs presidential search, contact the UVM Board of Trustees via
Letter From the Chair of the UVM Board of Trustees
Alumni and Friends of UVM:
The events of the
last two months have been difficult and at times painful. Changing leadership
is never easy and hardly ever without regret. It has been difficult, but
was necessary for our well-being. We have the opportunity now to find
the right leadership so that we may fully realize our true potential.
The University of
Vermont is special to us all. It is as much a state of mind as it is in
a state we love. UVM deserves a future that is vibrant; one that places
students and faculty at the heart of who we are. We are poised to move
forward. Our Strategic Action Plan identifies fundamental challenges and
their solutions. We must build a sustainable financial foundation; we
must recruit and retain a student group that makes us proud; we must have
a faculty that can center our university; we must have a diverse campus
to reflect the world we live in; and, we must focus our course and program
The board and the
UVM community are resolved to see the leadership transition through in
a way that does not slow our progress on the path of constructive and
positive change. The challenge before UVMs next leader is to help
define the strategic plan and to support actions that lead to achievement.
I am a Class of 1969
alumnus, a member of an extended family that boasts twenty-two UVM alumni,
and a Burlington native. I know now, with a different perspective, how
wonderful the University of Vermont really is. You should know that, regardless
of transition issues, UVMs core mission teaching, research,
and service to society is being met with excellence.
We can, with your help and support, meet the challenges facing our university.
We will emerge from this a stronger and more effective institution. You
will be proud.
Bruce Lisman 69
Chair, UVM Board of Trustees
Credits Bush Team for Smooth Transition
Despite the furor over chads and recounts, George W. Bushs transition
into the Oval OfŠce was a bit of a disappointment, says John
P. Burke, admittedly half in jest. At least on the surface,
says the presidential scholar and political science professor, it
put to rest the conventionally-held belief that the Šrst Tuesday in No-vember
through inauguration day provides barely enough time for a president-elect
to take the steps to assume ofŠce effectively.
To counter the unusual delay from candidate to president, Bush made
early staff appointments that allowed his administration to hit the ground
running, says Burke, who has published analyses of presidential
transitions from FDR through Clinton. Burkes most recent book, Presidential
Transitions: From Politics to Practice, was among the tomes scoured by
Bushs personnel and transition manager to help direct the hiring
of a new administration.
Bush moved far more quickly than former President Clinton in naming
several critical appointments, says Burke, whose expertise concerning
how Bush might assume the mantle of the presidency was sought out by national
media including the Washington Post, The New York Times, ABC, and MSNBC
While some political pundits criticized Bush for planning his transition
before securing an ofŠcial victory, Burke explains that this has been
a common practice for the past several administrations. With seven thousand
positions to Šll more than 1,100 requiring Senate
conŠrmation and nearly Šve hundred to comprise the core White House staff
its not a task of flipping through a Rolodex or sorting
résumés, says Burke.
Prior to his January 20 inauguration, the largest danger Bush faced
was the perception that his administration would be Bush II, a retread,
claims Burke. But the younger Bush passed over many people close to Bush,
Sr. He has placed greater emphasis on allegiance to his agenda,
says Burke. At the same time, a few wisely picked White House insiders
especially Vice President Dick Cheney will be invaluable
Overall, he gives the new president high marks for managing a smooth transition.
Bush has assembled one of the most talented Cabinets and White House
staffs in recent history, Burke says, and has done so with
requisite speed, precision, and competence.
However, he predicts the most important challenge for Bush is yet to come.
How he handles the Šrst unanticipated crisis, Burke says,
will serve as the real test of his transition.
State Dinner in Your Future?
Well, maybe not, but it caught our eyes that a UVM alumna, Catherine Fenton
76, will have a key role in putting together presidential fetes
in her new position as White House social secretary.
Reporting Fentons appointment by First Lady Laura Bush, The New
York Times online noted, It is through her entertaining that a first
lady can set the tone for an administration, and the social secretary
pushes many of the levers. Jacqueline Kennedy brought elegance and classical
music to the White House, and Mrs. Reagan reinstituted some of the glamour.
Hillary Rodham Clinton brought in a Hollywood contingent and a wide cross-section
of American society.
The tone that Mrs. Bush sets will emerge over the course of the next year.
As Fenton assists the first lady, shell bring a long Washington
track record, having served as deputy social secretary for Nancy Reagan
and Barbara Bush, as well as three years as social secretary to the Japanese
Washington Miniature in Collection
Americas first President George was in the news recently
when a miniature portrait of George Washington sold for $1.1 million at
a Christies auction in New York City.
That sale caught the attention of staff at the Fleming Museum, as the
UVM collection includes one of the four miniatures created by artist John
Ramage when Washington sat for him in 1789. The portraits were a gift
from Washington to his wife, Martha.
The current excitement over the sale of the Ramage miniature portrait
is a reminder of how many treasures the Fleming Museums permanent
collection contains, Fleming Director Ann Porter says. The Flemings
portrait came to UVM in 1970 as part of a bequest from Hall Park McCullough,
a lawyer and collector in North Bennington.
Porter notes that the Flemings Washington will be exhibited in the
new European-American Gallery, on a rotating basis, with other 18th- and
19th-century miniatures in the year ahead.
Bridges Burlington & the Bronx
Jerry GarŠn, principal of New York Citys Christopher Columbus High
School wants his students
to know theres a big world beyond the Bronx. I want to open
their eyes, to get them thinking past the limits of the neighborhood and
the borough, he says. GarŠn is particularly interested in having
his students, who represent more than sixty ethnic groups, discover institutions
of higher learning beyond the borders of the Bronx. It is a mission that
UVM through a multi-faceted partnership with the high school
is helping him deliver.
Since last April, UVM representatives have made
six trips to Columbus High, meeting with administrators, conducting workshops
with students and parents on
the college application and Šnancial aid process and talking with faculty
about the academic demands on Šrst-year students.
During the fall, UVM hosted GarŠn, several Columbus faculty members, and
three groups of students from the high school, who visited students in
their dorms, attended classes, and toured Burlington.
Theres no doubt that we hope to attract some of these kids
to UVM, says Don Honeman, director of admissions and Šnancial aid,
but were approaching the partnership by informing students
and families about what applying to and attending a college like UVM is
Better Than We Thought
alumnus John Cunavelis 51 for letting us know about quite a few
top rankings Burlington has earned that we missed in the last issue.
Livable City in the United States (population under 100,000).
U.S. Conference of Mayors, 1988
Best Place in the nation for raising children.
Zero Population Growth, 1993
Number 4 of Americas 10 Most Enlightened Towns.
Utne Reader magazine, 1997
One of 15 Best Walking Cities in America.
Walking magazine, 1998
One of 10 College Towns Worth a Visit.
Princeton Review: The Best Colleges, 1999
And way back in July 1968, Harpers Magazine cited Burlington
as a working model for the ideal American city.
Researchers Discover Mastitis-Fighting Gene
in UVMs College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have discovered
a way to make animals resistant to staphylococcal mastitis, a scientiŠc
breakthrough that promises to signiŠcantly improve animal health and potentially
save the dairy industry millions of dollars.
Our work has led to the worlds Šrst mastitis-resistant animals,
says Dean John Bramley, lead researcher. Tests show the animals
are perfectly normal, their milk supply is perfectly safe, and their offspring
The key to this scientiŠc advancement, published in the January 2001 issue
of Nature Biotechnology, is the cloning and modiŠcation of a gene that
helps destroy bacterial cells that cause mastitis. The UVM gene has been
used successfully in a collaborative effort with scientists at the U.S.
Department of Agriculture laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, who have
produced mice that are resistant to mastitis. The USDA and Vermont scientists
also are working with the UVM gene to produce a mastitis-resistant cow.
Mastitis is a painful inflammation of the mammary gland that costs the
dairy industry $1.7 billion nationally, $30 million in Vermont. Infected
animals produce less milk and the milk is of lower quality. Treatment
often requires antibiotics, which are effective less than a third of the
Bramleys work on mastitis-resistant animals began twelve years ago
while he was working at the Institute for Animal Health in England. He
put forth the idea that a naturally occurring protein, lysostaphin, would
help kill bacteria that cause mastitis. At UVM, he teamed with David Kerr,
assistant professor of animal sciences, and Karen Plaut, associate professor
and chair of animal sciences, to make further advances. They changed the
lysostaphin gene sequence so the protein would be manufactured directly,
and only, by an animals mammary cells.
The beauty of lysostaphin is that it only attacks the staphylococcal
bacteria that cause mastitis. It has no impact whatsoever on other cells,
Bob Wall, USDA research physiologist, is collaborating with the UVM scientists.
We have had this goal, since the technology became available, to
improve milk production characteristics of farm animals to beneŠt the
animal, the producer, and the consumer, he says. UVM has come
up with the potential gene needed to do this.
On December 16, 2000, Scott Rimm-Hewitt 98 trekked the final two-tenths
of a mile up Georgias Springer Mountain to complete his quest to
hike the entire Appalachian Trail with his tuba along for the ride.
Rimm-Hewitt, profiled in the Winter 2001 issue of VQ, celebrated becoming
the first tuba-toting AT through hiker in a fairly predictable fashion.
The Tuba Man reports on his Web site that he hooked up with
friends in Rome, Georgia where they all went Christmas caroling
through the neighborhood with the tuba to spread glad tidings. Its
an awesome feeling having just hiked 2,169 miles over 14 states in 169
UVM Mathematicians Make Unlikely Team
Combinatorial design, which allows mathematicians to construct and count
all the possible ways a series of discrete objects can be conŠgured, has
practical applications that range from cryptography to pharmaceutical
trials. It also happens to be ideal for putting sports schedules
together, says Jeff Dinitz, chair of the UVM Math Department and
an expert in the Šeld.
That fact, and a bit of faculty chutzpah, set the stage for an unlikely
collaboration between two UVM mathematicians and the XFL,
the World Wrestling Associations new in your face professional
The story begins with sports chat between Dinitz and colleague Dalibor
Froncek, a visiting professor from the Czech Republic who also specializes
in combinatorics. Froncek, like Dinitz an avid sports fan, has used combinatorial
design to create schedules for the Czech national basketball and soccer
leagues. Considering the start-up XFL, Froncek told Dinitz, If theyre
a new league, they dont have a schedule.
Combinatorics to the rescue. Dinitz dialed up the XFL out of the blue,
was put in touch with senior manager Rich Rose, and essentially was hired
for the scheduling job over the phone. Dinitz asked Rose if he at least
wanted to see a résumé. Youre a math professor.
We trust you, Rose said.
Coming up with the Šrst schedule was a straightforward matter. We
were dealing with some very manageable constraints. For instance, each
team needed to play its divisional rivals twice, and there could be no
more than three away games in a row, Dinitz says. The professors
created the Šrst schedule within a month.
Then the human factor, as Dinitz calls it, intervened. As they got
more into the reality of the situation, things kept coming up, he
says. Chicago needed to play its Šrst three games away, because of a big
auto show that was going to tie up the stadium. San Jose had to be away
for one game in the middle of the season. New York couldnt play
at home for its last game. Fourteen revisions later, with a schedule they
called X5, the job was done.
Jeff and Dalibor were great, Rose says. We fully plan
on using them in 2002.
Whether youre in Ireland, Aruba, or Long Island for the summer,
you can still earn UVM credit thanks to on-line courses. UVM debuted Cyber
Summer in 2000 and will expand that successful venture to a wider array
of courses in 2001. For students who have plans to be elsewhere, but need
to keep on pace with their college credit or alumni seeking a virtual
return to the campus, Cyber Summer might be the answer. Check out whats
on-line for this summer at learn.uvm.edu/ap/focus/online.html.