When Trustee Martha Heath notified me that Id been nominated for the interim presidency at the University of Vermont, it presented a new and somewhat unexpected challenge in my professional life. First, as I put together my application and statement of interest in the position, I realized it was the first job Id applied for since 1954!
I stated two key reasons why, after discussing the matter thoroughly with my family, I had decided to pursue the leadership post at the university. I told the search committee that I was motivated by a long-standing interest in higher education and ties to the University of Vermont and the state. Coupled with that was a strong desire to use my talents to provide leadership in a socially significant institution.
As I learned more about the university through the interview process, I came to feel strongly that the institution is at a key moment in its history.
The University of Vermont pays a vital role in the intellectual, cultural and economic life of Vermont and the region. Our universitys strengths greatly outnumber its weaknesses. Yet, we face serious challenges the financial constraints of our budgets, keen competition for top students. Clearly, we must be focused upon enhancing and promoting our potential. We cannot afford status quo.
Now I sit in the Presidents chair, the first week of June, my first days in office. Ive already had the opportunity over the past several weeks to meet with a wide range of the UVM leadership faculty, staff, students, trustees, administration, and alumni. All have welcomed me warmly. They have contributed countless hours to briefing me on key issues.
Now it is time to
provide the leadership that is expected. Though my tenure is indefinite,
it is my intention to deal with critical, time-sensitive issues decisively,
but with due regard to the restraints inherent in our being an academic
Though the tasks ahead
are challenging, Im fortunate to be surrounded by evidence of the
value of our universitys work. As I witnessed our 197th Commencement
on a warm, sunny day in May at Centennial Field, I felt great pride in
sharing the special moment with our graduates as they received their UVM
diplomas and stepped forth to make a difference in the world.
This, I thought, is
what its all about.
Edwin Colodny, interim president