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Vermont Quarterly Online Magazine


Summer 2001


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President's Perspective

When Trustee Martha Heath notified me that I’d 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 I’d 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 university’s 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 President’s chair, the first week of June, my first days in office. I’ve 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 institution.

Though the tasks ahead are challenging, I’m fortunate to be surrounded by evidence of the value of our university’s 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 it’s all about.

—Edwin Colodny, interim president

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