Today is my first anniversary at Champlain College. As I reflect on my first year, the word that is top of mind is gratitude.
This past year so many stakeholders have expressed an interest in seeing me succeed. I understand that this is driven in large measure by the desire to keep Champlain College a vibrant, contributing member of the Vermont community. The past 25 years have seen amazing changes at the college, and not a day goes by without me meeting someone who says, “I remember when Champlain was only . . . .” We play a significant role in Burlington and Vermont, and our growth and success is visible to all who come to visit. People support our success and want to see it continue.
I am grateful to my Cabinet. They supported and worked with me in the interests of advancing the College. I am grateful to the faculty for listening, being open to new leadership, and providing feedback. I am grateful to Deans, AVPs, directors and managers who care so passionately about our students and the College. I am grateful to the many staff who work so hard each day in service to our students and the college. I remember asking student government leadership what they love most about Champlain: “The physical plant team! Those guys are the best!” Our faculty and staff work every day to ensure our students can take advantage of the most complete education possible.
I am fortunate to have an engaged, brilliant board. They were supportive and willing to make some important decisions this year. My board chair, Mary Powell, was an invaluable sounding board and guide to me as I started my new life in Vermont. I am grateful to the donors, former trustees, former Presidents Skiff and Finney, and other friends of the college who reached out, gave advice, and demonstrated their support in ensuring Champlain’s future success. Bob and Holly Miller, amazing supporters of the College, have been especially welcoming and generous with their time and advice.
I spent a great deal of time engaging business and civic leaders this past year. I appreciate their kind words about the quality of the Champlain students they hire. I repeatedly heard, “Champlain College gets it,” in reference to our professional focus and commitment to our students being career ready. I am grateful for the support of the business community and willingness to give our students a start to their careers through internships and full-time positions.
I deeply appreciate the students who have chosen to take the next step in their higher education journey with us. I have engaged with our students here in Burlington, as well as our online adult students who are often working in full-time jobs. They all share with me how much they appreciate Champlain’s commitment to help them start or advance their careers. They tell me great stories about how our faculty and staff live our value of the “Human Touch” and support their academic and often, life journeys. I am grateful to the many people who support our students in our efforts to help them lead meaningfully better lives.
Finally, I am grateful to Allyson, my wife, for moving to Burlington to join me on this adventure. No president has had a better partner and counselor.
Thanks, Champlain, for a great first year. I look forward to our future successes.