ok sorry, sorry, but is it just us or could Ron and Laurie be siblings? Serious facial resemblance goin on here in the best possible way.
Today’s a big day: this afternoon, for the 17th time in Middlebury’s 214-year history, the Board of Trustees has revealed the college’s next president. Middbeat wants to extend an extremely warm welcome to Laurie L. Patton, future president of Middlebury College.
We had the honor to attend the revealing meeting in Mead Chapel this morning, and were quite impressed by Laurie’s first speech (which we did our best to transcribe here), as well as the extensive recruitment process described by the Board of Trustees. Clearly, beyond significant time and energy was devoted to finding a president with the best possible administrative experience, leadership potential, academic history, innovative personality, commitment to diversity, and potential to continue advancing the always augmenting aspirations of Middlebury College. For this, we are grateful. From her high-brow educative and academic achievements to her soothing voice and calm, collected demeanor, we’ve got a good feeling about Laurie.
So, who is Laurie? What’s she bringing to the table? When’s she gonna start and how are we gonna meet her? Are we gonna like her? Can anyone touch Ron? Will tailgates revamp and Atwater will start serving dinner and Proctor Cat will come back to life (kidding)? Will the cultural center thrive and academic workloads be reconsidered and administration take a more effective approach to providing safe spaces for intersecting racial, sexual, and socioeconomic identities and will we fully live up to our proclaimed environmental consciousness (serious)?
Clearly, it’s going to take quite a while to really get to know future President Patton. These are questions we can’t answer fully now, and probably won’t be able to until she’s packed her bags and left sunny Duke behind to take on Vermont, Addison County, Middlebury, the snow, the students, the faculty, staff, etc. in all our glory, and lack thereof. While we’ve got high expectations, only time will tell, and aggressive pre-judgement is never a great idea.
That being said, we’re fascinated by this highly intelligent and accomplished academic, and yes, tremendously proud to have a WOMAN as president — Laurie will the FIRST female president in Middlebury’s history — so for now, middbeat would like to share Laurie’s general background. We hope you attend today’s reception for Laurie in Wilson Hall (McCullough Social Space) at 3:45, introduce yourself to Laurie today or sometime in the near future, and most importantly, think about what you hope Laurie to embody, work towards, and accomplish alongside the existing Middlebury community as the next president of Middlebury College. Upon her arrival in July, Laurie will be eager to listen to students, faculty, and staff so to understand Middlebury culture, present issues and concerns, and ideas for the future, and it will be up to you all to contribute honestly and effectively so to advance our community and academic experience alongside new leadership. Additionally, look forward to upcoming middbeat interaction with Laurie, as we hope to establish a middbeat-president friendship (continuing Ron’s demonstrated middbeat love) as soon as possible.
So, without further ado, here’s the deets (courtesy of the Middlebury President-Elect Website):
The Middlebury Board of Trustees today named Laurie L. Patton, dean of Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion, as Middlebury’s next president. Patton will take office on July 1, 2015, succeeding Ronald D. Liebowitz, who has served as president since July 2004.
Patton, a distinguished religion scholar and translator of classic Indian Sanskrit texts, joined Duke in her current position in 2011. Trinity College is the largest of Duke’s undergraduate schools, with 5,200 students, 36 academic departments and programs, and 640 faculty members. It awards nearly 80 percent of the university’s bachelor degrees. As dean, she is responsible for overseeing the educational mission of Duke’s core undergraduate liberal arts programs, including curriculum, faculty hiring and development, student research, assessment, and the College’s $370 million annual budget. Under her leadership, Trinity College raised more than $300 million for professorships, financial aid, educational initiatives, and other priorities.
Patton’s selection followed an extensive, six-month search conducted by a 20-member search committee chaired by Middlebury trustee Allan Dragone Jr. ’78. The committee engaged in a process of broad outreach to students, faculty, staff, and alumni. From an initial list of more than 250 individuals nominated or put under consideration, the committee gradually narrowed the pool to a dozen and then to a small list of finalists, before unanimously recommending Patton to the full board on Tuesday. Patton will be the first woman to lead Middlebury in its 214-year history.
“I can’t imagine a place that more fully exemplifies my interests and commitments to higher education than Middlebury,” said Patton. “These last five months have been a wonderful experience for me as I have had the opportunity to learn more about this great institution and the values it holds dear. I have so many people to thank, starting with the search committee and Al Dragone, and I am truly honored with the confidence the Board of Trustees has shown in me today. I look forward with anticipation to joining this community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends.”
Marna C. Whittington, chair of the Middlebury Board of Trustees, called Patton an “outstanding choice” to be the next president. “Laurie is an accomplished scholar with a deep commitment to the liberal arts and a global perspective on the value and role of education,” said Whittington. “She lives the values of Middlebury, and I am confident she will provide the leadership and innovative thinking required to maintain the positive momentum and success Middlebury has experienced during Ron Liebowitz’s tenure as president.”