July 20, 2016
Dear members of the Vassar community,
Vassar's many strengths, including its legacy of providing an exceptional education to those who had previously been denied the opportunity, drew me to the college a decade ago, as they have drawn so many others over the institution’s extraordinary history. I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity as Vassar’s 10th President to work with many of you — faculty, students, staff, alumnae/i, and parents — and I am deeply grateful for how much you have done to continue to strengthen the college we care so much about. Vassar’s resources, programs, and facilities have all benefited from your hard work and support. Without your commitment to the kind of education Vassar provides, the college could not continue to lead as it does in the world of higher education.
I am especially proud of the work we have done together to bring students and faculty from diverse backgrounds to the college. I believe Vassar is far stronger by having the perspectives and contributions of people with many different backgrounds and life experiences. I am very committed to continuing this work and believe that what we have achieved together at Vassar can inform progress more broadly. To that end, I have accepted the opportunity to join the non-profit organization, ITHAKA, as the Managing Director of its innovative research and strategy arm, Ithaka S+R. My appointment is effective September 6, 2016, and I will conclude my presidency on August 15.
Ithaka S+R is dedicated to helping institutions of higher education and their leaders across the country broaden access to higher education, improve student outcomes, transition to today’s digital environment, and control costs. I have had the pleasure of serving on the ITHAKA board for the past several years, and have been impressed and inspired by their vision and the possibilities for the future.
While the opportunity to lead Ithaka S+R is resulting in my leaving Vassar earlier than I had anticipated, I am proud of what we have accomplished over the past ten years. The college is in a strong position and I know with your dedication and generosity the college will continue to lead the way for other colleges and universities in providing an excellent liberal arts education to a diverse student body. You will be hearing from Bill Plapinger, Chair of the Board of Trustees, later today on the appointment of an Interim President, and I know Vassar will be in very capable hands.
Vassar is an exceptional community. Living on this beautiful campus and interacting with so many of you here and with our impressive alumnae/i around the world are memories I will carry with me throughout my life. I have been fortunate to have the colleagueship of such a dedicated faculty and staff and have cherished teaching and working with our incredibly talented students who will change our world in many important ways. I want to thank each of you, and especially the Board of Trustees, whose vision and leadership have been invaluable to the continual progress of this college. I have been very fortunate to know such wonderful people, and I send you my very best wishes.