COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester



September 8, 2014

To the Middlebury Community,

As the academic year begins on the Middlebury and Monterey campuses, I write with an update on our search for the 17th president of Middlebury.

The Presidential Search Committee has been working over the summer to discuss and evaluate potential candidates whose background, experiences, and values align with our priorities. To date, the committee has reviewed more than 50 names, a subset of a much larger pool of prospects identified by our search firm, Spencer Stuart, and/or nominated by members of the Middlebury community. We are grateful to those of you who took the time to bring candidates to our attention; we gave them particular consideration.
This pool has included provosts, vice presidents, deans, and faculty members at top liberal arts colleges and research universities; sitting presidents; foundation leaders with ties to the academy; and leaders from the private sector and government with strong connections to higher education. We have been enormously impressed by the talent and commitment of these individuals.

Understandably, some of the candidates would prefer that their current employers and coworkers not learn of their interest in Middlebury. In order to attract the best possible people, the committee will maintain strict confidentiality throughout the process. 

In recent weeks the committee has begun to meet with candidates and will continue to do so this fall.  

I believe we are on track to make a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees by early 2015. We will continue to keep you posted on the progress of the search and share as much information as we can along the way.
Thank you once again for your support and your commitment to Middlebury.


Al Dragone Jr. '78, Chair


August 6, 2014

To the Middlebury Community,

The Presidential Search Committee met in July to discuss the large number of individuals who have been nominated to be Middlebury’s next President. Our search firm, Spencer Stuart, has played a critical role in identifying potential candidates, and members of the Middlebury community have added to the list by submitting nominations through our website. The Committee is grateful for this input, and excited by the strength of the candidate pool that has emerged thus far.

We are at an important juncture in the search—when we turn from nominations and CVs to face-to-face interviews with individual candidates. I am heartened by our work thus far, and am especially pleased by the sense of purpose that has developed within the Committee, including the group’s commitment to representing all aspects of the institution. 

I look forward to updating you on the progress we make over the next weeks and months. 


Al Dragone Jr. '78, Chair



July 2, 2014

To the Middlebury Community,

On behalf of the Presidential Search Committee, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the Middlebury community for their participation in the Presidential search process. As you probably know, we held meetings this spring with faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni, parents and town officials, on both the Middlebury and Monterey campuses; this summer, we have sessions scheduled at the Language Schools and Bread Loaf.  We have also heard from many of you through the electronic surveys we conducted, as well as the portal we established on our website.

The feedback from these conversations yielded highly consistent answers to the three questions we posed to the community: what makes Middlebury distinctive?; what are the challenges and opportunities facing Middlebury?; and what attributes and competencies are essential for the next President? It was gratifying to review the many comments highlighting Middlebury's various strengths, in particular, the commitment and talent of our students and faculty. We also received quite a few responses identifying the challenges facing American higher education as well as challenges specific to Middlebury. There seemed to be general agreement, though, that the next President will inherit a vibrant, innovative institution.

We have reflected on what we heard and read, and have tried to reflect back your aspirations for Middlebury and its next President in the Presidential Search Statement. This document will be used by the Search Committee in its discussions with prospective candidates.

The Search Committee met last week in New York City, and discussed the trends and challenges that the next President will face as well as the general profile we would like to see in potential candidates. Our search firm, Spencer Stuart, also reported that the initial response to the Middlebury opening–from leaders in higher education–has been very positive, and so we are feeling confident in our ability to attract the strongest possible candidates to this position. 

As the search unfolds, the committee will focus increasingly on the consideration of specific candidates. By necessity, we are limited in what we can say about this part of the process, but we will communicate when we can.

We are scheduled to meet throughout the summer and look forward to developing an impressive slate of candidates, one of whom will become the next President of Middlebury.


Al Dragone Jr.,'78, Chair



May 16, 2014

Dear fellow alumni, parents of students, and friends of Middlebury,

As chair of the Presidential Search Committee, I take great pleasure in sending you this video message, updating you on the search for Middlebury's next president. Our work is just getting started, and I am committed to soliciting your input and keeping you informed as the process unfolds.

We have established a
website where you can offer your thoughts on what Middlebury needs in its next president. We will be providing updates throughout this summer and into the fall as the search progresses. So please check this site often.

Thank you for your help and support in this very important process.


Al Dragone Jr. ’78, Chair



May 15, 2014

The Middlebury Presidential Search Committee, chaired by Allan Dragone, Jr. '78, held its first meeting on May 8. Michele Haertel and Mary Gorman from Spencer Stuart, the search firm assisting us with this work, gave an overview of current trends in academic leadership, especially as they affect liberal arts colleges. The group talked about “best practices” for a successful search and began mapping out its own procedures and timeline.  

Thursday’s meeting was preceded by a series of open meetings for Middlebury faculty, staff, and students led by the Spencer Stuart staff; similar open meetings were held in Monterey in the previous week. These groups were asked to talk about what makes Middlebury special, what they see as the challenges and opportunities facing the next president, and what skills and attributes they believe the next president needs to succeed. Despite the fact that this was the last week of classes in Middlebury, attendance was encouraging and the discussion candid, lively, and productive. The committee will hold additional targeted meetings and is planning a survey to be e-mailed to the Middlebury community.

With the initial feedback from Middlebury and Monterey stakeholders in hand, committee members had a robust discussion about the ideal experience and characteristics of the next Middlebury president. They are now hard at work on a position description—coming soon.



May 2, 2014

Dear Members of the Middlebury Community:

I am sending this message on behalf of the Middlebury Presidential Search Committee.

We are holding a series of open meetings next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to give faculty, staff, and students an opportunity to provide input to Spencer Stuart, the firm that will be assisting us in the search process. Mary Gorman and Michele Haertel of Spencer Stuart will lead meetings at the following times and locations:

Wednesday, May 7

11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.     STAFF - McCullough Social Space

12:30–1:30 p.m.               FACULTY - McCullough Social Space

2:00–3:00 p.m.                 STAFF - McCullough Social Space

5:30–6:30 p.m.                 STUDENTS - McCullough Social Space

Thursday, May 8

7:30–8:30 a.m.                 FACULTY - McCullough, Mitchell Green Lounge

6:00–7:00 p.m.                 STUDENTS - McCullough Social Space

Friday, May 9

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.      FACULTY - Dana Auditorium

1:30–2:00 p.m.                  FACULTY, STAFF, STUDENTS - Dana Auditorium

We know that this is a busy time of year, but please plan to attend one of the sessions if you can, and share your thoughts on:

  • What makes Middlebury special?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities facing the next president?
  • What skills and attributes does the next president need to succeed?

Thank you, in advance, for participating and for helping us in this important job.

Tim Spears

Vice President for Academic Affairs,

Administrative Liaison to the Presidential Search Committee


April 24, 2014

To All Faculty, Staff and Students:

As the search for the next president of Middlebury begins, all of us on the Search Committee are eager to hear from the members of the extended Middlebury community. Your participation will help us understand what you see as the core values of our institution and the challenges and opportunities we face, whether you study, teach, or work at the College, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Language Schools, the Bread Loaf School of English, our Schools Abroad program, the School of the Environment, or the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. And, of course, the Committee is looking for input on the qualities and experiences we should seek in our next president.  

To that end, Mary Gorman and Michele Haertel, from the search firm Spencer Stuart, will begin getting to know Middlebury through a series of campus visits and meetings with a wide range of stakeholders. These meetings will begin on the Monterey campus next Friday, and will continue through the following week on the Middlebury campus. I have listed the dates for these sessions below; we will provide further details as the dates approach.

     •  Friday, May 2: open meetings at Monterey

     •  Wednesday, May 7: open meetings at Middlebury

     •  Thursday, May 8: open meetings at Middlebury

     •  Friday, May 9: open meetings at Middlebury

In holding these meetings, Mary and Michele are most of all interested in gathering information that will help the Search Committee focus its work in the coming months.  Consequently, they likely will ask the following questions at the open meetings they host:

     •  What is it that makes Middlebury distinctive or unique that must be preserved and should remain vital?  What makes the undergraduate college or Monterey so special?

     •  What are the challenges and opportunities facing the next president?

     •  Keeping in mind your responses to the two questions above, what skills and attributes do you view as essential for a new president to succeed?

     •  What advice do you have for the search committee?

I want to stress that your participation in these meetings will be invaluable to the process and to everyone on the Search Committee.  I also want to mention that we have created a Presidential Search website which can be accessed via the following link invite you to visit the site to check for updates and to provide additional input. 

Thank you for your help and support in this very important process. 


Al Dragone Jr.,’78, Chair


April 16, 2014

To The Campus Community:

It is my pleasure as chair of the Presidential Search Committee to let you know that the individuals listed below have accepted an appointment to the Search Committee. Our work will begin this spring, continue through the fall, and conclude no later than January 2015 when the Board of Trustees appoints the next President of Middlebury College. Along the way, there will be ample opportunity for input and discussion, across all parts of the institution, and I encourage every member of the Middlebury community to engage in this important process.

I am also pleased to announce that we will be assisted in the search process by the international consulting firm, Spencer Stuart. Spencer Stuart has extensive experience in conducting executive searches in higher education, and will advise both the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees throughout the search.

Clear and timely communication is critical to this process, and we will keep the community informed as the search proceeds through periodic emails and a Presidential Search website that will soon be accessible from the College homepage.

During the next couple months the Search Committee will be working with Spencer Stuart—with input from the Middlebury community—to develop a prospectus and position description to share with potential candidates. We value your involvement in this undertaking, and will be in touch soon with information about how you can provide input.


Al Dragone Jr.,’78, Chair