The Middlebury Board of Trustees met on October 26-28, 2023 to discuss the priorities of the For Every Future: The Campaign for Middlebury—the largest, most comprehensive effort of its kind in Middlebury history—and attended the campaign kickoff event with faculty, staff, students, and community members.
Trustees also discussed financial and academic plans for the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, the Davis Collaboration in Conflict Transformation, Artificial Intelligence between industry and the academy, and also received a financial update.
For Every Future: The Campaign for Middlebury
On October 26, trustees participated in a retreat to learn more about the priorities of the For Every Future: The Campaign for Middlebury. Dan Courcey, vice president for advancement, members of the Campaign Leadership Committee (CLC), and advancement staff provided an update on the $600 million campaign. The institution is already more than halfway toward its goal, with commitments totaling $383 million, including a $38 million bequest for unrestricted endowment.
President Laurie L. Patton laid out the priorities of the campaign, which include access, academic excellence, experience, annual giving, and capital projects. Campaign co-chair Ted Truscott ’83 and CLC member Janet Franklin ’72 stressed the importance of access for all students wanting to attend Middlebury. The overall goal for access is $215 million for financial aid and student support across the Middlebury constellation of schools, including the undergraduate College, the Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Bread Loaf School of English and Writers’ Conferences, Language Schools, and the 16 C.V. Starr Schools Abroad, which operate in 33 sites around the world. CLC member George Lee ’88 led a discussion on the importance of reaching the $120 million goal for the academic excellence pillar to support faculty and academic programs, including data analytics, environmental leadership, Black Studies, and conflict transformation. CLC members Anne Peterson ’85, Churchill Franklin ’71, and Belinda Badcock P’18, 21, 27.5 talked about supporting immersive learning beyond the classroom ($70.5 million) by increasing internships and other experiential learning opportunities.
Also in the opening session on October 26, President Patton facilitated a panel with Lee; Amy Collier, associate provost for digital learning; and students Brooke Clarke ’25 and Katie Macalintal ’24 that engaged trustees in a conversation about Artificial Intelligence between industry and the academy. The panel focused on use cases for generative AI in education, along with questions and discussion about concerns and tensions surrounding those uses. Each panelist presented a case and answered questions from President Patton. Collier, for example, described a faculty project from the Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry (DLINQ) Faculty Fellows program. Dan Chatham, associate professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies, is working with his DLINQ mentor, Sarah Lohnes Watulak, director of digital pedagogy and media, and Tom Woodward, director of learning spaces and technologies, to create a ChatGPT simulation for one of his classes for the International Education Management (IEM) program.
Campaign Launch Event
Later in the evening, trustees joined students, administrators, faculty, and alumni at the newly renovated Christian A. Johnson Memorial Building to attend the For Every Future campaign launch celebration. Guests were welcomed by students, faculty, and staff, who shared firsthand the impact the renovations have had on the programs and people who use the building. A short film featured alumni from all over the world, and campaign co-chairs Truscott and Parker Harris ’89 and Patton offered remarks.
“This campaign will strengthen our foundations, and at the same time empower our imaginations as we build the Middlebury of the future,” said Patton.
The evening continued with a Moth-style storytelling event in Dana Auditorium, hosted by Chris de la Cruz ’13. Storytellers Lea Davison ’05, Henry Flores ’01, Samimah Naiemi ’25, Shawn Ryan ’88, and Su White ’82 inspired the audience with moving personal reflections on their lives at and after Middlebury.
MIIS Business Plan
On October 26, Jeff Dayton-Johnson, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Institute, provided an update on the execution of the MIIS business plan. The purpose of the plan is to strengthen the Institute’s commitment to serve as a hub for experimentation within the connected Middlebury community, and to ensure the financial sustainability of the Monterey campus. The presentation highlighted the significant refocusing of the Institute curriculum around three axes—global security, climate resilience, and intercultural communication—while diversifying and expanding modes of delivery, including the launching of several new online degrees.
On October 28, Sarah Stroup, director of the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation and professor of political science, gave an update on the progress of the Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation. The $25 million initiative has produced 36 Graduate CT Fellows; 28 K-12 teachers at the Bread Loaf School of English; 11 new faculty research projects; 96 undergraduates in “CT Skills” course; 51 college faculty and staff trained; 124 College and 27 MIIS in student experiences; and projects in Japan, Cameroon, Argentina, France. Stroup offered three new learning goals: New understandings of conflict; the desire to understand self and others; and a commitment to action. She shared a quote from Agnes Roche ’24.5, a political science and French double major from a School Abroad in France to highlight the impact of the collaborative: “Immersion in an unfamiliar cultural context and an ability to lean into difference allows us to explore the very essence of conflict transformation: That episodes of conflict are motors of change and opportunities for growth. With this mindset of growth and a positive, productive view of conflict and hardship I am a better learner, friend, partner, teammate, and citizen.”
David Provost, executive vice president for finance and administration, provided an update on Middlebury’s finances, which showed a stable balance sheet in a high inflationary period with modest improvement. Inflationary pressures led to an FY 2023 operating budget deficit of $8.2 million. Tuition revenue remained stable and consistent with levels before the COVID-19 pandemic. Fundraising remained strong and has continued to increase in the current fiscal year thanks to the recently launched comprehensive campaign. Total assets increased by $15.3 million to $2.015 billion, driven by a $17 million increase in contributions from the campaign. Provost said the College continues to manage expenses and increase revenues. Since 2016, even with lingering deficits, the current administration has grown the net assets of the College by 37.6 percent.
The board passed a motion to approve the 2024-25 Institute tuition and fees, including the Munras housing fees based on recommendations from the Resources Committee and Institute Board of Advisors. Trustees also approved the establishment of a Doctor of Modern Languages (DML) in Japanese beginning summer 2024 based on a recommendation of the Schools Board of Advisors.
New Board Members
The board also welcomed two new trustees: Kenshin Cho ’20, a law student at Columbia Law School, and John Waldron ’91, president and chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs. They also welcomed back Susie Scher ’86, partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs.