We asked members of the Presidential Search Committee to share their thoughts about the candidate who rose to the top of their list. Here’s some of what they said:

“Laurie Patton was a standout in a field of very strong candidates. Her academic credentials are second to none, and her leadership capabilities at both Duke and Emory were overwhelmingly compelling, as was her incredible ability to work with disparate constituencies to achieve significant results. She was the unanimous choice of the Presidential Search Committee, and we are excited to announce her as the 17th president of Middlebury.”

     — Allan Dragone Jr. ’78, Trustee; Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

“Laurie Patton is a person of great intelligence and wisdom who has the skill set and character to lead this institution with conscience, purpose, inspiration, and soul. She truly understands and appreciates that which makes Middlebury so special, and she is passionate about wanting to be the next person to lead Middlebury to new levels of excellence in this ever-changing and dynamic world.”

     — John S. Weinberg, Trustee; Member of the Presidential Search Committee

“Laurie will be a natural steward of the Middlebury culture. Her academic pedigree, along with her strong liberal arts background and global perspective, create a marvelous cultural fit. She has long demonstrated powerful intellectual capabilities and held leadership positions where she had to make tough decisions. I have no doubt that Laurie will be able to integrate her visions and goals into those of Middlebury.” 

     — Bob Sideli ’77, Member of the Presidential Search Committee

“Laurie Patton has distinguished herself at every stage of her training and career.  Throughout the search process, she has spoken passionately and eloquently about the importance of a liberal arts education and the issues facing higher education. Equally important, she has been fully engaged in learning about what makes Middlebury College such a special place and how she can best serve this community as its next president. She is also a distinguished scholar, who is steeped in the humanities, with an appreciation and an understanding of what it means to be part of a global community.” 

     — Deborah Thomas 75, Trustee; Member of the Presidential Search Committee

“Laurie is uniquely well suited to the challenge. She is a global thinker and a student of language, history, and culture. She recognizes Middlebury’s human and capital resources—which span disciplines, the continent, and oceans—and sees the immense promise of continuing to strengthen and integrate them to provide a rigorous and relevant education. Laurie embodies, and is an ardent proponent of, the liberal arts. But her view of the liberal arts is, well, liberal. It is integrative, innovative, and adaptive. What a remarkable match for Middlebury.”

     — Caitlin Myers, Associate Professor of Economics; Member of the Presidential Search Committee 

“Laurie has internalized an astonishing amount of information about Middlebury, and her insightful questions of us were as informative as her answers to ours. She is both an eloquent speaker and a careful listener. She is principled, and she is inquisitive. I am thrilled by the idea of Laurie living the question of “exploration and intellectual purpose” here as the President of Middlebury.”

     — Priscilla Bremser, Nathan Beman Professor of Mathematics; Member of the Presidential Search Committee

“Laurie Patton will listen and take an active interest in student initiatives as well as student concerns. She is committed to collaborating with students in shaping how their institution can best serve and prepare them for life. And she is able to articulate and defend our mission in a new era of liberal arts, and she has an energy and charisma about her that I believe Middlebury students will be drawn to and will be excited about. Her prolific work and passion for scholarship will serve as an example for students to follow and respect. Laurie Patton is a qualified, progressive, and inspiring leader who we can be proud to welcome into our community.”

     — Nick Mallchok ’14.5, Middlebury College Student; Member of the Presidential Search Committee

“I believe that Dr. Patton possesses the ability, and perhaps more importantly, the desire, to fulfill this role as symbolic, and quite literal, torchbearer for College staff. In our interviews with her, Dr. Patton displayed intelligence, toughness, warmth, and a commitment to fairness and equal opportunity that will resonate deeply with College staff, regardless of the nature of our day-to-day roles. Also during conversations with the search committee, Dr. Patton shared challenging situations and how she resolved them using thoughtful diplomacy and persuasion. She was candid when discussing areas of the College that she was less familiar with, but with a mix of virtuosity and modesty, Dr. Patton turned any such weakness into an opportunity to gain new knowledge about our complex operations. Staff, I believe, will be particularly impressed with her thoughtful approach to understanding and appreciating the work of others.”

     — Rebekah Irwin, Director of Special Collections, Library; Member of the Presidential Search Committe

“Laurie Patton is an intellectual leader. She is, by all accounts, a fantastic administrator to work with, and a very enthusiastic fundraiser. From a Monterey perspective, what’s really great about her is her international background. She appears to be an inspirational leader who really knows how to manage complexity, and Middlebury is a complex place. We’re very excited to have someone who has proven that she knows how to work with people in managing complexity so that all the component parts can do their best.”

     — Laura Burian, Associate Professor, Chinese Translation and Interpretation, Monterey Institute of International Studies; Member of the Presidential Search Committee

“Laurie is an attentive listener who wants to hear all voices and understand how each component of the institution thinks and works. Her vision is highly inclusive. Beyond her magnificent leadership skills, vision, and promotion of the liberal arts, she has experience and knowledge that will connect her to all of our programs in specific ways.”

     — Miguel Fernández 85, Professor of Spanish; Member of the Presidential Search Committee