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Sep 5 2017
An update on a wide variety of news and activities as we begin the 2017-2018 academic year.

Opening the Academic Year

September 5, 2017

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

I am delighted to see everyone returning to campus, and I am very pleased to welcome our new faculty and staff arrivals and, of course, our new students – both those who have transferred this fall and members of the terrific Class of 2021. This incoming class stands at 665 students, selected from more than 10,000 applicants. Once again, nearly half came to us through Early Decision, and our overall acceptance rate was just 25%. The class makeup includes students from 35 states, 25% domestic students of color, 13% international students, and 17% first-generation students; 42% of the class is receiving Skidmore financial aid. We open the semester with 721 course offerings, with many more independent studies, individual lessons and co-curricular experiences. The new class has already begun meeting in 44 Scribner Seminars, two of them for the 25 students enrolled in the first-year program in London.

Since May's Commencement, we have hired over a dozen staff members, 11 tenure line professors and 24 non-tenure track positions (lecturers, visiting assistant professors, artists in residence, instructors, etc.). As you saw from my communication last week, Sean Campbell will be joining us mid-October as our new Collyer Vice President for Advancement, replacing Michael Casey, who left in the spring to become vice president at Trinity College. Let me express my thanks to Kim Verstandig, who has served as interim Vice President. Sean will come to us from University of Chicago Medicine.

Searches for two other cabinet positions have made good progress over the summer. We have identified our top candidates for the position of Vice President for Communications and Marketing, and final interviews will occur shortly. As most of us know, Beau Breslin will return to the faculty in January, following six and one-half years of excellent service as Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs (DoF/VPAA). The search for our new DoF/VPAA is moving along well. I expect us to complete that search this fall. I am also pleased to announce that Crystal Moore will serve as interim in this post, beginning in January 2018, if our new DoF/VPAA is not able to take up those duties until the summer of 2018. Currently Associate Dean of the Faculty, Dean Moore will work this fall with Dean Breslin to assure a smooth transition in this important office. I am grateful for the participation of all the staff, faculty, and students who have contributed to each of these searches.

In other news from Academic Affairs, a number of faculty members have been advancing the development and shaping of the General Education curriculum that was endorsed by the faculty last spring. The Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP) will oversee this work in the coming academic year, as new courses are created, new pedagogies introduced, and new major and minor requirements determined.

The Center for Integrated Sciences (CIS) remains our top institutional facilities priority again this year. Along with our active fundraising for this project, we have made good progress on the ground, including preparation for new access roads, utility line and pipe relocations, and other site preparations. This work will continue through the fall semester. Planning has also been under way, in consultation with a firm specializing in this work, for siting customized trailers to house classrooms, labs, and offices that will be displaced by the construction process. We expect to complete all permitting, site preparation, and relocation by early 2018.

Our rich array of summer programs brought in a wide range of artists, scholars, young athletes, and community members from Saratoga Springs and beyond. Among the events made possible by the Stewart's Signature Series were collaborations with SITI's summer workshop to present a play mounted by the Suzuki Company of Toga, Japan; a Selected Shorts program featuring works by authors from the NYS Summer Writers' Institute; the Jazz Institute's celebration of its 30th anniversary with Jon Batiste and his band, Stay Human, to benefit the McCormack Jazz Institute Scholarship Fund; and the Stephen Petronio Dance Company, which paired with artist Janine Antoni as our McCormack Visiting Artist-Scholars. And, of course, more events presented by Special Programs, from lectures to concerts to residencies, will continue through the academic year.

We will continue the Office of the President's "Community Dialogue Series," and will soon be announcing our special guests for the fall semester. We know there will be many other campus guests, speakers, and other exciting initiatives, including the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery's activities around the exhibit States of Incarceration and the Center for Leadership, Teaching, and Learning's hosting of the University of Michigan's Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) Players, who will provide two interactive performances related to conflict and climate in the classroom, just to mention a few.

Work continues on development of a Black Studies program, the Social Justice space planned for Case Center, and other initiatives around welcoming and belonging. We continue to implement our Strategic Plan with its four goals:

I. Integrative Learning
II. Access
III. Health and Wellness
IV. Sustainability

As I wrote to you a few weeks ago, our educational mission and fundamental values center on understanding, inclusion, and supporting responsible citizenship. I look forward to a year during which we live these values and model them for one another. I very much appreciate your participation in all our efforts to strengthen our campus community.

For now, I wish you the best as you settle into a promising new semester.

 

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Sep 5 2017
This is a message from the New York Six Consortium Presidents related to the rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Statement on DACA

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

Please find below a message from the New York Six Consortium Presidents related to the rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The message may also be accessed by clicking this link.

September 5, 2017

We write to express our deep concern about President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). That program benefits some 800,000 young people for whom the United States is home, and who are valued and productive members of our society, as students, employees, community members, and taxpayers.

As presidents of institutions that increasingly reflect the remarkable diversity of our country, we witness daily the tremendous benefit that the presence of immigrants brings to our communities. DACA beneficiaries have been outstanding students on our campuses; their presence has enriched the learning environment for all of our students. We fear that the end of DACA will make our campuses, our communities, and our country less successful and culturally robust.

We hope you will support swift legislative action to codify the principles of DACA so that those who qualify for its protections may live in this country free from the fear of deportation, enabling them to continue to contribute to the economic and cultural well-being of our nation.

We are proud to be part of upstate New York communities that have embraced immigrants and refugees from all corners of the globe for many decades. They are our students, our colleagues, our neighbors, and our friends. Supporting legislation to retain the protections of DACA “will ensure that America remains a beacon of liberty and the most hopeful society this world has ever known (George W. Bush).

Sincerely,

Stephen Ainlay, President, Union College
Brian Casey, President, Colgate University
William Fox, President, St. Lawrence University
Philip Glotzbach, President, Skidmore College
Gregory Vincent, President, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
David Wippman, President, Hamilton College

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Collyer Vice President for Advancement
Aug 31 2017
I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Sean P. Campbell as Skidmore's new Collyer Vice President for Advancement, effective October 16, 2017.

Collyer Vice President for Advancement

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Sean P. Campbell as Skidmore's new Collyer Vice President for Advancement, effective October 16, 2017. Sean currently serves as the managing director of individual giving at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Sean P. Campbell

Sean brings 18 years of fundraising and alumni relations experience to Skidmore. Since 2012 he has led a team responsible for raising millions of dollars in philanthropic resources for the University's Pritzker School of Medicine, research and clinical programs, Kovler Diabetes Center, and community health programs. Employed by the University of Chicago since 2007, he previously served for four years as senior director for the Midwest/Southern Regional Office, responsible for the Chicago Society—a leadership annual-giving program—major gifts, and alumni relations programs and events in greater Chicago and 25 states in the Midwest and South.

Earlier in his career, Sean spent 10 years in the advancement office at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, as director of the parents and family association, leadership giving officer, and director of leadership giving and donor programs during the college's largest fundraising campaign. Click here to view Sean’s complete curriculum vitae.

At Skidmore, he will lead 55 employees within the Office of Advancement, as they prepare for the public launch of the Creating Our Future campaign this November. The campaign is dedicated to the principles of creativity, opportunity and independence, with a fundraising goal of $200 million.

Sean succeeds Kimberly M. Verstandig, who has served as interim vice president since March, following the departure of Michael T. Casey, who stepped down to become vice president for advancement at Trinity College after 17 years at Skidmore. Kim will return to her previous role as Skidmore's campaign director and associate vice president for advancement. I would like to thank Kim for her excellent service and leadership during this critical campaign phase, while she also maintained her myriad duties as campaign director and associate vice president for advancement.

Sean is excited to join the advancement team and work with the Skidmore community to increase vital support for the people and programs that are at the heart of the College's mission.

I would like to compliment our national search firm, Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, for identifying and presenting numerous well-qualified candidates, and I'd also like to express my gratitude to our dedicated search committee, which included Beau Breslin, Kelli Johnson, Maya Reyes '17, Jeff Seagrave (vice chair), Mike Sposili, and Kim Verstandig.

We look forward to welcoming our new colleague Sean to the Skidmore community in mid-October.

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Aug 28 2017
Our hearts go out to those affected by the terrible winds, tidal surges, and unprecedented flooding being wrought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, effects that may extend in time to Louisiana and elsewhe...

Hurricane Harvey

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

Many of us have seen news coverage of the devastation currently being wrought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, effects that may extend in time to Louisiana and elsewhere. Our hearts go out to those affected by the terrible winds, tidal surges, and unprecedented flooding. Skidmore’s current student body includes students from Houston and other Texas cities, and a number of our alumni and friends live in the affected areas as well. Beyond that, many of us will have family members and friends who also are dealing with disruption to their lives and businesses. I believe that most—if not all—of us will be touched by this disaster one way or another. So please let us do what we can to lend assistance.

Alumni Relations & College Events reached out last night to our Houston alumni offering support. Student Affairs is partnering with Admissions and Academic Affairs to identify and reach out to our students from affected areas, and Advancement is reaching out to our students’ families. I’ve also asked that members of our Student Affairs staff share information regarding organizations that are engaged in providing relief to those most directly affected by this storm.

Along with you, Marie and I will continue to hold the many displaced families in our hearts and minds. Thank you for your attention and your concern.

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Aug 16 2017
As we anticipate the start of our own new academic year, let us stand in solidarity with the members of the Charlottesville community, including those at the University of Virginia.

Charlottesville, VA

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

Along with so many in our country and within the Skidmore community, I watched with dismay the hate-filled speech and threatening actions of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who gathered this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. That dismay turned to horror in witnessing news coverage of the resulting violence that took the life of one person, Heather D. Heyer, and injured many others. I also acknowledge the deaths of the two state troopers, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, who were monitoring the situation in Charlottesville.

These events reinforce the importance of our educational mission and the fundamental values we espouse: seeking first to understand; affirming the fundamental worth and dignity of all persons; and supporting responsible citizenship, democratic processes, and the peaceful resolution of differences. They also serve to remind us that the conflict between ideas of hate, bigotry, and exclusion, on the one hand, and love, tolerance, and inclusion, on the other, is not just abstract or theoretical. This conflict also plays out concretely both in our personal lives and in the collective social and political life of our nation.

Freedom of speech stands at the heart of our work as educators and in the political arena of any democratic nation. Upholding that freedom sometimes forces us to acknowledge the existence of views that not only are different from our own but that we find truly evil. We can uphold the right to affirm a particular point of view and, at the same time, we can vigorously critique it and hold those who embrace it accountable for doing so. Ideas do have consequences.

In an often-quoted statement, Dr. Martin Luther King said that the "arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." As Dr. King showed through his leadership of the Civil Rights Movement, this process does not occur of itself. We all have a role in moving the moral universe we inhabit towards justice, and our actions help determine the speed at which this movement occurs. Let us rededicate ourselves to doing our part in accelerating this progress.

As we anticipate the start of our own new academic year, let us stand in solidarity with the members of the Charlottesville community, including those at the University of Virginia. At Skidmore, we will continue to create opportunities to engage with the issues that surfaced once again by the events of this past weekend. Let us also individually reach out to one another, and especially to our friends and colleagues who, through their social identities, legitimately feel personally targeted by the hate-speech and hateful actions that were so dramatically in evidence. It is our collective responsibility to create, both on our campus and in the larger world beyond our borders, the kind of open, respectful, inclusive, and just society we so fervently seek. 

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May 26 2017
Skidmore made enormous strides this academic year thanks to our dedicated faculty and staff... I am thrilled and humbled by all that we have accomplished together.

Dear Colleagues:

After a weekend of inspiring events anchored by a joyous 106th Commencement, I write to congratulate you on an excellent academic year. Skidmore made enormous strides thanks to your dedication to our students.

Farewells and congratulations

We honored four distinguished faculty members who are retiring this year: John Cunningham, professor of art, whose talent in sculpture was shared with students for 50 years; Steven Millhauser, professor of English and holder of the Tisch Chair in Arts and Letters, a 1997 Pulitzer Prize winner who taught at Skidmore for 29 years; Mehmet Odekon, economics professor, who held the Tisch Family Distinguished Professorship, received a distinguished faculty service award, and taught for 35 years; and Pete Stake, associate professor of art, who has been with Skidmore for 31 years and whose paintings have been exhibited all over the world. Their service totals 145 years.

We also say goodbye to retiring staff members, whose service we celebrated on Tuesday. They include Lorraine Bittel, Larry Britt, Mary Cogan, Hunt Conard, Dennis Conway, Priscilla Eggleston, Ellen Eldredge, Ruby Grande, Barbara Hatlee, Joe Knapik, Alena Llorens-Myers, Tom Morris, John Myers, Jim Potter, Nancy Rudick, Sharon Shearman, Michael Tallman, Phillip Taylor, and Pat Wright. The work of these dedicated professionals totals over 1,000 years of service! I wish every one of you the very best in your new chapters of life.

This year's President's Awards for excellence, campus pride, and community service were given to Kim Frederick, professor of chemistry; Chris Breslin, of IT's user services; and the Counseling Center.

I would like to single out Collyer Vice President for Advancement Michael Casey, who leaves to become vice president for advancement at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. When he departs officially at the end of June, Michael will have served as vice president for 18 years. He has been a valued cabinet member and trusted advisor during my entire tenure at Skidmore. He will be missed by so many of us in the campus and alumni communities.

I also want to express my thanks to Debra Townsend, who for the past two years has provided outstanding leadership in helping us create a new Communications and Marketing Division. During this time she has given great service in her interim role and has been a valued member of the President's Cabinet. We will miss her as she returns to her consulting business.

Academics and admissions

The Board of Trustees last week approved faculty promotions including those of Kristie Ford to full professor of sociology, Andrew Lindner to associate professor of sociology, Peter McCarthy to senior teaching professor of social work, Erika Schielke to senior instructor in biology, and Beatrice Kendall to senior instructor in chemistry. The board also acknowledged many awards given to students, staff, and faculty, including a Fulbright for Kim Frederick and a Guggenheim for Heather Hearst.

Significant faculty action this spring now positions the College to rise even higher in the coming decade. Most visibly and importantly, the faculty adopted a new general education curriculum, based on data about what and how students should learn and centered on the concept that liberally educated students can integrate their learning from both curricular and co-curricular vantage points. Also approved was a change to the Faculty Handbook that eliminate the second-year review. Another change will allow departments and programs to hire faculty with tenure as needed, which will help us in our continuing efforts to enhance faculty diversity. My thanks to the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning for all its efforts to bring these important changes to successful conclusion.

The admissions office received a record 10,000-plus applications for the class of 2021. We are comfortably above our targeted class size of 660, with some of these students beginning in the London program. Currently the class is 42 percent male and 58 percent female, 24 percent identify as domestic students of color (up 1 percent over last year), and 13 percent are international students with citizenship from 47 countries other than the U.S. Approximately 42 percent of students will receive financial aid. Over half of our class came through Early Decision, and our selectivity rate is expected to be between 24 and 25 percent. I appreciate all of the efforts across campus that helped us attract these talented new members of our community.

Finances and capital projects

This year's budget is projected to have a modest surplus, and the board has approved the operating budget for fiscal year 2018, with revenues projected at $157.5 million and expenses at $157.0 million. Our endowment as of April 30 is estimated at an all-time high of nearly $360 million.

As we committed at the conclusion of last year's work with the Task Force on Divestment, the College's Investment Committee has been researching investment vehicles that deal exclusively with equities from “green” companies. The Committee has identified a promising option and is working to move a portion of our endowment to this fund. It is important to understand, however, that this fund may not be accepting new investments until after January 2018. I will provide further updates as information becomes available.

The board approved master plans and concept designs for the main campus athletic facilities and Van Lennep Riding Center. Permitting for the Valentine Boathouse is in process, with construction anticipated to begin in September for a June 2018 completion target. The board also accepted a generous gift of land from Margaret and Michael Roohan, and several trustees viewed the renovations and moves to North Broadway by Special Programs and Communications and Marketing. Renovations on the Spa dining area begin this month, with completion slated for early September.

This year saw significant progress on the Center for Integrated Sciences. The board approved preconstruction site-enabling work, now in progress. The study of temporary spaces and trailers needed for offices, dry labs, and classrooms is also under way, as is the construction permitting, which should be completed by December. A special board meeting will be held on July 25 to receive updates on the CIS project and make decisions that will further expedite progress. Please visit the CIS website for regular updates. Our advancement programs expect to end the year having raised $22 million to $23 million overall. In the ongoing Creating Our Future: The Campaign for Skidmore, we will exceed $136 million in cumulative gifts and pledges, which includes more than $20 million in new commitments. The Skidmore Fund is on track to reach its $7 million goal, with a slight uptick in participation. Gifts from parents will exceed $4 million, up $400,000 over last year, the Senior Family Gift Project amounted to more than $730,000 and the Senior Class Gift set a record of 94.6 percent participation. In addition to planning Commencement, Reunion, and other major campus events, the Office of Alumni Relations and College Events has planned and hosted more than 100 regional events and activities for alumni, parents, and friends.

Enhancing campus life

Student Affairs increased its orientation and leadership programs, advising 110 clubs that held over 800 events, many of them focused on our strategic goals of sustainability and diversity. In addition, the Office of Student Diversity Programs held important events recognizing our students of color, those who identify as LGBTQI+, and first-generation students. More than 50 percent of Skidmore students participated in community service this past year. In the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the expansion of the director position to full-time and the addition of a new coordinator allowed us to provide more services and support student-led initiatives including on-campus Catholic Masses, events for Muslim students and staff, and the renewal of Quaker gatherings at Wilson Chapel.

The Counseling Center and Health Services launched new programs including mental health first-aid training, a point of distribution (POD) for emergency supplies, and significant work with students on the topic of consent. Through the Career Development Center, 52 students were provided with internships throughout the country and around the world (including three at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab).

It was a very exciting year in athletics, with 15 of our 19 varsity teams participating in postseason competition and five teams earning berths in national championship tournaments. Our student-athletes also helped lead the “It's on Us” campaign to speak out against sexual assault. Most important, we honored more than 100 athletes whose GPAs exceeded 3.67 in the fall, and we expect similar numbers once spring grades are tallied.

In addition to the positive representational diversity in admissions demographics and faculty hiring, our diversity and inclusion efforts included three staff reading and discussion groups, the establishment of inclusion liaisons representing each of the College's divisions, all-campus screenings of the film Hidden Figures, the “In It” program of speakers and events, and movement on two significant fronts: discussion of a black studies program and the creation of social justice space, including the designation of the space in Case Center across from the current Intercultural Center. Going forward, we continue to work on improving our campus climate, strengthening our efforts to be a welcoming and inclusive community, broadening the initiatives and activities that fall under our diversity and inclusion umbrella, providing ally training, and highlighting College demographics in diversity analytics.  

External college relations

The Office of Communications and Marketing has ramped up its national coverage of faculty, staff, and student stories and is well into the planning and implementation phases of a new College website design and important admissions and advancement marketing initiatives, working in concert with the national college marketing firm Ologie. Several focus groups have been conducted to review these new initiatives, and they will continue through the summer. Communications and Marketing will also roll out graphic standards for the College this fall to help us adopt a more consistent visual identity as we continue to become better known. Thank you to the team members who worked so hard to achieve a new vision for this office.

The Office of the Dean of Special Programs (ODSP) celebrated the 10th anniversary of partnership with Ensemble Connect of Carnegie Hall, providing two weeklong residencies; sponsored five Jacob Perlow lectures; and collaborated with the Tang Museum on several projects. Its Skidmore Encore program for community adults aged 55 and over welcomed 335 enrollees for 21 faculty lectures last fall, and the office hosted several events on campus for local organizations.

ODSP teamed with the Center for Leadership, Teaching, and Learning to create a new faculty/guest residency that will give a faculty member an opportunity to develop his or her own semester-long project involving students in new ways. The first resident next spring will be Heather Hurst. ODSP staff spends much of the academic year planning for the summer, with the kickoff to the new season being a sold-out concert by the Manhattan Transfer on May 13. This summer will be one of the most exciting in recent memory. Two performances of The Trojan Women by the Suzuki Company of Toga, Japan, take place on June 2 and 3, and the house band from Late Night with Stephen Colbert, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, appears on July 6. Batiste was a participant in the Skidmore Jazz Institute in 2004. In a new partnership with SPAC, our Zankel Center will host Simone Dinnerstein and the Havana Lyceum Orchestra's “Mozart in Havana” on June 20. We will also host a taping of NPR's Selected Shorts, featuring writers from our July New York State Writers' Institute, on July 22. Over the summer an estimated 4,000 people will come onto campus, and we will mount 65 total public events, most of them free. View more events on the ODSP calendar.

The Tang Teaching Museum continues to be a campus standout, with interdisciplinary exhibitions such as Sixfold Symmetry: Pattern in Art and Science, which featured the scholarship of nine Skidmore professors; a new lecture series, “Accelerate,” bringing diverse voices to discuss race and inclusion issues; and opportunities for students of all disciplines to learn from the Tang's permanent collection. In the fall, the campus and wider community debated the Constitution, gender, civic discourse, and the 2016 presidential election in an exhibition—A More Perfect Union featuring Mel Ziegler's Flag Exchange—that realized the museum as a vital town square. The Tang's Frances Day open house will be held July 15. View more events on the Tang calendar.

Finally, a brief update on our three President's Cabinet searches: The search for a vice president for communications and marketing is well under way, on track to make an appointment this summer. The search for a vice president for advancement has identified candidates and should complete its work before the new academic year begins. And the search for a new dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs is expected to be completed this fall.

These are just samples of our remarkably lively and productive year. As I review our Strategic Plan and the significant progress already have made on our ambitious two-year Strategic Action Agenda, I am thrilled and humbled by all that we have accomplished together.

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Feb 16 2017
The "Community Dialogue Series" is designed to bring noted experts to campus to lead meaningful dialogues around significant issues that affect us as a community.

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community:

As included in the Strategic Action Agenda (SAA) associated with Skidmore's Strategic Plan, I am announcing the first phase of a Presidential speaker series, which we are calling a "Community Dialogue Series," designed to bring noted experts to campus to lead meaningful dialogues around significant issues that affect us as a community.

The first three events in the ongoing series begin next week. They include:

The Contours of Free Speech on Campus
Featuring Frederick M. Lawrence, Secretary, The Phi Beta Kappa Society
Wednesday, February, 22, 2017
Luncheon, 12:15-1:30 p.m., Murray-Aikins Dining Hall, 2nd Floor
This is a sign-up first come, first-served event with slots for students, staff, faculty, and trustees.

Immigration and the Future of DACA— Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Featuring David W. Oxtoby, President, Pomona College
Thursday, February 23, 2017
4:00-4:45 p.m., Gannett Auditorium
This event is open to all community members.

Institutional Values and Investment Decisions
Featuring David W. Oxtoby, President, Pomona College, and a Panel Discussion
Thursday, February 23, 2017
5:00-6:15 p.m., Murray-Aikins Dining Hall, 2nd Floor
This event is open to all community members.

We are also planning an event on the topic of diversity and inclusion for mid-April. I will share information about that event with you when the details are finalized. For now, I invite you to take the time to participate in these opportunities. Please bring your ideas and opinions as we learn from our speakers and each other. Thank you.

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Michael Casey, Collyer Vice President for Advancement
Feb 16 2017
Michael Casey, the Collyer Vice President for Advancement, will step down this spring to become the vice president for advancement at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

Michael Casey, Collyer Vice President for Advancement

I write to share the news that after 17 years with Skidmore College, Michael Casey, the Collyer Vice President for Advancement, will step down this spring to become the vice president for advancement at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

Michael came to Skidmore from Wesleyan University’s advancement office, following advancement positions at Franklin & Marshall and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Throughout our 14 years together, Michael has been a wonderful colleague and collaborator. As a new president, I benefited considerably from his experience and expertise in fundraising. He has also been a tremendous help to me in crafting speeches and other texts, and he has always taken an institution-wide perspective, pushing for excellence in all areas. He will be greatly missed.

Michael joined the Skidmore community in July of 2000 and built professional teams in the areas he supervised. During his tenure, the College raised more than a half-billion dollars for a range of initiatives including the construction of the Arthur Zankel Music Center. He also secured support for financial aid and academic programs including 15 endowed chairs and the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative, as well as facilities and athletics and student affairs initiatives.

From 2004 to 2010, Michael oversaw the "Creative Thought. Bold Promise" Campaign, which raised a record $216.5 million. In recent years he has overseen the quiet phase and public launch plan for the current effort, "Creating Our Future: The Campaign for Skidmore," which has already raised $132.5 million. He participated in the creation of several important volunteer support organizations such as the Friends of Skidmore Athletics and the President’s Advisory Council, helped shape the new Communications and Marketing Office in 2015, and played a lead role in the 2001 crafting and development of the College’s highly successful branding platform "Creative Thought Matters."

Michael has been deeply involved in the greater Saratoga Springs community, including service on the boards of the Waldorf School, the Convention and Tourism Bureau, SaratogaArtsFest, and the YMCA.

Michael shared with me the following thoughts to be conveyed to his colleagues: "It has been a great honor to serve Skidmore these past 17 years, and a real pleasure to work with so many wonderful volunteers, donors, staff, and trustees and to see their tremendous commitment to the College and, most important, to our students."

I am pleased to announce that Kimberly Verstandig, our campaign director and associate vice president for advancement, will assume the role of interim vice president on March 1, until we complete a national search for Michael’s successor. Kim, who has been at Skidmore since 2012, formerly served as executive director of alumni and constituent relations at Bucknell University, senior development officer at Albany Medical Center, and director of advancement at the Albany Academies. She holds a B.S. in business administration and an M.A. in education from Bucknell. I am grateful to her for taking on this important assignment.

Michael will continue as a transitional advisor to Kim and the division until June 1. He begins his new assignment at Trinity later that month.

Please join me in thanking Michael Casey for all he has accomplished on behalf of Skidmore and wishing him well in his new position. 

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Jan 29 2017
Recent decisions and executive orders emerging from the Trump Administration touch all of us, either directly or indirectly.

Immigration and the Skidmore community

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

Many of us have been following the recent decisions and executive orders emerging from the Trump Administration that sharply restrict both immigration and border entry for persons from a number of Muslim-majority countries and suspend the refugee program for 120 days. Several other related legal developments subsequently have occurred, and this remains a dynamic and evolving situation.

Currently, a significant contingent of Skidmore students, faculty, and staff come from scores of countries around the world, some of them from regions directly affected by these executive orders. But these political developments touch all of us either directly or indirectly.

As we await further decisions and developments, let me reaffirm our pertinent institutional values:

  • We reaffirm Skidmore’s membership in the international community of scholars, educators, and students within colleges and universities across our nation and throughout the world. It is our priority to foster in our students, as fundamental aspects of their liberal education, both intercultural awareness and global understanding. We actively recruit students from across the world, and we actively encourage all of our students to study abroad. It is clear that educated persons today must understand the myriad ways the countries and peoples of the world are increasingly interconnected and share a basic humanity, interrelated interests, and ultimately a common fate.

  • As our current Strategic Plan makes clear, Skidmore is also deeply committed to fostering inclusive excellence — affirming that our diversity makes us a stronger, more vibrant, and more creative community, provided we enable everyone to participate fully in our shared enterprise. Our international students are a key part of this vitality.

  • We have long been committed to policies of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, religion, or national origin. We do not discriminate in staff and faculty employment or student Admissions or any other area based on a student’s immigration status. We comply with relevant legal requirements, but we do not otherwise seek or disseminate information about our students’ immigration status, and we strive to protect the privacy of all our students.

  • In times of difficulty, the Skidmore community comes together to support one another and to reach out, especially, to members who are in distress. This is a moment when we need to show solidarity with all our international students, faculty members, and staff members – especially those from countries affected by these recent developments. Personal expressions of care and concern can go a long way to reassure people that they are valued and, above all, that they are not alone.

Going forward, we will continue to closely monitor developments in national policy and their legal implications for the College. I am currently in Washington, D.C. attending the annual meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). I will speak to staff members at NAICU and directly with some of our federal legislators and their staffs to learn more about what we can do, and I will share this information with you.

For any community member who would like to discuss this further, please consider reaching out to the following offices: Dean of the Faculty, Dean of Students, Human Resources, Religious and Spiritual Life, Office Campus Study & Exchanges, Student Academic Services, and the Counseling Center.

This is an important time for all of us to listen to one another with compassion, seek understanding, and speak with respect for the multiplicity of beliefs and perspectives that characterizes a liberal arts college worthy of that title.

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Dec 19 2016
I write to share "First Steps: Strategic Action Agenda 2016-2018," which is posted on our strategic planning website.

Strategic Action Agenda 2016-2018

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

I write to share "First Steps: Strategic Action Agenda 2016-2018," which is posted on our strategic planning website. This Strategic Action Agenda (SAA) differs from previous iterations in two distinct ways. First, it covers a two-year window, allowing us to make significant strides on our Strategic Plan: Creating Pathways to Excellence. Second, it is organized on the basis of the four goals identified in the Plan, rather than in relation to administrative divisions of the College. We look forward to collaborating with you as we complete these first steps.

Marie and I wish you great success during this final examination period, and Happy Holidays!

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Title IX Coordinator
Dec 8 2016
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Joel Aure as Skidmore's new Title IX Coordinator, effective January 9, 2017.

Title IX Coordinator 

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Joel Aure as Skidmore's new Title IX Coordinator, effective January 9, 2017. Joel currently serves as the Chief Diversity and Affirmative Action Officer and Title IX Coordinator at Purchase College, State University of New York (SUNY).

Joel Aure

Joel has been with SUNY Purchase since 2005, holding positions of increasing responsibility in a variety of areas, including academic advising, student success, teaching and mentoring, orientation, first-year experience, affirmative action, strategic planning, and governance. In his most recent role, as Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator, Joel researched and implemented various components of Title IX practice and policies, including best practices in investigations, compliance, bystander intervention, LGBTQ awareness, and the numerous aspects of sexual and interpersonal violence prevention and response.

A native of Monroeville, PA, Joel holds a B.A. and M.F.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and Sarah Lawrence College, respectively.

At Skidmore, Joel will work as a partner with all campus community members to bolster the College's prevention and educational efforts around prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. He will be responsible for fulfilling our commitment to a fair and equitable process to address serious matters of sexual and gender-based misconduct.

As previously announced, this is a newly-created position that will report directly to me. Joel will oversee the College's Title IX efforts, as well as compliance with related laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act. He will chair the College's Advisory Council on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct and provide oversight of compliance with all Title IX policies. He will manage reporting, keep the community informed of policy changes and updates, supervise annual training, administer investigations, and provide direction to our Deputy Title IX coordinators in Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Human Resources. Finally, he will work closely with Campus Safety and our off-campus partners, including law enforcement and counseling resources.

I want to express my deep gratitude for the terrific work of the screening group that included Max Fleischman '19, Chris Kopec, Alena Llorens-Myers, Mariel Martin, Tim Munro, DyAnna Washington '18, and Joshua C. Woodfork (chair). Thanks to the many students, staff, and faculty members who interacted with our candidates and provided valuable feedback. This process was ably assisted by Tom Molloy as our search consultant.

I also want to thank Sarah Delaney Vero who has served as our Interim Title IX Coordinator. I am grateful for her excellent work and willingness to step in and assist us during this transition.

Please join me in welcoming our new colleague Joel when we return to campus after our extended winter break.

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Nov 10 2016
President Glotzbach reflects on the U.S. presidential election and calls for Skidmore to strengthen its efforts in diversity, inclusion, and the bridging of differences across the campus community.

Finding a Way Forward

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

I write to you from Asia where Marie and I are meeting with alumni, current parents, supporters, and prospective students. While I wish I were on campus with you, my presence here at this particular time has given me an unexpected perspective on this week's events and a deep appreciation for how small and interconnected our world has become.

In the weeks and months ahead, it will be my top focus to help us work together across any existing divides to continue our efforts to make Skidmore more inclusive. Never has that been more important than in the challenging times that I believe will follow this divisive election. For now, I offer three points for us to consider together.

First, let us openly acknowledge and discuss the significant and troubling issues in the American politic that this election has revealed. These divides were reflected in the heated and corrosive tone of the campaigns and, ultimately, in voting patterns that show the deep demographic and ideological split in our country. We are not immune from those divides here, as various events from the past few years have shown. Clearly, we still have a long way to go if we are to achieve the "more perfect union" imagined by Lincoln and explored in the current exhibit at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, which has served as our town square over the past several weeks.

Second, we need to be attentive to the damage done and the hurt felt by individuals all across the political spectrum in this country and on our own campus. If there is one initial and fundamental lesson that we can take away from this week, it is that many – far too many – of our fellow citizens do not feel that they are fully enfranchised participants in this grand experiment called the United States. Both in perception and in fact many of us do not and cannot now enjoy the privileges that should be a fundamental prerequisite for all. It will take candid dialogues and true collaborations across differences to address this abiding crisis.

Third, let us celebrate the fact that millions of individuals were able to participate in this election, one of the most fundamental activities of a true democracy. We are now on the familiar path of witnessing, once again, a peaceful transition of power from one administration to another. We must not take these privileges for granted. And we must fulfill our own personal obligations to protect them for all who live among us. Just as importantly, we must recommit ourselves to Skidmore's critical responsibility to prepare students to be thoughtful, civil, engaged, and responsible community members.

In the weeks ahead, there will be many more lessons to take away from this week's events and many opportunities to learn and grow from meaningful conversations. I encourage all of us to take the long view of our history as we work toward a better future together. We must be unwavering in our commitment to justice, to understanding, and to each other. Skidmore can, and must, be a place where we live by our stated principles every day. We must be a place where all members of our community can achieve their full potential. That is the goal of every great college and it must be ours. 

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Sep 27 2016
Now that the first presidential debate has taken place, we have entered into the most public segment of a lengthy campaign season. We have witnessed strong opinions during this political season and an...

Policy on Political Activity

To the Skidmore Community:

Now that the first presidential debate has taken place, we have entered into the most public segment of a lengthy campaign season. In fact, the election is six weeks from today. We have witnessed strong opinions during this political season and anticipate that this will continue.

I write to remind you that we do have a College policy on Political Activity, which I encourage you to review at this weblink.

Our policy was developed by students, staff, and faculty members. In reviewing it, you will see that its underlying essence is a call for us to be wise, measured, and respectful of opinions that differ from our own. Please refer to this Policy when thinking about any political activity that you or your organization may plan to undertake.

As a liberal arts college, we greatly prize freedom of expression, and we also value, and expect, that we honor and learn from diverse schools of thought.

You have likely seen advertised the impressive array of activities and events that are being held right here on campus this fall.  I encourage you to visit the exhibit, "A More Perfect Union" at the Frances M. Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, which is providing a "town square" hub of activities and events.  For example, over 330 community members attended a "Debate Watch Party" last night at the Tang.  Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker, and media publisher Jose Antonio Vargas will be at the Tang tomorrow night to talk about immigration policy and the presidential election.  And on Monday, October 10, Alexander Heffner, host of PBS’s show The Open Mind, will moderate a dialogue with Republican Congressman Chris Gibson and Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko entitled "What Ever Happened to Compromise?"

A full listing of related events coming up on campus may be found here.  If you have an upcoming event and would like to add it to the list, please let us know.

As we head toward Tuesday, November 8, I encourage you to participate in the election process and to find positive ways to make your opinion known that lead to greater understanding and exchange in a respectful manner. Thank you.

 

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Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Sep 15 2016
Beau Breslin, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, will leave his administrative post as of January 1, 2018.

Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs

To the Skidmore Community:

I write to share news that I reported at the September faculty meeting: Beau Breslin, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, will leave his administrative post as of January 1, 2018. Beau has graciously agreed to stay on through 2017 in order to complete some key projects related to the Center for Integrated Sciences, participate in a large number of tenure decisions next fall, and continue work on the General Education curriculum renewal. He will take a well-deserved sabbatical in 2018–19 and then rejoin the Political Science Department in September 2019.

I accepted Beau’s decision with reluctance. He has been – and will continue to be – a strong voice for academic life throughout the College, an advocate for our faculty, and a community leader. With six years of dedicated service in this role and four in previous administrative duties, he has been away from his teaching and research for ten years now, and I know that he misses being in the classroom with our students.

I have discussed this transition with the chairs of key faculty committees, including the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) and the Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure (CAPT), as well as the vice chair of the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee (IPPC). We will begin a national search next fall, and I will work through the appropriate governance channels on the appointment of an Interim Dean/Vice President for the spring of 2018 and on other matters relating to this search.

I appreciate that Beau will continue his stellar administrative service for the next three semesters, and I am equally pleased that he will continue to be an invaluable advisor to me and members of the President’s Cabinet during this time. We are very grateful for all that he has done in support of Skidmore in this important role.

In due course, we will have the opportunity to celebrate Beau’s many accomplishments, but I believe it is appropriate to inform the community of his decision now, so that we can, with his involvement, make plans for this important transition.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas as we move forward. Thank you for your attention.

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Jul 18 2016
I write to share with you the positive news we have recently received from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE): our reaccreditation has been formally confirmed, and we have been c...

Middle States Accreditation

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

I write to share with you the positive news we have recently received from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE): our reaccreditation has been formally confirmed, and we have been commended publicly on the quality of our self-study process. Many of you were present when the visiting team read their report to us on March 9. It contained a long list of compliments. It also contained some recommendations. We are pleased to say that those recommendations, while a permanent part of their report, are not public, and do not result in a compulsory follow-up before our next self-study process.

This result places us in a small group of colleges who have been commended for our work. Of the 46 colleges and universities that underwent reaccreditation last year, 33 must follow up to document improvements; the Commission commended only 13 others–Skidmore among them–in the self-study process, while reaffirming accreditation without any required monitoring or progress report.

We can be proud of our accreditation process and of all that we are doing in support of excellence at Skidmore. The requirements for accreditation have changed in recent years, and will continue to change; in particular, the MSCHE now requires much more transparency and accountability. We will need to continue to strengthen the ways in which we can demonstrate our commitment to our students’ learning and to decision-making that is based on the best-available evidence. But we can say now with pride that we excel at what we do, and that we have been recognized publicly for our efforts.

For your information, here is a website link to the MSCHE action.

Once again, I especially want to thank Skidmore’s Middle States Steering Committee, the members of the Working Groups that drafted the self-study, and all of you who participated in the reaccreditation process and made it so successful. Most importantly, I thank you for all that you continue to do, day in and day out, that makes Skidmore the extraordinary college that it is.

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Orlando tragedy
Jun 13 2016
Today, I know I join others in our Skidmore community who are still reeling from the incomprehensible tragedy in Orlando, Florida over the weekend. We have lowered our flags in honor of the lives los...

Orlando tragedy

Flag flying in Porter Plaza

Today, I know I join others in our Skidmore community who are still reeling from the incomprehensible tragedy in Orlando, Florida over the weekend.  We have lowered our flags in honor of the lives lost and in solidarity with the families and loved ones who are mourning.  We have also placed a rainbow LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/and or questioning) flag prominently outside Case Center in Porter Plaza to acknowledge the loss, especially within our gay community. 

For those on campus who would like to gather for a time of remembrance, we will hold a brief memorial at 4:15 p.m. today at Porter Plaza.  For anyone who needs support, Counseling Services may be reached at 518-580-5555.  As a reminder, all employees may utilize the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which may be reached at 518-793-9768.

Let me share two reflections:

From Skidmore's Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Parker Diggory: "In addition to the staggering loss of life, I keep coming back to the knowledge that a kind of sanctuary was violated in this attack and that the LGBTQ community, particularly those of color, are experiencing loss and fear on a devastating scale.  In the swirl of narratives and grief that will continue to emerge from this event, I hope each of us takes the time we need to reach out to our people in whatever way is right for us, and to acknowledge the grief and anger as well as the need for community."

From former Skidmore American Studies Fellow Richard Kim writing in The Nation: "Gay bars are therapy for people who can't afford therapy; temples for people who lost their religion, or whose religion lost them; vacations for people who can't go on vacation; homes for folk without families; sanctuaries against aggression."

Sadly, it was almost exactly a year ago that I reached out to you about the horrible murders at the A.M.E. church in Charleston, South Carolina.  In the meantime, we have seen other such tragedies around the world, and I know that we all mourn for those who have experienced great loss.  It brings home to all of us our charge here at Skidmore: to educate future leaders to work for a time when we see a diminishing number of such actions that are driven by hatred and fear to be replaced by actions that are driven by love and hope.

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New Dean/VP of Student Affairs
May 18 2016
I write to announce Cerri Annette Banks as our new Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs, effective August 1, 2016. Cerri currently serves as Vice President for Student Affairs and D...

 

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

Cerri Banks

I write to announce Cerri Annette Banks as our new Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs, effective August 1, 2016. Cerri currently serves as Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of the College at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

I am truly thrilled to welcome Cerri Banks to our community. She brings an extraordinary level of experience in the increasingly complex world of student affairs. Cerri is uniquely qualified to lead a division that oversees every facet of our students' lives outside of the classroom. Her background and insights will be invaluable in the President’s Cabinet and across our campus.

Here at Skidmore, Cerri will oversee 134 employees and five offices within Student Affairs, including athletics, campus life, career development, student diversity programs, and student academic services.

She replaces Interim Dean and Vice President Gail Cummings-Danson, who held the role for the past academic year after the departure of former Dean and Vice President W. Rochelle Calhoun for a vice presidency at Princeton University. Gail will return to her previous role as Skidmore's athletics director in the fall. I want to thank Gail for her extraordinary service stepping up to the interim role while also maintaining her duties as A.D.  During this past year, she has helped us deal with a number of daunting challenges, and she has done so with intelligence, wisdom, and grace.

Cerri has held the Mount Holyoke position since July 2011. She oversaw a staff of 70 and a $5.4 million annual budget; in addition, she served on the President's Cabinet, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, the Academic Priorities Committee, and numerous other high-level boards.  

Previously, Cerri was Dean of William Smith College in Geneva, N.Y., after serving there as a faculty member, interim dean, and director of the President's Commission on Inclusive Excellence.

She received B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Syracuse University between 1997 and 2006, where her areas of study included cultural foundations of education. A scholar of multiculturalism and diversity in education, she has written two books and produced scores of articles, book chapters, and presentations on culturally relevant teaching and learning and other subjects.

Active in key higher-education organizations over the course of her career, Banks has won a wide array of honors, awards, and scholarships. A graduate of Monroe Community College before transferring to Syracuse, she was inducted into Monroe’s Hall of Fame. 

I want to express my deep gratitude to a very strong search committee that included Mary Lou Bates, Gail Cummings-Danson, Corey Freeman-Gallant, David Howson, Terri Mariani, Tashawn Reagon '16, Natalie Taylor (vice chair), Charles Tetelman '16, and Joshua Woodfork (chair). And many thanks to all the students, faculty, and staff members who interacted with our finalists and offered insightful feedback. I also want to compliment our search partners Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates who ably assisted us and provided us with a remarkable pool of talented candidates.

Cerri is excited to join our community, meet more of our students, and collaborate with partners across the campus.  Please join me in welcoming our new colleague.

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May 9 2016
After discussion with President's Cabinet and various campus constituencies, I am pleased to announce extended winter holiday breaks over the next three years for non-union employees.

Future winter breaks

May 6, 2016

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

After discussions with the President’s Cabinet, within College divisions, and with the Staff Advisory Group, I am pleased to announce extended winter holiday breaks over the coming three years for non-union employees. Union employees, whose holidays are guided by their bargaining unit agreements, are encouraged to use vacation days, other paid leave, or unpaid leave (in that order) for those days that are not contractually scheduled holidays.

The College will be closed during these winter breaks, but as you are well aware the presence of certain employees will be vital to their department’s functioning at these times. Please note that with temperatures in certain buildings reduced significantly, some employees who work during the closures may be re-assigned temporarily to other buildings.

For the next three years, Skidmore’s winter closures (including the weekend days that fall adjacent to or during the closed periods) will each consist of 14 consecutive days, as follows:

  • 2016: College closes beginning Monday, December 26, 2016, and reopens on Monday, January 9, 2017   
  • 2017: College closes beginning Thursday, December 21, 2017, and reopens on Thursday, January 4, 2018  
  •  2018: College closes beginning Monday, December 24, 2018, and reopens on Monday, January 7, 2019

A list of all employee holidays is available here

If you have any questions, I encourage you to speak with your supervisor or to contact any member of the Human Resources team. 

 

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Former Skidmore President Passes Away
Mar 26 2016
I write today to share the very sad news that David H. Porter, fifth president of Skidmore College, has died.

Former Skidmore President Passes Away

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

David H. Porter

I write today to share the very sad news that David H. Porter, fifth president of Skidmore College, has died. It is especially painful, in this season of renewal, for the Skidmore community to once more confront the loss of a beloved community member and friend. Our thoughts go immediately to David’s wife, Helen, their children, and their grandchildren, as they cope with this loss.

Born in New York City in 1935, David received a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College in 1958 and a doctorate in Classics from Princeton University in 1962. He then traveled to Carleton College where, for the next quarter of a century, he enjoyed a remarkably productive career as a teacher, scholar, and administrator.

David assumed the Skidmore presidency in June 1987. During his twelve-year tenure as president, he greatly enhanced the intellectual life of the campus, helped conceive and plan the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, successfully led the Journey Campaign, which raised nearly $86.5 million (then the largest campaign total in the College’s history), and worked to diversify the College’s student body, faculty, and staff.

David’s intellectual interests and achievements were broad and eclectic. He was a regular contributor of opinion pieces to The New York Times and The Boston Globe. He wrote letters to the editor of The New Yorker. And in addition to penning books on Horace and Greek tragedy as part of his core scholarly activity, he also produced monographs on Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf, the Hogarth Press, and the Austrian pianist and composer, Edward Steuermann. Finally, he and his wife Helen co-authored a book on Lucy Skidmore Scribner.

Music was another great passion for David. He studied piano with Steuermann and harpsichord with the celebrated Gustav Leonhardt, and he regularly performed both on- and off-campus. His presentation "The Well-Tampered Clavier: Play, Musical and Otherwise," was a staple for incoming students both during his presidency and long after.  He presented this performance at a national conference of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and last performed it for first-year Skidmore students this past September in the Arthur Zankel Music Center.

Following his term as president, David returned to the classroom, teaching at his alma mater, Princeton University, as well as Williams College, Indiana University, and Skidmore, where he served as the first Tisch Family Distinguished Professor. He retired from the classroom in 2013, after more than half a century of teaching, but remained an active scholar. His edition of Lucy Gayheart for the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition was published this past August.

David’s continuing contributions to our community were underscored just this past week when he was an honored guest at Skidmore’s annual David H. Porter Classical World Lecture, featuring acclaimed author Barry Strauss, who paid tribute to David’s classics scholarship at the start of his lecture. As was his wont, David spent much of the dinner following that lecture speaking with students, forming a connection with a new generation of scholars and displaying, as always, his undiminished talent for and love of puns and wordplay.

Details about a service will be announced when finalized. For those who may need support, Counseling Services may be reached at 518-580-5555. As a reminder, all employees may utilize the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which may be reached at 518-793-9768. Wilson Chapel is available for those seeking space for reflection.

I ask you to join Marie and me in keeping David’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

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Mar 21 2016
I write to share with you the news that the driver in the devastating crash that took the life of student Michael Hedges and injured students Toby Freeman and Oban Galbraith last October was sentenced...

Legal Update and Campus Support

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

I write to share with you the news that the driver in the devastating crash that took the life of student Michael Hedges and injured students Toby Freeman and Oban Galbraith last October was sentenced in Saratoga County Court this afternoon. Thomas H. Gorman, who pled guilty in February to first-degree vehicular manslaughter and first-degree vehicular assault, both felonies, received the maximum sentence allowable under the law from Judge James Murphy. He specifically sentenced Mr. Gorman to five to 15 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter and two to six years for vehicular assault, to be served concurrently. He will not be eligible for early release.

While no sentence can bring back Michael, I do hope that this court action will bring some measure of closure to the families and friends of the victims. Interim Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs Gail Cummings-Danson and I attended the sentencing hearing, along with a group of students and family members. All of us were tremendously affected by the emotional victim-impact statements given by Toby and Oban, as well as Will Blauvelt and Kitty Horblit, who were with them on that terrible night. We were extremely impressed by the strength and courage these students exhibited in describing their pain.

A touching letter was also read on behalf of Michael Hedges’s mother, Stephanie Mae, who was in attendance along with her son Tom and the parents of Toby and Oban.

The families told us once again how much the College’s outpouring of support has meant to them over these past very difficult months. We are now involved in planning for a campus tree-planting ceremony in memory of Michael Hedges later this spring. We will provide details soon, and all members of the Skidmore community will be invited to attend.

This is a painful time for Skidmore with the death of another student, Will Golden, over the past weekend. Our hearts go out to all of these families and the entire community as we all struggle to comprehend this unbearable loss.

As I mentioned in an email this morning, there will be a gathering Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. in Ladd Concert Hall in the Arthur Zankel Music Center, to honor and remember Will.

Recognizing that this news will affect members of our community in different ways, let me remind you that we are making available a variety of opportunities for support this week.

In addition to its regular services, the Counseling Center will be offering same-day 30-minute consultations with a therapist all week for individuals directly affected by these events. Please call the Center at 518-580-5555 the day you would like to come in.

The Health Promotion Office will be bringing therapy dogs, both large and small, to the Intercultural Center (ICC) in Case Center on Tuesday, March 22, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. 

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life will be available and Wilson Chapel will be open every day this week. There will also be multiple opportunities for reflection, mindfulness, and communion—including yoga and meditation in the Chapel on Tuesday, March 22, from 11 a.m. to noon; Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m.; and Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. Mindfulness moments take place on Tuesday and Thursday in the Chapel at 12:15 p.m. for twenty minutes. And the Chapel offers Zen meditation on Tuesday night from 6:25 to 8 p.m. Please see the chapel schedule here.

Because our ties to others are particularly important in times of loss and stress, our Peer Health Educators will also be hosting an event focusing on healthy relationships, on Thursday, March 24, in the Kisiel Atrium of Murray-Aikins Dining Hall from 5:30 to 7 p.m. 

While our community is being tested by these extraordinarily sad events, I know that we will once again reach out to help each other through these difficult times.

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