New Interim President Appointed at Vermont State University | Education | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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New Interim President Appointed at Vermont State University


Published September 22, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.

Visitors preparing to tour Vermont State University in Randolph - FILE: BENJAMIN DEFLORIO
  • File: Benjamin DeFlorio
  • Visitors preparing to tour Vermont State University in Randolph

The Vermont State Colleges System has appointed David G. Bergh as interim president of the newly formed Vermont State University. The system's board of trustees announced the decision after a special meeting on Friday.

Bergh, who most recently served as president of Cazenovia College in upstate New York, will replace the university's current interim president, Mike Smith. A veteran of state government, Smith came out of retirement in April to take on the role following a high-profile kerfuffle over a proposal to remove books from the college libraries. Smith, who rescinded the library decision, made clear when he was appointed that he planned to retire, for good, by November.

David G. Bergh - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • David G. Bergh
Bergh is no stranger to Vermont. From 2000 to 2016, he served in various roles in the Vermont State Colleges System, including as dean of student life and college relations at the former Johnson State College, which is now part of Vermont State University. He then moved to Cazenovia College, a small, liberal arts school near Syracuse that closed this spring due to financial problems.

He assumes the role amid a challenging time for the university, which was created in July through a merger of Castleton University, Northern Vermont University and Vermont Technical College. New student enrollment is down 15 percent this year. And Sophie Zdatny, chancellor of the state colleges system, announced last week that she would leave at the end of the year.
Zdatny said in a press release that she was excited to welcome Bergh back to Vermont.

"He has a strong connection to Vermont’s rural communities and their unique needs, and a track record of engagement, community service and relationship-building," Zdatny said. "Dr. Bergh will thoughtfully carry forward the transformation and optimization work already underway to usher Vermont State University through its next phase."

Bergh is expected to serve as interim president until the summer of 2025 in order to give the board time to find a permanent leader.

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