President announces plan to leave College in June 2018

May 26, 2017

Saint Michael’s College President John J. Neuhauser announced plans to leave the College in June of 2018 in a memo to the College community on May 26, 2017.  Named 16th president of the residential liberal arts Catholic College on July 1, 2007, President Neuhauser successfully led the College through the U.S. financial crisis to dramatically improve the College’s academic standing, the student experience, and facilities.

“This is a special place charged with assisting in the formation of those young adults who spend but a few short years with us,” Neuhauser stated in his memo to the College community.  “I know that for each of you this is more than work, it is a vocation with the full commitment that this implies. “

“I appreciate how each of you has contributed to this work these past ten years and I look forward to working together to address the challenges and opportunities that this next year will bring.  We have the ability to be a stronger force in the lives of our students and ultimately in the wider arena of their future selves.  This is the motivation that ultimately sustains us all,” Neuhauser said.

“Having Jack at the helm made all the difference in the world,” said Trustee Joseph P. Garrity ’78, thinking back to Neuhauser’s early years as president. “Jack was the unanimous pick of the Board because of his knowledge of Saint Michael’s (as a former board member), his experience as Academic Vice President and Dean of Boston College, and his firm understanding of the operations and financial side of running a college. Little did we realize how important that was going to be. When the financial crisis of 2008 hit, threatening international companies and colleges alike, Jack was the steady hand we needed.” Garrity served as chair of the presidential search committee in 2007.

“Jack’s unquestionable integrity and deep intelligence are matched by his dedication to improving the quality of the academic experience for all Saint Michael’s College students,” said Mary-Kate McKenna, chair of the Saint Michael’s College Board of Trustees. “He has focused the College on the important goals of improving academic rigor, providing research opportunities for students in their field of study, creating initiatives that better ensure students’ readiness to enter the job market and upgraded campus facilities to support the best possible student experience. His tenure defines what it means to be an outstanding college president.”

Major achievements at Saint Michael’s during the Neuhauser presidency:

Improving the College’s Academic Profile:

  • The College is ranked among the 2017 Top 100 National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News and World Report, in the Princeton Review’s Best 381 Colleges, and among Kiplinger’s list of Best Values in Private Colleges, among others.
  • Funding and student participation in undergraduate research expanded greatly. The College has experienced robust growth in its summer research program that has become a signature piece of many undergraduate experiences.
  • Institutional studies to understand and improve the student experience took a large step forward with the completion of a comprehensive alumni outcomes research project through the Gallup organization. It concluded Saint Michael’s alumni “are far more likely to be thriving in four of five elements of well-being compared with all comparison groups and college graduates nationally…”
  • The College has maintained a consistently high graduation rate, while rates nationally and among the College’s peers have experienced declines. In 2015, the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education wrote positively about the College’s high graduation rate of African, Latin, Asian and Native American (ALANA) students, and how it exceeded that of peer colleges.
  • The College’s NCAA Division II Academic Success Rate has been consistently above 97 percent, ranking in the top four of the 321 Division II colleges and universities.
  • The quality of the incoming class as measured by standardized test scores has continued to improve nearly each year, with 2017 expected to be among the best academic classes in recent memory.
  • In recent years the College has increased its historical deep commitment to and association with the military and veterans, opening an active Office of Student Veteran and Family Services with a full-time coordinator.

Improvements to Campus and Student Experience:

  • New facilities such as the new apartment-style residence hall that opened in 2016 and the Dion Family Student Center and Quad Commons dedicated in 2013 establish the significance of innovative spaces for student interaction that enhance learning. Both buildings leverage the latest in “green” technology and represent some of the most energy-efficient buildings in Vermont.
  • The Pomerleau Alumni Center opened in 2009 to support the College’s strong connections to its graduates, and received a LEED silver certification.
  • In 2015, Personal Counseling and Health Services were integrated in a new Wellness Center to address the complete health concerns for our students.
  • A new MakerSpace was established to provide innovative, hands-on, learning opportunities, such as the first year seminar which introduced the study of physics through robotics to motivate students who previously may have been reluctant to study science.
  • President Neuhauser was committed to celebrating the roots of the College in the long Catholic intellectual tradition and particularly the expression of this tradition in its founding order, The Society of St. Edmund. His support of the Edmundites and their necessary continuing positive imprint on campus culture, his relationship with the Diocese of Burlington, and his strong support for the Edmundite Center for Faith and Culture has been a touchstone of his tenure. A major upgrade of facilities at Saint Anne’s Shrine in Isle LaMotte, administered by the Edmundites, has provided an ideal facility for retreats and is widely used by students, faculty and staff throughout the year.

Administration and Management of the College for the Future

  • President Neuhauser successfully managed the College through the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession.
  • He joined with the presidents of Middlebury and Champlain College in founding the Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium to develop ways to reduce administrative costs and improve services that are common to all three institutions.
  • The commissioning of the Strategic Assessment Task Force led to a candid assessment of the future landscape for small, religiously affiliated, liberal arts colleges in the Northeast in light of demographic, financial, technological and political developments. This led to important initiatives, such as accommodating the College to a changing demographic reality, focusing on how students learn, and to addressing the expectations of families and the labor market. The creation of the Accelerated Summer College, which established an incubator to develop a non-traditional approach to student learning, is an excellent example of this.
  • His concept that institutional size and capacity should follow changes in the size of the market of potential students received considerable attention in a number of media outlets, as the overwhelming dominant belief was that institutions could counter such demographic shifts.
  • The College recently joined in the American Talent Initiative, which brings together a number of the Country’s top colleges and universities to work together to expand access and opportunity for talented low- and moderate-income students.
  • Creation of the Life After College program provides practical experience, research opportunities and meaningful work to all students prior to their graduation.

President Neuhauser’s most enduring legacy will be the importance he placed on students’ academic experiences, particularly developing research, internship and mentorship experiences, which span a significant portion of students’ time at the College.

Trustees Chair McKenna said that a search committee has been formed and a national search will take place with the help of the search firm, AGB Search. Details and timing will be shared with the community in the coming days, stated McKenna.

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