University of Vermont

Board of Trustees


Robert F. Cioffi
Board of Trustees, Chair's Report
May 17, 2013

Good morning everyone, and welcome to our annual graduation week Board of Trustees meeting. This is of course a time for celebrating our graduates and our University. Our graduating students are a most impressive class, and we also have a wonderful group of honorary degree recipients this year, including our speaker, Wynton Marsalis, who is one of the world's greatest musicians, and whose son, Simeon, is graduating on Sunday. This will be a memorable ceremony and I encourage everyone to come if you can!

Continuing on the theme of celebration, I want to celebrate the arrival of our new Trustees at their first official full Board meeting. Welcome to Sarah Buxton, Carolyn Dwyer, Anne O’Brien, Raj Thakrar, and Jeff Wilson. Thanks to all of you for agreeing to serve UVM in this critical role and for giving of your time to our University.

Let us also celebrate the end of the legislative session, and the fact that UVM’s appropriation increased by 3%, allowing us to hold tuition increases to Vermonters to zero. As well, we will be receiving a capital appropriation of $1.4 million per year over the next two years after foregoing our appropriation last year in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene. I am confident that our legislative colleagues are celebrating the completion of the session!

We celebrate a very successful year at UVM on many fronts: record levels of fundraising, numerous scholarly awards given to students and faculty including the awarding of a Truman Scholarship to Nursing major Jeanelle Achee, a UVM junior. She is one of 62 students nationally to win the highly competitive national award, which recognizes and provides resources to those who want to make a difference in public service. Of course, we also continue to celebrate the beauty of our campus, including a handsome new front landscape to the Waterman Building, and the many, many contributions to our success made every day by our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends.

I want to thank and celebrate our University leadership for all they have done to make this such a positive year, in particular Tom Sullivan upon nearing the completion of first year as President and Bob Low who has once again stepped forward to assist our University. And soon we will celebrate the arrival of a new Provost and a new Dean of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

On a personal note, I celebrate the careers of two of my mentors from when I was a student here. Professor Frank Bryan, John G. McCullough Professor of Political Science, is retiring and his powerful intellect, outstanding teaching, and interest in me as a student has always meant a great deal to me. I will quote well-known Conservative Vermonter John McClaughry in describing the Professor: “I am here to testify that Frank Bryan is not an arch political conservative, not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say,” McClaughry said when he introduced Bryan for a speaking engagement in 2006. “He is a backwoods libertarian, populist decentralist, ox team logger, occasional deer jacker, junk car collector, great speaker, and full time Real Vermonter.” We are grateful for Professor Frank Bryan’s time at UVM and wish him all the best as a Professor Emeritus.

Yesterday we celebrated someone who is not a “Real Vermonter,” but is a real leader. Lattie F. Coor was UVM President when I was a Student Trustee, and I had the privilege of speaking at the dedication of the newly-named Lattie F. Coor House on College Street. It was a real treat to have Lattie back on campus for this well-deserved honor. Although he is a child of Arizona, he is a treasure to all of us and I am thrilled that his legacy will live on thru the naming of this building.

And finally, I wish to report that I attended another celebration last week: The Rally Awards. Held downtown at the beautiful Flynn Theater, this event celebrates the accomplishments of our student-athletes – an incredible group of young people. It was a great night. And a highlight of the evening was an outstanding short film, made possible largely through the efforts of two of our students: Gretchen Powers, a Senior and member of the UVM Club Varsity Crew Team, and Kaleigh Wood a member of the UVM Cross Country Team and a graduating Senior. I would like to end my remarks by sharing this video with you.

Every time I watch this video, it just keeps getting better. Gretchen and Kaleigh, may I ask you to please stand. On behalf of the Board, and UVM, we thank you.

Last modified September 21 2013 06:48 AM