October 25, 2012
TO: The Bennington College Community
FROM: Alan Kornberg '74, Chair of the Board of Trustees
This is an exciting time for Bennington College as we begin the search for our first new president in twenty-five years. It is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the state of Bennington and our goals for its future as we embark on the process of selecting the person who will lead the College during the next chapter of its history. I am pleased to provide you with an update on the search that is now underway.
The Board of Trustees has appointed a search committee composed of alumni, faculty, and trustees. Susan Paris Borden ’69, Suzanne Brundage ’08, Barbara Ushkow Deane ’51, Michael Hecht, Lea Hershkowitz ’11, Robert Ransick, Susan Sgorbati ’72, MFA ’86, James Simon ’97, Deborah Wadsworth, and I serve on the committee. Our committee is being assisted by Phillips Oppenheim, a highly regarded search firm that specializes in working with not-for-profit and cultural institutions. Jane Phillips Donaldson and Sarah James are our principal contacts at Phillips Oppenheim, and Jane knows the College particularly well, having served as a trustee from 2006 to 2010.
One of the first priorities of the committee is to seek guidance and input from the many constituencies who have a stake in Bennington’s future. Members of the search committee and Phillips Oppenheim were on campus earlier this week, on October 23 and 24, for one-on-one and group discussions with faculty, staff, and students. In November and early December we will host a series of focused conversations with alumni, parents, and friends in cities across the country. While we cannot hear from every constituent in person, we invite you to share your thoughts about the College and its unique position within the landscape of higher education, what Bennington’s priorities should be for the future, and the qualities a new president should possess. You can find feedback and nomination forms online. All nominations will be kept confidential and given serious consideration.
The feedback collected this fall will help shape the position description for the new president and inform our thinking as we move into the recruitment and preliminary assessment phase of the search process. The search committee hopes to be in a position to consider a short list of vetted candidates during the first quarter of 2013, with a final decision to be made in the spring.
We recognize that many in the Bennington community have a keen interest in the presidential search and in the College’s future. We will provide regular updates via email and on the Bennington College website, doing our best to balance the goal of transparency with the need for confidentiality.
We will not be mailing any further updates until we announce the selection of the new president. If you’d like to receive updates on the search, please share your email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you may check the website for the latest information about the search.