From the President

From the President

The campus connection

Image of Mariko Silver

Coffee at the Brown Cow Café (run by alumna Amy Blomquist Buckley ’83— for more, see page 12). The exhibitions at MASS MoCA (especially when they include the work of Bennington faculty members, like Mary Lum’s Assembly (Lorem Ipsum)—see page 27). The Bennington Farmers’ Market. The trails between the Frost House and Lake Paran. These are just a few of the things that have become staples in my and my family’s life. 

Having lived in New York City, Bangkok, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and DC, friends always ask me how we’ve settled into life in Vermont. Then they come to visit, and they want to move here too. They find what I found, of course, richness beyond my imagining—surrounded by green spaces instead of Beltway traffic. 

Every year, we build an incoming class of students, most of whom visit for a day or maybe two before deciding to spend four years here. (Some, as you’ll see in this issue, stay much longer.) We attract top-level faculty through national searches; they look at the job and the work, but also at the place they will be making a life.

The College’s connections to the town, are, of course, in our DNA. Town leaders were among our founders; support from members of the local community was instrumental in getting the College off the ground.  

Nurturing the relationships between Bennington College, the Town of Bennington, and the Village of North Bennington is a priority of mine. I’ve been thrilled to see—thanks to the creativity and hard work of the faculty, students, staff, and their off-campus partners—those ties deepening and expanding. 

Bennington was also founded to be at the cutting edge of higher education. One aspect of this vision has always been that Bennington would more fully recognize the learning that happens outside the classroom, including through volunteer and paid work within our local community. These can be valuable aspects of students’ education.

But this is a symbiotic relationship. When the region was rocked by the discovery of the chemical PFOA in local wells, the College brought its full resources—intellectual and more—to bear to help respond to the situation, as you’ll read. We are thrilled to join other local institutions in partnership on the Putnam project to revitalize downtown. The College also hosts hundreds of talks, readings and performances—all free and open to the public.  

This issue reflects only a small sampling of the impacts the College has had on the town, and vice versa. I encourage you to ask around, learn more, create more, and come see for yourself.

I’ll see you at the farmers’ market.



Mariko Silver