Institutional News

Bennington President Mariko Silver Appointed President and CEO of Henry Luce Foundation

Provost and Dean Isabel Roche to Serve as Interim President

mariko silver

The Henry Luce Foundation (New York, N.Y.) has announced that Dr. Mariko Silver has been appointed as the foundation’s next President and CEO. Dr. Silver will end her tenure as President of Bennington College on July 1, 2019, at which time Dean Isabel Roche will serve as Interim President while the College launches a national search with a Board-appointed committee.

“Leading Bennington is one of the greatest honors and joys of my life,” said Dr. Silver. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with this dedicated faculty, staff, and Board on initiatives that empower students to change the world. Bennington’s future is bright and I am excited for all that is ahead for this trailblazing institution.”

Dr. Silver has served as President of Bennington since 2013. In that time, she has spearheaded the development of a 10-year strategic plan; forged lasting partnerships with some of the world’s premier arts and cultural institutions; overseen a revitalization of the campus, including the iconic Commons building; quadrupled commitments to the endowment since 2013 to $60 million; and guided the establishment of the largest capital campaign in the school’s history, raising more than $90 million to date for the college overall.

“Mariko’s contributions to Bennington College have been innovative, broad, and lasting,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Alan Kornberg. “From the establishment of creative new funding models and partnerships with some of the world’s most impactful organizations, to the record student enrollment we enjoy today, Mariko has raised the profile and the long-term sustainability of the College immeasurably.”

The Board of Trustees is establishing a search committee to conduct a national search for the next Bennington College President. In the meantime, the Board has unanimously selected Isabel Roche to serve as Interim President. Dr. Roche came to Bennington College as a faculty member in 2002. She was appointed Dean of the College in 2011, and Provost and Dean in 2015. A scholar of French literature, Isabel is the author of Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo (published by Purdue University Press in 2006) and has published a number of scholarly articles on the 19th-century novel and French Romanticism. An accomplished scholar, teacher, and administrator, she has played an integral role in nearly every institutional achievement the College has made over the past eight years and will usher Bennington into the next chapter with deep expertise, insight, and continuity.

Notably, Roche has helped launch multiple programs, including Poetry at Bennington, and she has secured multiple multimillion-dollar gifts from major individual and institutional supporters of the College. She also works closely with Senior Vice President Paige Bartels on the College’s partnerships agenda, creating important opportunities for students such as the Lortel Fellowships and the Middlebury College partnership.

Dr. Roche received a BA (magna cum laude) from Bates College and her MA and PhD (honors) from New York University. Her previous teaching positions include The Cooper Union, SUNY Stony Brook, and Williams College.

“I am honored to build on Mariko's contributions and, together with this talented faculty and staff, to advance Bennington's mission of educating tomorrow's world-builders and problem-solvers” said Dr. Roche.

“Isabel comes to this role with the depth of knowledge and experience needed to sustain and expand on the College’s many accomplishments,” said Kornberg. “We are enormously grateful for her leadership.”

Dr. Silver’s last day at Bennington College is July 1, at which time Dr. Roche will assume the role of Interim President. The Board anticipates the selection of a new President within the 2019-2020 academic year.



Downloadable headshot of Isabel Roche