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A Message from President Hill

March 29, 2016

Dear members of the Vassar community,

I am writing today to you – faculty, students, staff, alumnae/i, and parents -- to let you know that I plan to conclude my presidency of Vassar at the end of next academic year, June 30, 2017, with a sabbatical following through the fall semester of 2017. The Board of Trustees will make a more formal public announcement later today, but I wanted to take this opportunity to let our community know in a more personal way of this long-planned transition.

The board and I established this timing when I signed my current contract in 2012. Announcing this now provides adequate time for the search process to be put in place this spring and to proceed smoothly over the next academic year.

We have made significant progress on a number of fronts at Vassar during the past decade, with much more to do to solidify that progress. I am most proud of how the diversity of our student body has grown.  We are a community of many different backgrounds and perspectives. We have, for example, doubled the number of low-income students at Vassar from a decade ago.  Racial diversity has grown significantly, and between 70 and 100 first-generation students have been part of each of our recent first-year classes. I am also pleased that we have been at the forefront of increasing the number of military veterans in our classes through the Posse Veterans Program.  And, of course, I’m very excited by the opportunities that the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences and the Integrated Science Commons create for our current and future students, faculty, and staff, as well as by the other investments we’ve made in our beautiful campus.

I plan to spend the rest of my tenure helping Vassar continue to set the pace of change in access to higher education for diverse communities of highly qualified students, and helping to address some of our continuing challenges on campus.  I value your collaboration and partnership as we go forward.

As I consider my presidency at this wonderful college, I think in terms of the individuals I have had the privilege to know – our amazing students, talented and hard-working faculty and staff, alumnae and alumni accomplished in every field, and dedicated board colleagues. Vassar is a place that has never been afraid to take bold steps, and I believe that we have taken important ones over the past decade. I look forward to the ongoing work that will continue to ensure Vassar’s place as a leader in higher education.

Catharine Hill