On Friday, the Senate Education Committee welcomed Mike Smith. Chairman Campion thanked him for coming in person to talk to the Committee. Smith was born in Rutland County, went to high school in Woodstock, and then pursued military service right after high school. When he came out of the service he went to UVM for a graduate degree. Most of his career was spent as CEO of several companies and held a number of positions within state government.
He has been at Vermont State University (as interim President) for three weeks and has visited all the campuses. He has already reversed several decision, including the library cuts and a three year hold in athletics conference decisions. He believes those decisions need to come from within the student/teacher body.
Smith has read "all of the reports and the book." He was excited to be there, but hasn't "gotten through it all yet." However, he shared that he came out of retirement because he felt he could help, noting that with the "distractions" out of the way they can focus on the transition. He emphasized that they need a structure and a path to follow.
Campion asked what they needed before July 1st (when the University is officially supposed to launch). Smith responded that they are getting some structures in place, like faculty governance units. The biggest priority, however, is making sure that academics are "in line" for the launch.
In wrapping up, it was noted that the search for new President hadn’t started yet, but would soon.