On September 27, 2023

David Bergh named interim president  at Vermont State University

 

David G Bergh, EdD will take the helm of Vermont State University (VTSU) as the next interim president following the planned departure of current chief executive Michael Smith. The Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Colleges System announced Dr Bergh’s appointment Friday, Sept. 22, following a special meeting.

Dr. Bergh will lead Vermont State University as interim president, building on the transformative work done by his predecessors to unify Vermont State University and increase the availability of affordable, accessible, high-quality, and relevant public higher education across Vermont. Dr. Bergh brings over 25 years of higher education experience to this role, including nearly 20 years of experience from within the Vermont State Colleges System. 

On July 1, 2023, Castleton University, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College joined to become Vermont State University, serving students on five campuses and multiple learning sites across the Green Mountains and beyond, as well as online. 

This is the second big announcement to come from the Vermont State Colleges System. On Monday, trustees announced that Chancellor Sophie Zdatny would leave her position at the end of this year. Interim VTSU Smith was only scheduled to serve six months in any case. His term will conclude the end of October.

Within the Vermont State Colleges System, Dr Bergh held several student-facing roles, including Dean of Student Life and College Relations, Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, and Director of Student Activities at the former Johnson State College (now part of Vermont State University). 

In his role as Dean of Student Life and College Relations, he led the cross-institution student affairs council, cultivating relationships with his peers across the system. He was also widely recognized for establishing a career and internship center at Johnson, advancing the college’s diversity and inclusion efforts, obtaining external recognition of Johnson as LGBTQ-friendly, and establishing both a dedicated veteran’s center as well as coordinated services for military-connected students.

Additionally, Dr. Bergh served in several community roles during his time at Johnson, including as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Lamoille County Planning Commission, on the Board of Directors of the Northern Vermont Economic Development District, President of the Board of Laraway Youth & Family Services, and in several roles within the town of Johnson, including on the Planning Commission.

Most recently, he held leadership roles for eight years as Vice President for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, Executive Vice President, and then President at Cazenovia College, a former independent college in New York State. It closed last June. 

At Cazenovia, Dr. Bergh served as President of the Cazenovia Area Community Development Association, Co-Facilitator of the Steering Committee for Cazenovia Welcomes Refugees, on the Board of Directors of the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce, and on the Cazenovia Central Schools Strategic Planning Task Force, among other roles.

Dr. Bergh has a B.A. in Political Science from Allegheny College, an M.P.A. from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University of Albany, State University of New York, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Vermont.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Bergh back to the Vermont State Colleges System at this exciting moment in our history,” said Sophie Zdatny, Chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges System. “Dr. Bergh understands rural higher education and brings a true passion for advancing the needs of students to his work. He has a strong connection to Vermont’s rural communities and their unique needs, and a track record of engagement, community service and relationship-building. Dr. Bergh will thoughtfully carry forward the transformation and optimization work already underway to usher Vermont State University through its next phase. We are eager to welcome Dr. Bergh home to Vermont.”

Dr. David Bergh added, “I am incredibly impressed with the students, faculty, staff, and leaders of Vermont State University and throughout the Vermont State Colleges system. The transformation planning and the modernization work done over the last few years is truly remarkable. I believe that this work paves the way for growth and viability at our campuses and will be a national model to build on. I am excited to reconnect with old friends and forge new connections across all our campuses and learning locations as I begin this work. I am honored to be selected as the interim President of Vermont State University and look forward to the work ahead because I know the future of Vermont State University is bright.”

“Dr. Bergh is an exceptional leader charged with leading Vermont State University through the next chapter of transformation, ultimately resulting in increased student access, continued modernization and improvement across all levels of the organization, and ensuring the institution’s financial stability,” noted Lynn Dickinson, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Colleges system. “We are incredibly grateful to interim President Mike Smith for his tireless work these last six months. Interim President Smith has laid the groundwork for a successful next phase, and we look forward to working with Dr. Bergh as he takes the helm later this year.”

The VSU President will exercise broad responsibilities for all aspects of the academic, student, financial, and development dimensions of the university. The President will report to the Chancellor of VSU and work closely with the Board of Trustees and with VSU’s sister institution, Community College of Vermont. For more info visit: VermontState.edu.

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