On January 10, 2024

Norwich University president out, calls decision ‘mutual’

 

By Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Col. Mark Anarumo leaves post as president of Norwich.

 

By Ethan Weinstein/VTDigger

The president of Norwich University said he is departing the military school over three years on the job.

Mark Anarumo said Friday, Jan. 5, that he was leaving by “mutual” decision. Provost and Dean of the Faculty Karen Gaines will serve as acting president, according to Anarumo and an email that Gaines sent to members of the school community, which was obtained by VTDigger and confirmed by a person who works at the school.

“President Anarumo is on leave and may not return to work. … We cannot discuss the specifics of the President’s leave,” Gaines wrote in the email, describing personnel matters as confidential. “We will provide information on an as needed basis.”

Norwich University officials did not immediately respond to questions on Friday.

Anarumo said he had been placed on paid administrative leave in order to provide continuity to the school and give him time to prepare for a move out of state. He said he hopes to finalize the details of his departure with the school next week.

Anarumo became Norwich’s president in June 2020, replacing longtime president Richard Schneider, who served in the role for nearly three decades. He is a major general who served in the U.S. Air Force and received a Ph.D. in “terrorism and political violence” from Rutgers University, according to his biography.

Norwich, in the central Vermont town of Northfield, is the nation’s oldest private military college. Anarumo earned over $364,300 a year as its president, according to the most recently available tax filings from the university, plus just over $100,000 in additional benefits. 

At the time of his hiring, Anarumo said he wanted “to position Norwich so that it competes very favorably at a national level.”

Declining birth rates have made it more difficult for small and less-selective colleges to recruit students, an issue that has hit higher education in Vermont particularly hard.

Asked about the reasons for his departure, including whether it was prompted by any particular incident, Anarumo said it was not. He suggested that some of those demographic pressures had affected his time at Norwich.

“There’s always challenges with running a school, particularly a small school in New England,” he said.

He also told VTDigger that he and his family “decided it was time to go for various reasons.”

“Trying to ensure the school thrives upon my departure is the top priority,” he said, adding that the school and its leadership have his “full support and admiration.” He said he planned to release a statement to the Norwich community soon.

Asked about future plans, Anarumo said he did not have an immediate job lined up, nor did he plan to seek work immediately and would instead spend time with family.

“I started this job while I was still on active duty,” he said. “My children reminded me that I haven’t had a day off in 30 years.”

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