Inaugural Countdown

November 18th marks the inauguration of Dr. Karen Gross as SVC's 8th President. We hope you can join us on this date as we celebrate her appointment and the College's 80th anniversary.

Visit this page daily to learn more about the Inaugural events and related activities. Learn about opportunities for students and alumni/ae involvement in this important moment in SVC history. See the inauguration section for more information.

Day 8:
President Gross attended the annual meeting of AVIC (Association of Vermont Independent Colleges) and VHEC (Vermont Higher Education Council). They handed out fortune cookies -- designed for college presidents. Hers was: "Your institution will be named on Oprah Winfrey." Not as far fatched as one might imagine!

Day 9:
You can now respond online to the piece that appeared in Inside Higher Ed and list the five books you would choose to cite in your inaugural address. Visit the site and enjoy the lists of interesting books that appear.

Day 10:
We are working on the list of those marching in the academic processional. Colleges represented include Columbia, Barnard, New York Law School, Marlboro, Williams and State University of New York.

Day 11:
President Gross authors "Making Inauguration Meaningful" in Inside Higher Ed

Day 12:
In a Campus Perspectives interview on WBTN, President Karen Gross outlined her vision for Southern Vermont College and its relationship with the greater Bennington Community. You can listen to the broadcast on this Web site.

Day 13:
WAMC Northeast Public Radio Chairman and CEO Alan Chartock has invited President Karen Gross for an hour-long interview and discussion of higher education issues. The program will be pretaped and broadcast at 1 p.m., November 30, on 90.3 FM and its affiliates throughout New England and New York.

Day 14:
In an additional musical interlude, faculty member and artists-in-residence Ida Faiella and Barry Finclair will perform Canis Major for soprano and violin, music by Allen Shawn, Poetry by Robert Frost.

Day 15:
A Choral Ensemble of 24 students, faculty and staff will perform Professor Randy Krum's composition In the Quiet of the Morning directed and accompanied by Professor Krum on piano.

Day 16:
Musical accompaniment to the Inauguration's processional and recessional will be performed by student Joshua Loeffler on trumpet. The Processional is Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke. The Recessional is Prélude to Te Deum laudamus by Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

Day 17:
Why is Southern Vermont College relevant to people of Bennington? How can SVC extend its participation in the cultural, intellectual and economic life of the greater Bennington community? Tune in to Campus Perpectives, this Thursday at 12:30 p.m. on WBTN 1370, to hear President Karen Gross discuss these and other issues.

Day 18:
The Presidents' Roundtable on Nov. 18th at 9:00 a.m. will focus on "Education in the 21st Century" and will feature our own President Karen Gross and Presidents Elizabeth Coleman (Bennington College), Mildred Garcia (Berkeley College), and Frank Macchiarola (St. Francis College).

Day 19:
President Gross wants as many students, faculty and staff as possible to attend the inauguration. Please join us for this special day.

Day 20:
Want to help with the inauguration? Let Karen Trubitt know! We already have a couple of students helping (and a special intern).

Day 21:
If you have questions about the inauguration and who will be attending, you can always ask Marion Whiteford, Sue Lamontagne or Karen Trubitt. It's a growing list.

Day 22:
President Gross hopes that other colleges will use the idea of a book event -- remember, imitation is the best form of flattery.

Day 23:
The list of people attending the inauguration is growing. Make sure you add your name to the list of those attending.

Day 24:
Now that the invitations are out, please make sure you RSVP online or by phone to indicate whether you are coming to the Inaugural event. We especially hope students, staff, faculty, alums and members of the community will join us for this special event to celebrate SVC.

Day 25:
President Gross will be appearing on WBTN to address the selected five books she is citing in her Inauguaral address. The names of the five books appear on the back of the inaugural invitation. Keep an ear out so you can listen to her being interviewed by WBTN radio personality Rich Ryder on his morning show.

Day 26:
The five books that President Gross will cite in her inaugural address are on display in the SVC library. The books are also in the President's Office and in other locations across campus. Try to find a few minutes to locate and peruse them. These books are also displayed in local libraries and bookstores.

Day 27:
WBTN will be holding a contest where listeners are asked: If you were named a college president, what five books would you cite in your inaugural address? Winners, determined by members of the SVC community, will receive a catered lunch with the President in her office and whichever of the five books he/she chooses.

Day 28:
Inside Higher Ed, an online educational publication, will be running an essay by President Gross detailing why she picked the five books that she did for her inaugural address. Other college presidents have been ask to provide their lists and reasons, and Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, President of Marlboro College, is among the presidents who will be responding.

Day 29:
Look for the piece written by President Gross and appearing in Inside Higher Education soon. It can be found at Readers of this online publication can respond (like a blog) -- so feel free to add your comments online. It is a fun way to engage in this discussion of books and to see your name and the SVC name in print.

Day 30:
The inauugural invitation itself has gotten a lot of attention -- it looks like a book (front cover, back cover, inside pages) and is consistent with President Gross' "book" theme. To create the invitation, a mock book was actually created. Look on the back of the invitation, and you can actually see the words "Southern Vermont College" on the spine.

Day 31:
Bennington College President Elizabeth Coleman had agreed to pick the five books she would cite in an inaugural address, and she and President Gross will share and discuss their lists on WBTN in November. Watch for the date of this program and then listen to two sitting college presidents from the same town talk about books and education. It promises to be a wonderful discussion.

Day 32:
President Gross has several other book projects in mind -- one is another contest to run next year (worth thinking about and talking about already). It might be: If you were to give someone a book, what book would it be?

Day 33:
At the Inauguration, a choral group, comprised of faculty, staff and students, will sing a song composed by Professor Randy Krum titled "In the Quiet of the Morning." They practice on Friday afternoons in the Auditorium. Stick your head in and listen.

Day 34:
Various dignitaries are arriving on campus for the Inauguration and some may need to be picked up at the Albany airport and transported to Bennington. Director of Security Ethan Kipnes is working on this project with Dean Solomon. Students interested in helping with the Inauguration should contact them or Karen Trubitt, who is overseeing the whole event.

Day 35:
SVC food services director Kelli Cressy-Gassaway has some clever ideas planned for the Inaugural reception -- ideas that tie into the event's book theme. As always, the food promises to be excellent. So, one reason to attend the event, among others, is the food!

Day 36:
President Gross' inaugural address will also reference the fact that she is the college's 8th President, that this is the College's 80th year in existence, and that the inaugural event is occurring 80 days after Fall 2006 classes began. Wonder if she will have anything to say about the symbolism of the number 8 and the ways the number 8 is used in art and literature? Ask her research assistant, Garrett Vogel, if he knows the answers to those questions.

Day 37:
The president's inaugural address will appear on the college's website -- both in hard copy and podcast. It will join two other presidential speeches that already appear on the website -- the Orientation Speech and the Convocation Speech. If you were not at these previous events, you can listen to or read these speeches here on this site.

Day 38:
Did anyone notice that the headless man was no longer at the top of Mansion Road? He is now replaced by a nice (non-religious) urn -- which will hopefully grow moss or be filled with flowers during different seasons.

Day 39:
With the many guests coming to campus on November 18th, we will be conducting tours of the Mansion -- and referencing its rich history. As to may know, the Alum magazine, called the Chronicle, just ran a wonderful article with nice photos on SVC's 80-year history. You can find the Chronicle on campus or you can get a copy from Erin McEnaney, the Director of Alumni Relations.

Day 40:
All dignitaries coming to campus for the Inauguration will receive, in their hotel room, an SVC bear and a personalized note from President Gross. SVC bears will be traveling far and wide after the event, as guests are coming from everywhere from California to Maine.

Day 41:
There is plenty of music as part of the inaugural event. Professor Randy Krum is overseeing the musical events and has arranged for the inaugural day to end with a chamber concert in the Gallery, which will be open to the public. The concert is being organized by L'Ensemble and directed by Ida Faiella. Please sign up if you want to attend the concert. Ms. Faiella will also sing at the inauguration.

Day 42:
There are real traditions with respect to academic regalia. Guess what colors will appear in President's Gross inaugural robe! Will she wear the SVC colors, the colors of her highest degree (law), or the colors of her alma mater? Ask Sue Lamontagne or Donna Pilling if you want a hint. They know the answer to this question.

Day 43:
Some of the inaugural events are taking place at the Bennington Center for the Arts. The two exhibits that will be showing at that time are Impressions of New England and the Society of Animal Artists Annual Exhibition. So, in addition to participating in the inauguration, those in attendance can see wonderful art.

Day 44:
The inaugural event itself will take place in the theatre used by the Oldcastle Theatre Company. The theatre has terrific seating and excellent acoustics. So, if you have not been there before to see a play, this is an opportunity to see this wonderful space.

Day 45:
The inaugural web site will soon include a more detailed description of our schedule of events for November 18, including an rsvp section, directions to the Bennington Center for the Arts and a list of area accommodations for out-of-town guests. Please check back next week for these online resources.

Day 46:
President Gross recently lectured at Hull University in London, where she additionally met with University representatives to discuss exchange programs for students and faculty.

Day 47:
SVC Women’s Volleyball is at .500, with a 6-6 record as of mid season. The team wraps up their efforts in late October, so we hope all members of the team will be present for the Inauguration on November 18.

Day 48:
Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, a seminal linkage of education to social change, is one of the five books President Gross will cite in her inaugural address. Says Herbert Kohl in The Nation “Wherever education is explicitly involved in struggles for equity and justice, Freire’s ideas and his books, especially Pedagogy of the Oppressed, will live on.” Southern Vermont College’s student body of 500 includes many who are the first in their family to attend college - uniquely driven individuals charting a new course for themselves and the future generations of their families.

Day 49:
Southern Vermont College’s Cross Country team will be competing against eight teams September 30 at the Vermont State Championships hosted by St. Michael’s College. SVC competes in NCAA Division III athletics in ten sports, including men’s and women’s Cross Country.

Day 50:
President Gross’ research assistant, Garrett Vogel, recently received the Congressional Award Gold Medal at a ceremony in our nation’s capitol for 400 hours of public service to his community in Virginia.

Day 51:
SVC’s Rugby Team is enjoying its inaugural season as an official sport (rather than club). Just this past Saturday, the varsity men’s rugby team got four 3-point kicking scores and three 2-point conversion kicks from freshman Greg Freeman (Rochester, NY) as the Mountaineers went on to a win in their first varsity action, defeating host Johnson State College 31-3 Saturday.

Day 52:
George Nelson’s book How to See is another book President Gross will reference in her address of November 18. Rob Forbes, founder of Design Within Reach, says of this book “There have always been an abundance of how-to guides in bookstores covering practical, scientific, and spiritual matters. . . . So why is this particular how-to book worth our attention? How to See is not simply about how to appreciate things visually. It is a book about how to recognize and evaluate the things that surround us and how to decode their meaning from visual information. The pursuit of design is not about the way things appear, but rather about the way things have meaning, and how these things add or detract from the human experience."

The extraordinary campus of Southern Vermont College is definitely worth seeing. Please join us on November 18.

Day 53:
Southern Vermont College Professor Randall Krum will write a piece of original music for the Inauguration, to be performed by a chorale of comprised of students, faculty and staff.

Day 54:
Southern Vermont College is located in Bennington, nestled between the Taconic & Green Mountains in the southwestern corner of Vermont. Bennington is just minutes from the Berkshires in Massachusetts and within 45 minutes of the Albany New York area.

Day 55:
The Inaugural Invitation was sent to the printer today! We hope to mail by early October. Keep checking back here for exciting news on our schedule of Inaugural events.

Day 56:
The Inauguration will take place at Bennington Center for the Arts through the generous donation of the space by Bruce Laumeister and Elizabeth Small. We are very grateful for their support. The Bennington Center for the Arts brings world-class fine art, history and theatre to the residents and visitors of Southeastern Vermont. The Center's permanent art collection, sales exhibitions, live theatre by Oldcastle Theatre Company and exhibits within the Covered Bridge Museum are available to visitors throughout the year.

Day 57:
The inauguration of President Karen Gross is November 18, 2006. Have you saved the date?

Day 58:
In 2004, Adam Kahane published Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities. President Gross will reference this insightful book during her inaugural address November 18, reflecting on its value to all readers but of particular relevance to emerging business leaders.

The McCormick Division of Business at Southern Vermont College offers degrees in Business Administration/Management (Bachelor of Science degree), Business Administration/Sports Management (Bachelor of Science degree), and Liberal Arts/Management (Bachelor of Science degree).

Day 59:
Southern Vermont College offers NCAA Division III play in ten sports. The day of the inauguration, our Men’s Basketball Team will be playing at the Williams College Basketball Tournament and our Women’s Basketball Team will be playing at the Vassar College Basketball Tournament.

Day 60:
A roundtable discussion featuring several college presidents will take place Saturday November 18 at 9AM in the Everett Theatre. Education in the 21st century will be the central theme of their discussion. Inaugural speaker President Frank Macchiarola will be one of the presidents featured on our distinguished panel.

Day 61:
The program for the Inauguration will include several musical offerings, including an organ processional and recessional performed by Southern Vermont College Professor Randall Krum. Professor Krum teaches Information Technology courses in the College’s John Merck Division of Science and Technology.

Day 62:
Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, by Atul Gawande, is another book which will be featured in President Gross’ inaugural address. Exploring the Power and Limits of Medicine, Gawande’s book was a National Book Award finalist.

Southern Vermont College’s Division of Nursing serves more than 90 students and 25 students are enrolled in our Radiologic Technology program through The John Merck Division of Science and Technology.

Day 63:
“The familiar train journey to Sydney was unusually trancelike as we traveled away from Coorain for good. My mother and I seemed disconnected from time and space, moving between worlds.” -Jill Ker Conway, The Road from Coorain

The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway will be one of five books featured in President Karen Gross’ inaugural address on November 18. Check back here soon to learn of other books and writers to be featured.

Day 64:
One of President Gross' favorite high school teachers, Sandra Jordan, will be joining us for the Inauguration - all the way from California. Ms. Jordan is the founder and president of Sandra Jordan Wine Country Traditions, an eclectic collection of lifestyle goods reflecting her own wine country lifestyle.

Day 65:
Soprano Ida Faiella will perform a solo on the Inaugural program. Faiella, who has been referred to as “one of the leading sopranos of her generation,” is a principal with L’Ensemble chamber group – 2006-2007 artists in residence at Southern Vermont College. L’Ensemble will present the program “Political and Personal Demons: the Music of Dmitri Shostakovich and Robert Schumann” the evening of November 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gallery of Everett Mansion at Southern Vermont College.

Day 66:
Helene Metzger, Class of 2007, is interning at the College as an event planner this semester. A key focus of her internship will be the inaugural event November 18. Helene, who will graduate this coming spring, has an individualized major in business and communications. Her hometown is Ramsey, New Jersey.

Day 67:
The president of St. Francis College, Dr. Frank J. Macchiarola, will speak at the inaugural event. Dr. Macchiarola was the former Chancellor of the New York City public schools and is a recognized national leader in education. Of his home institution, Dr. Macchiarola writes “The College's strength rests in its ability to be flexible, to respond to students’ intellectual and professional needs.” SVC president Karen Gross sees many similarities between SVC and St. Francis and has great respect for the accomplishments of Dr. Macchiarola.

Day 68:
Garrett Vogel, SVC Class of 2009, is President Gross' research assistant. He will be providing her with information for her Inaugural Address. Garrett is majoring in criminal justice and hopes to attend law school.

Day 69:
A hint on the first book: The author was the President of Smith College and she hailed from Australia. Do you know who she is and the title of her book about her childhood?

Day 70:
President Gross has now picked the five books she will cite in her inaugural address. They will be announced one by one over the next few weeks. Interesting idea to ponder in anticipation: How many of the books will be familiar to you - one, two, three, four, or all five?

Day 71:
We have just learned that foreign universities will be represented in the academic processional. President Gross will wear a presidential robe, identified by the four chevrons on the sleeves, featuring three colors: purple for law and green and white for Southern Vermont College. She is disinclined to wear the accompanying hat, which is officially called a tam.

Day 72:
President Gross will be the College’s 8th President. The College opened its doors in 1926 as Saint Joseph Business School. The first person to hold the title of President was Sister Mary Christine, SSJ, serving from 1953-1966.

Day 73:
The inauguration will include a full academic processional with SVC faculty and many visiting scholars in full academic regalia. The history of academic regalia goes back to the early days of the world's oldest universities. In 1821, a statute required all candidates for doctoral and bachelor degrees of the University of Coimbra (Portugal) to wear gowns. Over a half century later, American colleges and universities adopted a uniform system for academic regalia. Although this regalia has undergone several revisions through the years, it remains essentially the same as when first adopted.

Day 74:
Mark your calendar for November 18. How often do you have the opportunity to attend a presidential inauguration?

Day 75:
Southern Vermont College’s 500 students, hailing from 22 states and 10 foreign countries, are encouraged to attend the inauguration.

Day 76:
Julie Krawczyk, Director of Campus Life, is looking for students interested in participating in the Inauguration. There are many opportunities for student involvement, and participation in this wonderful upcoming event should be fun. We need students who can provide tours for invited guests, perform musically at the event itself or perhaps read a suitable poem or direct dignitaries to their seats. Interested students should contact Julie at

Day 77:
Dr. Gross and Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo will conduct archival research on the first year of the college - 1926. Anyone with any historical information from that year should contact Sarah at Dr. Gross hopes to find something with an '8' in it - being that this is the 80th anniversary, she is the 8th president and her inauguration is on Nov. 18th - which just happens to be 80 days from the first day of classes this semester!

Day 78:
Erin McEnaney, Coordinator of Alumni Relations, is looking for alumni/ae who want to participate in the Inauguration. There are several opportunities for alumni/ae involvement, ranging from adding musical talent to the program to arranging a special alumni/ae table for meeting and greeting the new President. Erin can be reached at

Day 79:
Wally Altes, an SVC trustee and chair of the just completed SVC presidential search committee, has agreed to speak at Dr. Gross' inauguration. Trustee Altes also recently wrote about President Gross' appointment in Inside Higher Ed, an online educational journal.

Day 80:
Dr. Gross will cite five books in her inaugural address November 18 - one book tied to each of the College’s divisions. She has agreed to release the names of her choices prior to the 18th. Keep an eye out for this list - which will be disclosed here. Watch out too for related book contests. What five books you would choose to reference if you were a new college president?