December 1, 2003
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Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Named Marlboro College President
Marlboro, VT - Marlboro College today named Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, a leader in the arts, education and public policy in Washington D.C. and Vermont, to be its eighth president. A 1969 graduate of Bennington College, McCulloch-Lovell served as executive director of the Vermont Council on the Arts from 1975 to 1983, during which time she co-created the Governors Institutes, a program that gives high school students the opportunity to work with artists, scientists and international experts in summer institutes.
For the past 20 years, McCulloch-Lovell has worked in Washington, first as chief of staff to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), followed by seven years in the Clinton Administration. She was first appointed by the President to be executive director of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, then became deputy chief of staff to the First Lady and ultimately deputy assistant to the President and advisor to the First Lady on the Millennium Project. In her role on the Millennium project, she spearheaded remarkable campaigns in historic preservation and educational, cultural and environmental programs.
McCulloch-Lovell now heads the Center for Arts and Culture, a small think tank that works to inform and improve decisions that shape cultural life in the United States. She is also the director of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, a program created by Congress to collect first-hand accounts of war veterans from the two World Wars and the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars.
The news of McCulloch-Lovell's appointment is being greeted enthusiastically on campus. "Marlboro couldn't be more fortunate," said Rod Gander, Marlboro's interim president who led the college for 15 years in the 1980s and '90s. "With her links to Vermont, her wealth of administrative experience, her demonstrated interest in culture, the arts and the creative process, Ellen is the perfect choice to take the college the exciting next step of the way."
With her background at the Vermont Council on the Arts, McCulloch-Lovell has long been familiar with Marlboro College, but she said her interest in becoming a part of the place ignited with her campus visit during the presidential search process. "The seriousness of the teaching, the seriousness of the learning as exemplified through the Plan of Concentration and the studies that come out of it; I just thought that was fabulous," she said. "When I then got to Marlboro I heard people talking so seriously and earnestly about community, that I realized it was possible; that this is a community of learners."
Congratulations for Marlboro College and McCulloch-Lovell have arrived from many quarters, including former employers. "The appointment of Ellen McCulloch-Lovell as president of Marlboro College could not be a better one; I know well Ellen's many qualities as a leader," said Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). "Her love for her home state of Vermont, her success at citizen action and fundraising, and her vast knowledge of federal and state government will be invaluable."
Senator Leahy added, "Marlboro College is lucky to get Ellen back to Vermont. The Marlboro community will soon see that she is a talented, hard-working visionary whose love of learning and higher education is only matched by her love of Vermont."
Former State Senator Robert Gannett (R-Windham), worked with McCulloch-Lovell when he was chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and she headed the Vermont Council on the Arts. "This is great news—not only for Marlboro College but for the whole state of Vermont," he said. "Ellen returns to Vermont with an established knowledge of the state and a long-time working relationship with individuals and organizations involved in higher education."
McCulloch-Lovell's selection is the culmination of six months of intense effort by a search committee as representative of the college community as it was effective. Students, faculty and staff all elected representatives to join a half-dozen trustees in the search. Of the six trustees, four are alumni, one is the parent of a current students and one is a former Marlboro administrator. T. Hunter Wilson, a search committee member who teaches writing and literature at Marlboro, knows McCulloch-Lovell from her years at the Vermont Council on the Arts. "Ellen’s humane intelligence will help inspire all of us at Marlboro to demand more of ourselves and always to expect the best of each other," he said. "She will bring a fierce idealism about what liberal education means and about how it develops democratic values and service and therefore deserves the respect and support of a free society. Her appointment as president of Marlboro is tremendously exciting."
McCulloch-Lovell will begin her new duties in April, 2004, and plans to visit campus regularly in the coming months. She is married to Christopher Lovell, a professor at Old Dominion University in Virginia. They have a son, Evan, who lives with his wife, Kristi, in San Francisco.
Marlboro College is a private, independent, liberal arts college of 330 students in southeastern Vermont. Marlboro students enjoy small classes, an 8:1 student-faculty ratio and the freedom to develop their own courses of study while working closely with faculty advisors. Much is expected of Marlboro students in campus life as well as academic life; many campus decisions are made at monthly Town Meetings by students, faculty and staff, and students serve on committees that determine faculty hires, recommend curriculum changes and discipline community members. A just-completed capital campaign raised over $31 million for Marlboro's academic programs, the construction of new buildings and endowment.