Marlboro College & University of Bridgeport Community Announcements

Following the signing of a Letter of Intent, the potential partners address their constituents regarding a proposed merger.

(Read the news release about proposed merger, or learn more from our Q & A.)

Marlboro Community Announcement

Dear students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, community members and friends of Marlboro College,

We are pleased to share news today about the future of Marlboro College and an incredible new opportunity for us. Our Board of Trustees has been forward-thinking and proactive to safeguard the ideology of Marlboro College amidst a radically changing landscape in higher education. Last year, we began the process of “Reimagining Marlboro” in the midst of significant revenue challenges resulting from a rapid and accelerating decline in the number of college-aged students in New England and beyond. The most promising strategy identified by the Marlboro Board of Trustees was to pursue a partnership that could maintain Marlboro’s mission and curricular priorities while creating a financially secure future. Now, after months of considerable thought and effort, we are excited to announce that Marlboro College has signed a Letter of Intent as the first step of plans towards merging with the University of Bridgeport.

This unique partnership aims to maintain Marlboro’s intimate, self-directed liberal arts education within the context of Bridgeport’s STEM focus and extensive professional studies programs. The planned merger would retain Marlboro’s faculty, students, and campus as part of the new Marlboro College of Arts and Sciences within the University of Bridgeport, while significantly increasing educational opportunities for students on both campuses. There are many things to appreciate in a potential Marlboro/UB merger, in particular the way the two institutions together bridge big and small, rural and urban, liberal arts and professional studies, all the while demonstrating an enduring commitment to Marlboro’s educational mission and further solidifying Bridgeport’s long history of excellence in career preparedness and serving first-generation students. Complementing Marlboro’s rural Vermont location, the Bridgeport campus sits on 60 acres of shoreline on Long Island Sound, offering another community and ecosystem for students to explore while also providing opportunities in more than 25 professional fields.

We understand this news will stir varying emotions in our community, as it did for us when we first considered this option. Like many small private liberal arts colleges, Marlboro has experienced significant challenges around enrollment and finances in recent years. We are proud that, to address these issues, Marlboro has been proactive in developing a participatory, transparent, and deliberate process that has led to a solution that provides our students with increased opportunities while retaining the collaborative, close-knit, student-driven education that defines the Marlboro experience. Students, faculty, and staff have all been involved in identifying both the assets we bring to a potential partnership and how we will benefit most. In our search for a complementary institution, we sent out a Request for Partnership Vision to more than 70 colleges and universities and have had dozens of conversations with potential partners over the last several months. After this comprehensive search, we believe we’ve found the right match in UB. Our learning community will benefit from the diverse student body and expanded professional opportunities that come from an urban setting while Bridgeport students will get to experience community life and independent learning among Marlboro’s hills.

Bridgeport President Laura Trombley—who spent 13 years as the president of Pitzer College and two years as president of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens—recognizes what makes Marlboro so special and believes we will add an important dimension to the Bridgeport curriculum. She appreciates our focus on the liberal arts, the opportunities that come with our beautiful rural campus, and Marlboro’s egalitarian approach to governance and study. Our initial agreement with UB demonstrates Laura’s commitment to protecting Marlboro’s campus and academic mission while giving Marlboro students access to the focused disciplinary and professional educational offerings that distinguish UB.

We know there will be questions and concerns about this news. We’ll do our best to respond as completely as possible and keep you informed, but because this process is in its early stages, there are still many details being worked out. Please check Marlboro’s website (www.marlboro.edu) often for future updates, milestones, and next steps. It is our sincere hope that you’ll be as excited as we are for the next chapter in Marlboro’s distinctive history.

We extend our gratitude to members of the Strategic Options Task Force, a group that included trustee, faculty, and student representation, as well as members of Marlboro’s senior administration, whose thoughtful dedication has been essential to this outcome. We genuinely believe this partnership allows the unique educational experience that defines Marlboro College not only to survive but to thrive through a merger with the dynamic, mission-driven University of Bridgeport.

With warmest summer regards from Potash Hill,

Sincerely,


Kevin F. F. Quigley, President

Richard H. Saudek, Chair of the Board of Trustees

 

University of Bridgeport Community Announcement

Dear Campus Community,

I am pleased to share exciting news with you regarding the future of the University of Bridgeport.

This week, the University of Bridgeport and Marlboro College (Marlboro, VT) signed a letter of intent to merge that will draw on the strengths of both institutions to create an expanded university with deeper connections between professional programs and the liberal arts. Experiencing the same challenges as liberal arts colleges throughout the Northeast, Marlboro began the process of seeking a strategic partnership last year. The College ranks among the best Northeastern Colleges by the Princeton Review and is located less than two hours north of Bridgeport.

The University of Bridgeport has always been integrative and innovative. Founded as the first junior college in Connecticut, the University grew to house the Fones School of Dental Hygiene, the Bridgeport School of Engineering, and Arnold College of Education. We partnered with the Peace Corps to found New England’s first Peace Corps Preparatory Program, and, most recently, embraced the teaching program at Bridgeport Hospital. We have grown through forward thinking and entrepreneurship. This tradition continues with Marlboro’s integration into the fabric of our University in the months ahead.

Given UB’s and Marlboro’s mutual goal of preparing students for lives of purpose and meaningful work, experiences will be offered for students from both campuses that expose and encourage their participation in different curricula, governance structures, and communities. We also anticipate faculty exchanges and the addition of new learning communities. It also links two historic institutions with legacies of excellence, innovation, and boldness, with beautiful, complementary campuses in the Green Mountains of Vermont and on Long Island Sound. Marlboro College’s rural setting will facilitate greater access to outdoor facilities including an organic farm and 18 miles of cross-country trails. Additionally, the internationally renowned Marlboro Music Festival is held on their campus grounds annually. These beautiful spaces provide an intellectually and culturally rich venue in which we may develop a blended curriculum and partnered courses.

This is a momentous occasion in the University’s history. There is a long road ahead, and we are excited for the possibilities afforded to our students and community through the merger. I look forward to seeing you on Friday to share more information with you. To learn more about Marlboro College, visit marlboro.edu.

Sincerely yours,

Laura Skandera Trombley

President

Detours

(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)