DR. JOE BERTOLINO became Lyndon State College’s 15th president on July 1, taking over the reins from interim President Steve Gold. The president is responsible for executive leadership and the operation and management of the College within the policies of the Vermont State Colleges.
Bertolino, 48, comes to LSC after eight years at Queens College, part of the City University of New York system. As vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, he was primarily responsible for supervising 22 departments and over 200 employees. Under Bertolino’s leadership, a new residential life program, Veteran’s Services and Career Center, and a Health and Wellness Center were created. He was also the executive assistant to the president, and an associate professor and chair of the Department of Student Personnel. Bertolino holds a doctorate in Higher Education Administration and Organizational Leadership from Columbia University.
Bertolino is kicking off his tenure at LSC with a “100-day listening tour.” During this period he plans on visiting with local and regional community leaders, educators, business owners, nonprofit organizations, college supporters, media representatives, students, faculty, and staff. He will use the tour to gauge the institutional landscape and assess the opportunities and challenges ahead of LSC. He explains, “I want to know what people hope for and expect from higher education, find out more about the untapped potential we know is out there, and make sure we take the right actions to serve the area and the state.”
Bertolino has already cited several areas for attention: solidifying LSC’s support of military veterans, enrolling more international students, building the athletic department. He is strongly committed to Lyndon’s tradition of access and making a college education affordable with strong financial aid and scholarship support, especially for those who are first-generation college students.
The new president has already had a taste of what’s ahead. In June, he attended a White House Forum on Regional Innovation in Rural America in Washington, D.C., organized by the USDA. Invitation to the gathering resulted from the College’s involvement with the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative, a consortium cited by the USDA for their efforts “to promote regional economic development strategies.”
“Looking at Lyndon and the Northeast Kingdom, you know the passion and sense of community is real… and it extends way beyond this campus. That’s a big a part of what brought me here. We’re all working together to raise the bar. Our part is to make sure each student is prepared for success, personally and professionally, and to help create and keep jobs in the NEK and Vermont.” notes President Bertolino.
While in D.C. he met U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders as well as USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.
President Bertolino made extended visits to the campus over the spring to get better acquainted with the College and its students, faculty, and staff. In May, he and 70 members of the college community, including then-President Steve Gold, participated in a day-long strategic planning workshop. Four broad strategic directions were identified to help direct the College’s actions over coming next year: optimizing organizational processes, capitalizing on Lyndon’s human potential, enhancing financial stability, and supporting an innovative environment. He officially began his move to Vermont and the president’s residence in mid-June.
Bertolino is jumping immediately into life at Lyndon with his presence in a number of high-profile events at the College and in the community. He will be marching in Lyndonville’s “Stars and Stripes” parade in mid-July, and hosting Convocation, the T.N. Vail Clambake, and family and homecoming weekend in September.
A 13-member search committee made up of LSC faculty, staff, students, VSC trustees, and members of the Lyndon community at-large began a national search in October 2011. Four semi-finalists visited the campus in late January for two days of meetings and interviews. The search committee recommended two finalists, who returned to LSC in February for interviews with the VSC board of trustees. The board selected Bertolino. He replaces Steve Gold who served a one-year stint as interim president.
“The goal of any presidential search is to find the right leader for the institution’s time and circumstance,” noted Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Tim Donovan. “Lyndon State College’s nationally known academic programs and regional accomplishments position Lyndon for great things. Joe emerged as the right person to lead the College forward.”
The new president adds, “This is a wonderful time to be at Lyndon State College. There are plenty of opportunities and people here are passionate about the College, the Northeast Kingdom, and Vermont. We are poised to do great things together.”
Lyndon is a member of the Vermont State Colleges system along with Castleton, Johnson State College, Vermont Technical College, and the Community College of Vermont. Lyndon State balances liberal arts and nationally recognized professional programs that integrate theory with hands-on experiences to prepare individuals for success. Nestled in northeastern Vermont, the college of 1,400 students is well-known for its tradition of enthusiasm, community service, and friendliness.