March 11, 2020
To the Marlboro Board of Trustees:
In the past few years Vermont has seen the closure of four of its small, independent liberal arts colleges. These colleges represented four distinct regions of our state, hundreds of teachers and employees, a few thousand students and tens of thousands of alumni, as well as many decades of service to their communities. This is a terrible blow to those respective communities as well as to the whole state.
I understand that we may be about to lose another, Marlboro College, in Windham County. After years of declining enrollment, it has been presented that Marlboro’s leadership is negotiating a “merger” with Emerson College, in Boston. The public elements of the deal are that Emerson will receive Marlboro’s endowment of approximately $30 million, and the campus valued at about $10 million, which Emerson plans to sell. In exchange, an uncertain number of Marlboro’s tenured faculty, perhaps 20 in all, will be offered positions in Boston, and Emerson will accept all Marlboro students who wish to attend.
I’m writing in support of the effort to keep Marlboro College open and in Vermont. I urge you not to close the school and to work with the community to explore creative options before finalizing this first approach. I understand that more than one thousand Marlboro Alumni and Friends have signed a petition urging the Marlboro Board of Trustees to try to save the College, instead of closing it. These friends and alumni want the opportunity to show that Marlboro can, indeed, exist on its own two feet, by restructuring, reprioritizing, and seeking opportunity where it is, here in Vermont.
I understand that as of today, $229,000 has been pledged to keep Marlboro College here in Vermont with new leadership using a fiscally responsible model.
I thank you for your consideration.
Lt. Governor David Zuckerman