SVC president returns after year in D.C.
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | January 24,2013
BENNINGTON — After a year spent in Washington, D.C., as a senior policy adviser at the U.S. Department of Education, Southern Vermont College President Karen Gross, who returned on Tuesday, said she knew what she missed most while away from the campus of the independent college.
“Coming back, the thing that is, I think, nicest for me is to see the students again. I can’t wait to see the students again. In fact, I’m going down to the dining hall tonight in the hope that I can bump into some of them who are returning. The few that I’ve seen have run up and hugged me and said, ‘Welcome back, it’s nice to have you on campus,’” she said.
Gross said she learned a lot about leadership in the year since she left Southern Vermont College.
“I learned by watching some amazing leaders and I also learned by not being a leader for a year, so I was led, in essence. It’s like an opportunity when a professor gets to be a student. You get to see and think about issues a little bit differently. ... I think I will be a better and wiser leader,” she said.
Coming back to the college, where she has been president since the fall of 2006, Gross said she feels both like a new and returning president.
“In some ways, I have the luxury of coming into a place I know and a culture that I know but with fresh eyes and a fresh opportunity to look at it anew,” she said.
Gross plans to conduct a “listening tour” of the campus, where there are faculty, staff and students who she has not met, and Bennington to renew her relationship with the Southern Vermont Community.
Over the last year, the work in Washington, D.C., kept Gross out of Vermont for the most part but she made a few trips to the area including for the 2012 commencement. While in Bennington, she said people would often ask her if she was really coming back.
“I would say, ‘Yes, I’m coming back. My work at Southern Vermont College is not done.’ I promised people that I would be back and one of the hallmarks, I hope, of my leadership is that if I tell you something, that it will be done, it will be done. My word is my deed so there was no question in my own mind but that I would come back,” she said.
For the complete story, see Friday's Rutland Herald.