While students were lounging in the sun or working to be able to return to in the fall, Castleton College was transforming, President Dave Wolk said at the Aug. 28 convocation ceremony.
Ranging from new initiatives in Rutland to the establishment of new scholarships for students to 1,117 work orders completed across campus – including applying more than 275 gallons of paint – Wolk stressed the college is moving forward.
“We’re transforming ourselves to benefit our students,” he told the packed Casella Theater.
Wolk also spoke about the school’s new website that he said will “tell the story that we’re on the move and on a roll.”
Before his state-of-the-college type speech, Wolk welcomed 30 new faculty and staff, the largest incoming group yet ranging from football coaches and communication professors to new Director of Public Safety Keith Molinari.
Helen Mango, president of the Faculty Assembly and natural sciences professor, discussed the school’s new chemistry major, the first in the Vermont State Colleges system. She also got laughs playing on the school’s “small school with the big heart” slogan introducing herself as the, “small professor with a big voice.”
Elizabeth Young, the new president of Student Government Association, spoke about various ways SGA was also transforming with the college, including a new leadership scholarship that in 10 years will be the biggest scholarship available through Castleton. A new mission statement is also in the works as is a committee looking into students’ concerns about cable TV being cut from dorm rooms, she said.
Special recognition was given to the award receivers of employee of the year, commuter student of the semester and the Alumni Association’s outstanding young alumni and outstanding alumni.
Gary and Mary Quinn received the outstanding alumni award and Gary talked about how they met at Castleton and have been dedicated to each other since. During his speech, he claimed Castleton was “on the move academically, athletically, internationally, and through the expansion of facilities.”
Castleton then showed its tech savvy side when a video was played showing Justin Garrett, receiver of the outstanding young alumni award and now a teacher in Baltimore, leading his class.
Wolk’s message then turned to how the school was moving forward and transforming. He said because the college footprint in Castleton is limited, the school is expanding into Rutland with an art gallery, newly relocated Polling Institute and soon-to-come entreprenureship center.
Last year the campus experienced changes including renovations to Huden Dining Hall, Leavenworth Hall, lighted tennis and basketball courts, new wellness space and turbines on top of Hoff Hall.
He talked about the budget of the college, and how enrollment was a little down forcing some belt-tightening. He also spoke about how Castleton only receives 9 percent of its budget from the state of Vermont, the least in the country.
At the end of the address, Wolk drove home his message of the college’s continued transformation again referring to the school and its new website saying, “out with the old, in with the bold.”