Thank you for the past 30 years, Joe!

You could fill up your car for $1.19 a gallon, “Russian” was still a bad word, the Islanders were actually good at hockey, John Lennon was still alive and Reagan hadn’t yet taken office.

The world was a completely different place back in 1980; not only was the world changing, but so was the small college of Castleton State, tucked away in the back woods of Vermont. Joe Mark was coming to town.

When Mark took to this school a little over 31 years ago, it was his first leap into the public school setting as an administrator. Having dealt mostly with “less than gracious” private school students, he wanted a little something different.

Well, Castleton definitely benefited from his foray into the realm of public schools. Although the experience was probably less than pleasurable for him at first, Mark quickly turned the school around and helped get it headed in the right direction. Since then, we haven’t looked back.

The story of Dean Joe Mark can’t be done justice in words; the only way to truly appreciate his character is by looking at the things he does every day. He sat in for John Gillen at last year’s President’s Dinner and made pleasant conversation with the students at the table with him. On a daily basis he can be seen eating in Huden, oftentimes with students. I’ve never passed him once when he hasn’t said hi to me, and all this happens amidst 60 hour work weeks. He’s the kind of guy who can change the entire course of a college in three years, but he’s also the kind of guy who, while reading my information at the scholarship dinner, was thoughtful enough to think of a nice and unique way to say I’m an undeclared major.

With the way he described Castleton when he first started, it’s amazing that he decided to stick with us. It’s a good thing he likes a challenge, or we could have been out one of our most influential administrators in college history. From his distinct, always-present thoughtful smile to his preservation of the bow-tie, there’s just too much to be said for Joe Mark. Instead of trying to say it all, I’m going to leave you with the impressive legacy that Dean Joe Mark has built in his 32-year career at Castleton.

I hope he enjoys his relaxation, because he’s certainly earned it. He’ll have to let us know what the first book he reads during daylight hours is.


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