The farming dean

At 5:30 a.m. the rooster isn’t even up yet. Most of Castleton is sound asleep while Maurice Ouimet, Castleton’s dean of enrollment, is just getting up and ready to milk the cows. The cold morning frost burns his cheeks as he steps outside to tend his animals, but it’s all worth it for Ouimet, it’s just what he loves to do.
Ouimet grew up on a farm in a small town called Plainville, Mass. He attended Boston College, where he majored in sociology. After college, Ouimet wanted to continue the farming lifestyle.
Admissions office coordinator Linda Sheridan jokes about Ouimet’s dual life.
“He’s what I like to call a gentleman farmer … Let me know when he has two of every animal and I’ll call his place Noah’s Ark,” she said.
Ouimet’s farm is on Hubbardton Road, relatively close to campus.
“I love working so close by,” Ouimet states. “If I ever need to get home to my wife or kids, I can easily do that and still come back to work if need be.”
Assistant Dean of Enrollment Emily Weizalis works closely with Ouimet and states that with him, “what you see is what you get.”
“He’s such a sweet guy, just a family oriented person … It’s the little things he says like ‘don’t let the grass grow under your feet.’ You can tell that’s one of the lines he grew up with on the farm.”
To welcome new transfer student counselor Raphael Okutoro to Castleton, Ouimet invited Okutoro’s family over to the farm for a visit.
“I was surprised to see Moe without a shirt and tie and instead as Moe the farmer,” he said.
He listed off all the animals he noticed on the property including four cows, four turkeys, eight pigs and 20 chickens.
“The family was busy,” Okutoro continued. “Everybody was doing farm work, even the kids.”
Ouimet met his wife, Susan, at an early age – a really early age.
“I met my wife I was 4 years old,” he explained. “We dated in high school. I went to Boston College and she went to Bridgewater State.”
After college, Maurice and Susan married and moved Vermont to start his new job at College of St. Joseph in Rutland.
He started his career in college administration when he was a tour guide during his undergraduate years.
“My first job was being a telecounselor for a college in Boston,” he said.
When working for College of St. Joseph’s, Ouimet noticed Castleton State College. He wanted to work for Castleton and jumped at the opportunity when the admissions office needed a counselor in 2002. Ouimet was promoted to the director of admission the next year and became dean of enrollment in 2007.
Although his career is thriving, Ouimet gives the impression that his greatest accomplishment is his family. His wife, two sons and daughter work hard on the farm and live almost completely off the land.
“If you look in my fridge, you won’t find anything store-bought,” Ouimet said proudly.
To some, Ouimet is almost too good of a person. Weizalis commented that “his closet is clean” when kiddingly asked if there may be any hidden skeletons we don’t know about.
By all accounts, Ouimet turns out to be a family friendly guy who loves his farm. The only dirt this dean has is between his fingers and on his pants when he’s tending his garden.

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