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July 25, 2011

University of Vermont Names Interim President

Bramley * Updated *

The University of Vermont's Board of Trustees has named John Bramley (pictured) as interim president of the university. He'll assume the job on August 1.

The move came less than one week after UVM President Fogel announced he was resigning from his post July 31, one year earlier than anticipated.

Trustees met in secret during a midday meeting before board chairman Robert Cioffi made the announcement.

"We are extremely fortunate that John Bramley was both available and willing to step into this important role," Cioffi said.  "Quite frankly, there could not be a better choice for this job in light of John's experience, skills, character and knowledge of UVM, in addition to his outstanding scholarly record. Even though he will be in this role for a relatively short time, John is not going to be a 'caretaker,' and will be pushing our key initiatives forward."

Last week Fogel announced an early departure due to "deeply personal reasons." Within two weeks, UVM is scheduled to release the results of an internal investigation regarding the activities of Fogel's wife, Rachel Kahn-Fogel. UVM removed her from her volunteer fundraising role and barred contact with some UVM employees after it was revealed that she had been involved in a long-term emotional relationship with a key UVM fundraiser.

Since the news of the investigation into Kahn-Fogel's activities became public, Bramley's name has been circulated as a possible interim president when — not if — Fogel decided to step down early.

The role of interim president is a familiar one for Bramley, a former UVM administrator who spent more than 16 years at the university.

"I am grateful for and humbled by the confidence the board has placed in me, and I will do my best to see to it that the University continues to gain ground," Bramley said in a statement. "I very much appreciate all that President Fogel has done to put this institution in a strong, viable position and I have every intention to work with the university community and beyond to make us even better."

Bramley was appointed interim acting president in 2006 when President Fogel took a medical leave of about three months. Bramley has served as chair of the Department of Animal Sciences and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, along with provost, the second-ranking post at the university. Bramley left UVM to head up the Windham Foundation. He retired from that post at the end of 2010.

Bramley said upon leaving the Windham Foundation he had planned to "do other things," but put those plans on hold to return to UVM and help out the school during "this critical point."

In March, Fogel announced he would leave UVM in July 2012. The next month, Seven Days filed a series of public-records requests that uncovered a more than six-year amorous connection between Kahn-Fogel, who was a volunteer fundraiser for the university, and a high-ranking colleague in the development office. The Seven Days story prompted UVM trustees to launch an internal investigation into the relationship to determine whether Kahn-Fogel violated UVM workplace policies and whether any UVM funds were misspent, among other issues.

Last week, Cioffi told Seven Days he doesn't expect the internal investigation to find that any laws or UVM policies were violated, or that any employee would face disciplinary actions.

Photo credit: Sally McCay

* Updated: Reaction to Bramley's appointment *

From U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): "John Bramley will provide a steady hand to lead the University of Vermont in the coming year and is an excellent choice to be interim president. Throughout the past decade John was instrumental in charting a new course for the university and played a significant role in the school's current growth and success. I congratulate both John and the board on this appointment and look forward to working with  him in the coming year."

From Gov. Peter Shumlin: “This is a great choice for UVM and for Vermont. John Bramley's deep understanding of Vermont's challenges and opportunities in both the public and private arenas will serve us well as he continues to advance UVM to the position of national leadership it deserves.  John is known for great accomplishments and common sense, and he will do an excellent job as interim president.”

Totten you red bastard! (shakes fist)

So Action Man is back. Famous during his time as Provost for making decisions first and then thinking up reasons later, Bramley's two major accomplishments in that role seem to have been

*To help Fogel soft soap the Trustees into approving the endless above-inflation increases in tuition that may yet price UVM out of the market .

* To get rid of the one UVM program that served mainly Vermonters - the Dental Hygiene program. The saving here was maybe a little more than the cost of a single Vice President.

Maybe there's a third: leaving the Trustee's with the belief that he has something to contribute beyond business as usual, that business being mega-salaries for ever-increasing numbers of Vice Presidents and other big deals, less and less for academic programs, as little as possible for faculty, and even less for staff (some earning less total salary than a Vice-Somethings' benefits).

Wouldn't is be nice if John-boy proposed that those earning over $100 grand a year tithed themselves to help students, staff, and faculty facing financial hardship? And did it himself to set an example? Dream on!

To the above reader.

John is so far from business as usual that even responding to your post isn't work the effort.

In John's tenure as Provost of UVM, the academic programs and integrity skyrocketed the merit of the University. An example that comes to mind is The Honors College. Additionally, being a faculty member first he always upheld the fact that students and professors are what make a university beat. I think you would be hard pressed to find a student or faculty member at UVM that does not hold high regard for John. Leahy's and Shumlin's endorsement are spot on!

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