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Bertolino’s Inauguration Ceremony Includes Surprise Announcement, Surprise Ending

Bertolino’s Inauguration Ceremony Includes Surprise Announcement, Surprise Ending


April 19, 2013

Joseph A. Bertolino, Ed.D., was installed as Lyndon State College’s 15th president on the morning of April 19. The inauguration, which took place in the Alexander Twilight Theatre at 10:30, was the centerpiece an event-filled celebratory week. The occasion gathered many Vermont politicians and dignitaries onto one stage. Delegates from dozens of universities were in attendance, hailing from California to Canada; from Harvard to the University of Oklahoma.

Speeches by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Vermont’s U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders opened the ceremony. The inaugural speakers were President of Roosevelt University Chuck Middleton and President of University of Texas at Brownsville Juliet Garcia.

Dr. Middleton is a Fellow of Great Britain’s Royal Historical Society and a dedicated advocate of community service. He serves on the Board of Directors of both the SAGE and PFLAG and the Board of Governors of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Middleton is the first openly gay male university president and the founder of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transgender, and queer Presidents Organization in Higher Education.

Dr. Garcia helped spearhead the establishment of a new university, The University of Texas at Brownsville. Under her leadership, the campus has grown from 49 acres to more than 460; enrollment has jumped from 7,000 students to more than 17,000. Time magazine named her one of the Top 10 College Presidents and she was recognized by Hispanics Business magazine in their annual “100 Most Influential Hispanics” publication. Garcia was a member of President-Elect Obama’s Transition Team.

Chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges Timothy Donovan, VSC Board of Trustees Chair Gary Moore ’71, and Student Trustee Nick Russo ’14, performed the official installation, followed by President Bertolino’s inaugural address.

In his address, Bertolino pledged to “lead with an ethic of care” and vowed to “be the best.” The newly-installed President underscored that scholarship funds are critically important because LSC is a “small institution with limited resources and ninety percent of students rely on some form of financial aid.” Bertolino surprised and delighted the audience by announcing that on Wednesday, he had received “official confirmation that the college will receive an anonymous $1 million gift in 2014.”

Greetings were given by Gary Moore ’71, President of CUNY Queens College James Muyskens, Garret College’s Dean of Students George Brelsford, and Bill Stenger, president and CEO and of Jay Peak and a partner at Burke Mountain Resort.

Greetings from LSC alumni, faculty, staff, and students were offered by Faculty Assembly Chair David Johnston, LSC Foundation President Lorraine Impey, Stephen M. Long Jr. ’62, Admissions Office Manager Cheri Goldrick, and Student Government President Sean Siciliano ’13.

The platform party included three of LSC’s past presidents-Peggy Williams, Carol A. Moore, and Steven M. Gold. Williams introduced Governor Shumlin. The invocation was given by Jonathan Vasconez, a former student of Bertolino’s at Queens College. President Bertolino’s partner of 19 years, Bil Leipold, an organizational change expert at Rutgers University, was master of ceremonies. Music was provided by Suncooked-an Americana/folk/rock trio of LSC students. A flash mob of students and staff provided a surprise ending, dancing in celebration while cannons shot green and gold confetti over the assembled crowd.

The Inauguration was followed by a reception in the Stannard Gym. The day’s finale was a concert by The Québécois progressive folk music quartet, Le Vent du Nord, presented by Kingdom County Productions. The band Suncooked was back on stage as the opening act.

Dr. Bertolino became the 15th president of Lyndon State College in July 2012. A nationally recognized author, lecturer, and teacher, Bertolino has presented programs to students at over 600 colleges and conferences nationwide. In 2007, Campus Activity Magazine named him “Best Diversity Artist.” He has authored numerous articles and book chapters, and is the co-author of Let the Games Begin, A Guide for Peer Mentors, (2012).

Bertolino has been recognized with numerous outstanding professional awards, including the American College Personnel Association’s prestigious Annuit Coeptis Award. His undergraduate alma mater, the University of Scranton, presented him with the 2011 Frank O’Hara Award in Education, the highest award given jointly by the University and the National Alumni Society. In 2010-11, he was a fellow with the American Council on Education.

“Moving Forward” was the central theme of the week, with each day dedicated to a specific theme. The ceremony and activities leading up to it are emblematic of Bertolino’s leadership and direction-many of the week’s events are focused on community service, inclusiveness and social justice, economic development, and Lyndon’s students.

Events included the premiere of the dramatic feature film “Northern Borders” on April 14. Activities on April 15 focused on issues of inclusiveness and social justice. The 16th saw student, faculty, and staff volunteers and President Bertolino take part in a day of community service. The volunteers spruced up Lyndonville’s Powers Park Pavilion and cleared trails and painted at Lyndon Outing Club. April 17 was National Green and Gold Day. On April 18, LSC hosted a day-long Regional Business and Education Summit with Bill Stenger, president and CEO of Jay Peak and a partner at Burke Mountain Resort, and Todd Bachelder, CEO of Menck Windows.

Inaugural events were underwritten, in part, by generous contributions from Carhartt, Inc., and AT&T.

Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vermont, was founded in 1911 as a one-year “normal” school for teacher training. There were three students. Now in its second century, the College has a near-record enrollment of 1,500 students in a broad range of degree programs in the liberal arts and innovative, nationally recognized professional programs-all leading to meaningful careers or further study.

The College is widely known for its warm and friendly atmosphere, spectacular Vermont location, and the personal attention afforded each and every member of its community.