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NVU President Elaine C. Collins Announces She Will Seek New Challenges

May 17, 2021


CONTACT: Sylvia Plumb, Director of Marketing and Communications, 802.626.6459,

Today, Northern Vermont University President Elaine C. Collins announced she will be seeking new professional challenges and will be resigning from her presidency late this summer. 

In a statement to the press, President Collins said,

“I will step down from my presidency in August of this year. With NVU’s future bright, the time is right for me to pursue new challenges. Building Northern Vermont University—with the dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members—is one of the proudest accomplishments of my career. I am honored to have had the opportunity to create NVU. Our unification achieved its goals and the transformation of the Vermont State Colleges System has begun. I look forward to seeing the members of the NVU Community drive the university forward to even more success as the VSCS transforms higher education in Vermont and leads the nation in higher education innovation as it builds this new university to better serve the students and the people of Vermont.

It has been a privilege to work for Northern Vermont University and the Vermont State Colleges System.  I am grateful to each member of the NVU community and extend particular thanks to my executive team: Nolan Atkins, Provost; Jonathan Davis, Dean of Students; Leah Hollenberger, University Development and External Relations Officer; Sylvia Plumb, Director of Marketing and  Communications; Michael Fox, Dean of Enrollment and Marketing; and Toby Stewart, Dean of Administration. I also want to give special thanks to Darcie Miles, Executive Assistant to the President. Each has provided extraordinary service to advance our university.”

A press release from the Vermont State Colleges System follows:


May 17, 2021

Contact: Katherine Levasseur
Director of External and Governmental Affairs

Vermont State Colleges System Board Congratulates Northern Vermont University President, Dr. Elaine C. Collins, on a Remarkable Tenure and Thanks Her for Her Service

MONTPELIER, VT —The Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Colleges System has accepted the resignation of Northern Vermont University President, Dr. Elaine C. Collins. President Collins will continue serving through mid-August. She has served as Northern Vermont University President since the college’s founding in 2018. Prior to that, she served as president of Johnson State College, one of the two institutions that unified to create Northern Vermont University. Board Chair Lynn Dickinson issued the following statement on President Collins’s resignation:

“It is with great sadness that I accept the resignation of Northern Vermont University President, Dr. Elaine C. Collins. Dr. Collins has served the Vermont State Colleges System remarkably since she came to us in 2015 as the president of Johnson State College. Her tenure at the VSCS is noted for her work to achieve national recognition for Northern Vermont University’s campuses and programs, for her leadership during the unification of Lyndon State College and Johnson State College into Northern Vermont University, and for her strategic, visionary approach to leading Johnson State College and later Northern Vermont University.”

Chancellor Sophie Zdatny added, “President Collins is known for her student-centered approach to her role as president. We are particularly proud of her accomplishments in laying the groundwork for establishing Northern Vermont University as a Learning and Working Community, for her tremendous success in securing the largest financial gift in VSCS history, and for securing COPLAC status for the Johnson campus of Northern Vermont University. Additionally, her work to found Do North Coworking, the partnership she established with Vermont Woodworking School, and her efforts to secure a 1.8-million-dollar Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant will leave a lasting legacy of her dedication to Northern Vermont.

Presidents Collins is a visionary leader who works tirelessly on behalf of NVU learners and the greater community needs, as demonstrated by her founding of the NVU Center for Teaching and Learning, securing of two USDA grants in support of teleconferencing to link NVU programming to 60 sites across Vermont and to connect mental health providers to lower cost professional development opportunities, the new degree programs she launched, and her partnership with Vermont Technical College to bring a bachelor’s degree in nursing to the Northeast Kingdom. She is an invaluable asset to the VSCS team and we are confident she will provide immeasurable contributions in her next endeavor. We are grateful for her many years of service to the VSCS and wish her the very best in her transition to new opportunities.

We look forward to continuing to work with President Collins through to her departure in mid-August. Tomorrow morning, the VSCS Board of Trustees will be meeting to consider the appointment of an interim president to lead NVU as it transitions.”