Castleton University has a new president. Karen Scolforo will take over the helm in December replacing Dave Wolk, who has led the university for 16 years.
Karen Scolforo comes to Castleton from Summerdale, Pennsylvania, where she’s led Central Penn College since 2013. It's a historic private college with about 1,400 students near Harrisburg.
Prior to that Scolforo headed Fortis College and a campus of Keiser University in Jacksonville, Florida.
While in Florida she earned her doctor of education degree.
According to her resume, she taught middle school and even worked for a time as a writer and journalist in New Hampshire.
Jeb Spaulding, Chancellor of the Vermont State College system, says they received more than 50 applications for the position including many strong candidates. But he says Scolforo was the search committee’s unanimous choice because of her experience as a college president, her ties to New England and her strong marketing background.
"In this day and age, when the competition among colleges for traditional age students is intense, the need to differentiate yourself is more important than ever," says Spaulding. "Having that marketing background combined with her high education experience set her apart."
The Vermont State Board of College Trustees unanimously approved the selection at their meeting Thursday afternoon.
Speaking to the board after their vote, Scolforo, who's 54, said she was thrilled to be coming to Castleton. "I'm so excited to share my passion for student success. I think Castleton University is such a special place and I'm so honored to serve as its next president and I look forward to building on Dave Wolk's legacy."
Carol Spigner, Chair of the Board of Directors for Central Penn College, says Scolforo will bring lots of energy to her new position and says she left Central Penn College in a very good place. "I thought her major accomplishments were in the area of her having a broader vision for the college and really paying attention to the infrastructure - student housing and the introduction of arts and athletics to the college.”
Signer says even though Scolforo was not from central Pennsylvania, she was impressed by her ability to forge strong ties with the community. “And our area is not always one that’s open to outsiders and she was quite effective in building relationships and received acknowledgements from a number or organizations in the community for her leadership.”
Scolforo's salary will be $165,000. Jeb Spaulding noted that with her selection, the five schools within the Vermont State College System, which includes: Lyndon and Johnson State, Vermont Technical College, Community College of Vermont and Castleton University, will all be headed simultaneously by women for the first time.
Updated 4:00 pm to include new information