At its board meeting Thursday morning, the Vermont State Colleges System Board of Trustees voted unanimously to unify Johnson and Lyndon State Colleges into one school with "two distinctive campuses," starting in July 2018.
"The board’s decision to create a larger, stronger institution is intended to expand opportunities for students, strengthen institutional finances, and ensure continued access to high-quality, postsecondary education in the northern region of Vermont," a press release from the Vermont State Colleges Chancellor's office states.
Johnson State College president Dr. Elaine Collins will lead the unified college. The resolution approved by the trustees calls for Collins to assume the presidency of both schools beginning next July and become the president of the unified college a year later.
By the end of next month, Collins is tasked with assembling a unified administration, including executive team leaders from both campuses. That group will recommend a name for the new college for the board of trustees to consider in December.
"When unification is fully implemented it is expected to save approximately $2 million annually," the press release states. "In addition, unification is anticipated to produce increased revenue of $2 million annually through enrollment growth beyond what would otherwise be expected for combined dollar value of budgetary savings and increased revenue is approximately $4 million annually."
The process of unifying the two schools into one accredited college is expected to cost $2 million.
In his presentation to the board, VSCS Chancellor Jeb Spaulding said, “Unification will create new academic and experiential opportunities for students, a bigger and more diverse faculty environment, advantages for recruiting new students and a significantly strengthened financial foundation. Johnson and Lyndon State Colleges have provided quality college education to thousands of Vermonters for many decades. They are pivotal institutions in their regions and they are beloved by their alumni, faculty, staff and current students. Unification is our recognition of that love and our commitment to maintain two vibrant and viable campuses for the coming decades.”
A unification advisory committee plans to hold planning sessions at both campuses in October. There, faculty, staff and students of both colleges will be asked to help guide decisions on academic programming, marketing and branding, student services and campus activities.