Laurie Patton, dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University, will become the new president of Middlebury, effective July 1, 2015.
Middlebury made the announcement Tuesday following a vote by its trustees. Patton will become the 17th president of the private liberal arts college founded in 1800 in Vermont.
Patton came to Duke in 2011 from Emory University, where she was the Charles Howard Candler professor of religions and inaugural director of Emory’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in the provost’s office. She is a scholar on South Asian history, culture and religion. At Duke, she is also the Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion.
“It will be, in a word, very painful indeed to separate from an institution I have come to love as much as I have come to love Duke,” Patton wrote Tuesday in a message to her colleagues in the Duke community. “We are greatly fortunate in that Provost Kornbluth and President Brodhead are deeply committed to continuing the many A&S initiatives that we have established, and will be working with me closely until July to make sure those initiatives continue to thrive.”
In a message to Duke’s Arts and Sciences faculty, Brodhead and Kornbluth said, “Laurie has been a transformative leader, with her strong commitment to teaching, research and creating a community that values, and indeed advances, the highest ideals of scholarship and service. While we will miss her as a colleague, we also take pride in her selection to lead one of the country's great liberal arts institutions.”
Calling her decision “an important moment of transition,” Brodhead and Kornbluth said they will launch a national search to identify a new leader for Duke’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. Angela O’Rand, professor of sociology and former dean of social sciences, will chair the search committee, with other committee members to be named later. With Patton scheduled to remain at Duke through June, an interim dean is not anticipated.
Brodhead and Kornbluth concluded their message by saying, “Trinity College of Arts and Sciences is in as strong a position as it has ever been. The accomplishments of our students and faculty continue to remind us that the liberal arts are thriving at Duke, and we look forward to continuing that momentum in the future.”