Top stories of 2015: #9 — New leaders take charge at Middlebury College and Porter Medical Center
Addison County’s two largest institutions and employers welcomed new top leadership this year. Laurie Patton succeeded Ron Liebowitz as Middlebury College’s 17th president and Lynn Boggs took the helm of Porter Medical Center as the president and CEO, following the retirement of James Daily.
At Middlebury College, Liebowitz finished his 11th year as president of the institution at the end of June. Liebowitz is credited with leading the college through a recession and, despite that economic downturn, seeing its endowment grow from $665 million in 2004 to more than $1 billion this year; acquiring the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2010; and committing in 2007 to making the college campus carbon-neutral by 2016. Liebowitz also oversaw several collaborations between the college and the town including the Cross Street Bridge, the municipal building and recreation facility now under construction, the purchase and demolition of the former Lazarus building at 20 Main St. that will lead to a wider Printer’s Alley, the gift of land off Bakery Lane that the town will use for an as-yet undefined economic development initiative, and donations of funds and student talent to Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater.
After leaving Middlebury, Liebowitz has accepted the position of president of Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. He begins work in July 2016.
In July, Middlebury College welcomed Laurie Patton as the first woman president in the institution’s 216-year history. Patton comes to Middlebury from Duke University in Durham, N.C., where she was a professor of religion and a dean who oversaw a $435 million fundraising campaign. At Duke, Patton oversaw 36 academic departments and programs, 640 faculty members and 5,200 undergraduates.
She was inaugurated as Middlebury president on Oct. 11. In an interview with the Addison Independent, Patton stressed the importance of continued cooperation with the town. As the largest employer in the county, she also emphasized the need to remain a viable employer for county residents as well as an attractive option for young people looking for work in Vermont.
Patton brings her own tone and style to the job. She said in the fall that she puts aside time every day to write and do scholarship, she expects to teach a class every now and then, and she embraces the role of scholar-president.
Over the summer, Porter Medical Center in Middlebury took on new leadership. Lynn Boggs brings more than two decades of experience in health care administration plus almost 10 years as a registered nurse. Prior to coming to Addison County, she worked as senior vice president of system operations at Mission Health in Asheville, N.C., for 19 months and served as the president of McDowell Hospital in Marion, N.C. At Mission Health, she was successful in developing new services in the counties of Mission Health’s service area and developing system-wide clinical contracts and services that supported a clinically integrated regional network of care. As president of McDowell Hospital, Boggs led improvements in quality, financial performance and patient satisfaction.
Boggs is the first woman to lead Porter, which was founded in 1925. She replaces James L. Daily, who served as president for 31 years before retiring.
Boggs takes over an institution that is right in the middle of a sea change in how Americans pay for medical care. Porter this year asked regulators to OK a 3 percent spending increase. In the fall, the Porter nurses union, which came into existence just a year ago, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.