Vermont State University Celebrates Official Launch

Four mascots stand side-by-side. A knight, badger, hornet, and spartan.

Vermont State University Celebrates its Official Launch and Looks to Strong Future for Rural, Public Higher Education in Vermont

The unification of campuses is part of a multi-year and multi-phased transformation set to ensure affordable, accessible, relevant and high-quality education programs for students for generations to come.

See photos from event here.

Vermont State University (VTSU) marked its official launch today as the culmination of more than three years of transformation work by Vermont State College System (VSC) leaders, Governor Scott and lawmakers. Bringing together the best of Castleton University, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College, the unification will enhance education offerings, including online degree and training programs, for students across Vermont. It will also stabilize the system’s finances into the future.

State officials joined VSC and Vermont State University leaders to mark the occasion and reinforce Vermont State University’s critical role in our rural economy, serving as a catalyst for change for students seeking any one of its 105 affordable degrees, certificates and training programs in relevant and well-paying careers. VTSU is on track to welcome more than 1,330 new students this fall.

As Chancellor of the Vermont State College System, Sophie Zdatny worked closely with state leaders as the Vermont State Colleges system undertook the transformation work. “This is an incredible day of celebration and I thank all the state officials whose financial support and words of encouragement have made this possible,” she shared. “I also want to thank our faculty, staff and leaders who did the very hard work necessary to launch this new state university. We are well-positioned for the future because we came together as a state to tackle the immense challenge before us to shore up the state college system. It has been a tremendous honor to be part of this work.”

For its Inaugural year, Vermont State University is poised to bring together a class that represents diversity of culture and experience including 1,330 students and growing from 30 states and 21 countries.

“We are excited to welcome our inaugural freshman Vermont State University class and welcome back our returning students who will change our state for the better and that is what is important about this moment,” said Interim Vermont State President Mike Smith. “Over the next several years, we will graduate thousands of nurses, engineers, plumbers, computer programmers, hospitality leaders, climate scientists, educators, counselors and entrepreneurs. These bright and dedicated people will serve on our selectboards, volunteer in our fire departments, coach our youth sports and bring so much to our economy and the fabric of our communities. That’s what rural, public higher education is all about and Vermont State is well positioned to deliver on this promise.”

Of course, transformation would not have been possible without steadfast support from Governor Scott and his administration officials, along with legislative leaders including Speaker of the House, Jill Krowinski, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Baruth the chairs and members of the Education and Appropriations Committees. Together, they have provided more than $200 million in one-time and bridge funding to enable the system to transform and create this new state-wide public university. In return, the state has asked the system to increase its financial stability by reducing its structural deficit by $25 million over five years. That work is underway with plans to both reduce expenses and grow revenue.

“Every learner, regardless of age or income, should have an affordable option to learn a skill, trade or earn a degree and that’s what this unification is about,” added Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski. “The faculty and staff made this possible through their dedication to providing rural higher education and I want to thank them for their trust and patience as this important and challenging work has taken place.” 

“I was a member of the Select Committee that developed the initial plans for unification of the Vermont State Colleges, and throughout that process we dreamed about a university combining all the best of the individual campuses and providing access to all of those resources from anywhere in the state,” said Senate President Pro Tem Phil Baruth. “I’m incredibly proud of the administrators and faculty and students who have worked and pulled together to make that dream a reality. And I want them all to know that the state will continue to partner with them, to make sure that the new Vermont State University has the resources it needs to thrive.

Vermont State University prides itself on a structure that meets students where they are, across its five campuses, online and with flexible programs and degrees that allow students to achieve their academic goals at a pace and schedule that fits their unique circumstance.