Leslie Ward is the second president of Vermont College of Fine Arts. Photo courtesy VCFA
Leslie Ward is the second president of Vermont College of Fine Arts. Photo courtesy VCFA

Leslie Ward, the acting president of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, will take over as the Montpelier school’s permanent leader.

Ward will assume her role effective July 1, when her interim tenure concludes, VCFA trustees announced in a statement Wednesday. She was appointed in July, soon after the college’s founding president, Tom Greene, stepped down to focus on his writing career.

VCFA leaders had initially announced that they would conduct a national search for Greene’s replacement. But Bill Schubart, the chair of the board of trustees, said the college ultimately decided to suspend its search after receiving feedback from the campus community.

“The endorsement was so powerful for Leslie,” he said. “It was so universal.” 

Ward has been given a two-year contract, with an annual compensation, including benefits, totalling $195,000, Schubart said.

Trustees received consulting advice from Chuck Bunting, a VCFA trustee and consulting partner with Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates, an executive search firm based in Pennsylvania. Schubart initially told a reporter Bunting was compensated for his work, but then reached back out to say he had done the work for free.  

“I wasn’t sure that Chuck wanted the general public to know that he donated his services, and so I wanted to check with him,” Schubart said. Bunting, in an interview, also said he had provided his services pro bono. 

A graduate of the school’s MFA program, Ward has also previously served as a trustee and holds an MBA from Harvard. She has worked for the Boston Consulting Group and done business development and strategic planning for the New York private equity firm General Atlantic Partners. She has also worked with non-profits, including Outward Bound, the Clark Foundation, and the Echoing Green Foundation. 

“I am deeply grateful to the Board of Trustees for this honor,” Ward said in a statement. “I have always known VCFA is a special place worth investing time and energy, and I’m looking forward to leading it into its second decade.”

The VCFA, which was founded in 2007, bills itself as the “only college devoted exclusively to graduate fine arts education,” and specializes in a low-residency model, where students communicate remotely with a faculty advisor and travel to the campus for short periods.

College Hall, Vermont College of Fine Arts
College Hall at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Wikipedia image

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