Vermont State University selects University of Texas administrator as first president

Dr. Parwinder Grewal was named president of Vermont State University on April 18, 2022. Courtesy of the Vermont State Colleges System

Dr. Parwinder Grewal, an entomologist and administrator at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, will serve as the first president of Vermont State University, an institution slated to launch in the summer of 2023. 

Administrators at the Vermont State Colleges, which are undergoing a transformation into the Vermont State University system, announced Grewal’s hiring in a Monday press release.

“Dr. Grewal brings over 25 years of higher education experience and 10 years of biotechnology research and development experience in industry and government in six US states and five countries,” administrators wrote in the press release.

Grewal is currently the special assistant to the president at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, a roughly decade-old school created through the merger of the University of Texas Brownsville and the University of Texas Pan American. Prior to January, he was the executive vice president for research, graduate studies and new program development.

In 2013, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley completed a merger process that appears not unlike the one taking place at the Vermont State Colleges. 

Faced with years of state underfunding and dropping enrollment, the Vermont State Colleges system has been planning a systemwide consolidation

Administrators are working to combine three of the system’s schools — Castleton University, Northern Vermont University and Vermont Technical College — into one entity called Vermont State University. The fourth school, Community College of Vermont, will remain under its current governance model. 

The new institution is slated to launch in July 2023, with Grewal at the helm.  

“I look forward to collaborating with Chancellor (Sophie) Zdatny, the VSC System, the Board of Trustees, the State of Vermont, community leaders, faculty, staff, and students to build our new university as a national model for a state-wide, community-engaged, hybrid university that transforms lives and communities across the state,” Grewal said in the press release. “I see this as an incredible opportunity to build a model, post-COVID university in the United States.”

“We are excited for Parwinder Grewal to chart this new path for higher education in Vermont,” Zdatny, chancellor of the state colleges system, said in a press release.

Information about Grewal’s contract or compensation was not immediately available, according to Katherine Levasseur, a Vermont State Colleges spokesperson. 

“The contract’s being drafted right now, so I don't have that information today,” Levasseur said. 

Grewal also has taught entomology and nematology, the study of microscopic organisms called nematodes or roundworms, at Ohio State University and the University of Tennessee. 

A former president of the Society of Nematologists, he is an internationally recognized nematode expert, according to the press release.

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Peter D'Auria

About Peter

Peter D’Auria covers education for VTDigger. Prior to moving to Vermont, he worked for The Jersey Journal, The Chilkat Valley News and Willamette Week. He is originally from Portland, Oregon.

Email: [email protected]

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