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Skidmore College
Office of the President

Farewell message from President Glotzbach

June 23, 2020

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

In this moment, in the final days of my presidency at Skidmore College, it seems appropriate to offer a few concluding reflections. First, let me acknowledge, on a personal level, that this is decidedly a time of mixed emotions for both Marie and me. For nearly 17 years, this position and the work of the presidency have defined my professional existence, and our relationship to the Skidmore community has shaped virtually every aspect of our lives. It is not easy to walk away from something that has been the focus of our combined efforts for so long and that has become so central to who I am. We will miss this work, and we will certainly miss our engagement with this very special community. It truly has been the greatest privilege of my career to have served in this role. But it is time for new leadership at the College and time for us to begin the next phase of our lives.

We look back with no regrets. In May 2003, when I was introduced publicly to the community as Skidmore’s seventh president, I said that no one would care more about the College or work harder to create a brighter future. Over the years, Marie and I have tried to live up to that pledge. We came to Skidmore because of its fundamental values, its prospects, and because of what we perceived as a pervasive commitment to community. We continue to believe that these values define the College. There certainly was work to be done, as I outlined in my inaugural address in October 2003. Together we have made considerable progress on that agenda. Much still remains to be accomplished, and we continue to believe that even better days lie ahead. I am confident that, with President-elect Marc Conner, Chair of the Board Nancy Hamilton ’77, and the members of the President’s Cabinet, the leadership of the College remains in very good hands.

It pains us deeply to be departing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the disruptions it has visited upon the College and, indeed, across the globe. We are proud of Skidmore’s response over the past few months and the understanding people generally have displayed regarding the steps that have been necessary to address this crisis. So many people in our community have stepped up to do their part – staff, faculty, students, and the members of Skidmore’s senior leadership team, many working long hours and seven-day weeks to enable Skidmore to complete the spring term and prepare for the coming academic year.

The complexity and painfulness of the present moment cannot be overstated. To the rigors of dealing with the pandemic – and the task of preparing to welcome back as many students as can be safely accommodated in the fall – has been added a broader awareness of what we still need to do as a society, and as a College. This moment and the recent murders of Black people highlight the need to overcome once and for all our shared history of systemic racism. And we acknowledge that the burdens of the COVID-19 situation have fallen disproportionately on our communities of color. We are at a unique juncture with regard to the challenges we face; this is decidedly a moment for our community to pull together.

I also want to inform the Skidmore community that as part of my final contract, which was agreed upon more than two years ago, the Board of Trustees granted me a terminal one-year sabbatical. This is common practice for long-serving presidents. During my sabbatical year, I will participate in concluding the Creating Our Future campaign and support our new president and Skidmore in any other ways that will be appropriate. Even though I am leaving the presidency, Marie and I remain committed to doing what we can to assist the College in the future.

Marie and I will always cherish the relationships that have developed during our time at the College. We shall never forget how this community rallied to support us in good times and bad. We will happily continue to live in Saratoga Springs, and we look forward to enjoying the friendships we have made, both within and beyond the College community. We also look forward to taking advantage of the many cultural, intellectual, and social opportunities afforded both by Skidmore and this very special small city.

Let me close by offering heartfelt thanks to everyone who is part of the extended Skidmore College community – our union workers, staff and administrators, faculty, students, parents, alumni, trustees, and many other friends of the College. Collectively, you all make Skidmore the amazing institution it is. Thank you for all you have done to advance our shared agenda during my administration. And thank you, especially, for the abundant kindness you have extended to Marie and me during our time at Skidmore.

We look forward to tomorrow's virtual gathering and wish you all the very best now and in the future.

Philip A. Glotzbach