College, Beckwith mum on resignation

Thursday February 7, 2013


Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Neither Southern Vermont College officials nor James Beckwith are saying much regarding the chief financial officer and chief operation officer's abrupt resignation, just weeks after he concluded a one-year stint as acting president.

According to SVC Director of Communications Katherine Kalker, Beckwith sent an e-mail to college officials Monday announcing his resignation, effective immediately. Kalker said the college would give no further details regarding his reasoning.

"We're respecting his privacy at this point," Kalker

Reached at his home in Londonderry Wednesday, Beckwith said he also wished to avoid making public the conversations he and President Karen Gross had in private prior to his resignation.

"It's just a natural transition. There's no reason behind it," Beckwith said. "I've been there seven years and it was just time to move on, that's all."

Recruited in 2007

Beckwith said he does not have plans for another job at this point and intends to take some time off after "a long year" serving as acting president of the private liberal arts college in Bennington while Gross served as a senior policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Education.

Beckwith became CEO and CFO at the college in 2007 after he was recruited by Gross who, at the time, was entering her second year as president. He has also taught calculus and statistics courses at the college during his tenure.

The college did have some setbacks over the past year. Last summer, Beckwith announced plans to break ground on a new residential hall in the fall, but by the time fall came, the college's lenders asked that the project be postponed. Part of the hesitancy on the part of the lenders likely had to do with a recommendation by a visiting team from the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission for the Commission not to re-accredit SVC's two- and four-year nursing programs this spring. Both programs were placed on probation two years ago, yet the visiting team determined deficiencies still exist. The team's claims have been disputed by Gross since her return from Washington D.C. in mid-January.

By Wednesday the college's website had not only removed Beckwith's name from the staff directory but it also deleted past posts and articles about Beckwith, such as the announcement last winter introducing him as acting president. Clicking on that article brings up a message stating the page no longer exists on the server.

Contact Dawson Raspuzzi at or follow on Twitter @DawsonRaspuzzi


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