Celebratory events culminate in official ceremony, charting a “ready” course for the future
Vermont Business Magazine Champlain College on Saturday officially inaugurated its 10th President, Alejandro (“Alex”) Hernandez. Centered on a theme of “readiness,” Hernandez outlined plans to “build a better future” for students, the college, and Vermont.
“Education creates opportunity, and I’ve dedicated my life to the idea that we can build institutions that get students READY, not by luck or privilege, but by design” said Hernandez, reflecting on feeling unprepared early in his life. Champlain’s education model is intentionally designed to get students “Ready for work. Ready for life. Ready to make a difference,” he explained.
The 90-minute ceremony commenced with a vibrant inaugural procession, followed by remarks that honored Champlain’s rich history and trumpeted aspirations for this new chapter.
Laying out his vision for building a better future, Hernandez highlighted four key initiatives he is undertaking in Champlain’s next chapter. These initiatives will strengthen Champlain’s long-standing reputation as a leader in career-focused learning, and create additional opportunities within its unique and highly-effective upside-down curriculum model.
Serve as an economic engine for Vermont. Hernandez announced a new innovation hub in partnership with Hula to elevate entrepreneurship in Vermont. To launch the partnership, Hernandez will co-teach a master class in entrepreneurship at Hula, featuring Vermont startup founders and leaders. The collaboration will include education programs and upskilling, internships, faculty collaborations, student projects through the college’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and shared spaces. Champlain College’s Lakeside Campus will also be the epicenter for other signature employer partnerships.
Be the best place in the world for women in cybersecurity. Champlain College has one of the best cybersecurity and digital forensics programs in the country. Cybersecurity professionals and alumnae Brianna Blanchard (BS ‘11, MS ‘16) and Jess Turner (BS ‘22) will co-chair the Women in Cybersecurity Leadership Council to shape this important effort. The initiative will provide a blueprint for supporting more female-identifying students and other underrepresented groups in STEAM fields.
Go full STEAM ahead. As part of its R/Evolutionary 2030 strategic plan, Champlain will launch new degrees in STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) such as product design as well as expand into health and the bio-life sciences. The college will build on its radically pragmatic, hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to learning and prepare students to be Champlain Ready in growing sectors like digital health and synthetic biology.
Be more human in a digital world. In a world being reshaped by technology, it is those traits that make us most human that drive students’ long-term success: empathy, relationship-building, working across lines of difference, an entrepreneurial mindset. These skills are taught through the college’s Core curriculum and global experiences in Dublin and Montreal. Champlain College will be a leader in weaving together human skills and digital skills - and is launching a Digital Humanities major in Fall 2024 for students to develop the skills needed to tackle social challenges.
Among the more than 180 attendees and distinguished guests at today’s ceremony were Mayor Weinberger, Provost Dr. Monique Taylor, Board chair Judy O’Connell, Alumni Representative Megg Daudelin, local business leaders, state and local officials, fellow academics, and Champlain College delegates, trustees, alumni, faculty, and students.
About Champlain College: Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and more than 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain’s distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain ranks in multiple categories of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges,” including Best Value Schools, Best Colleges in the North, Best Colleges for Veterans, and Top Performers on Social Mobility. Champlain was also listed among The Princeton Review’s “The Best 388 Colleges” in 2023 and was recognized as a 2022 College of Distinction for its “Engagement, Teaching, Community, and Outcomes.” For more information, visit www.champlain.edu.
Burlington, VT, November 5, 2022—Champlain College