The Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS) today announced that Vermont State University (VTSU) President Parwinder Grewal has tendered his resignation and is stepping down effective immediately for personal reasons. Former Vermont Agency of Human Services Secretary Michael (Mike) Smith will assume the role of interim president beginning next week.
The announcement comes after much consideration about how best to lead the upcoming launch of Vermont State University set for July 1. The launch of Vermont State University is the culmination of years of work to unify the state colleges, streamline academic offerings and achieve financial sustainability. This has been a partnership with Governor Scott, lawmakers, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and our communities.
“We knew this work would be difficult – in fact, none of this work is simple or easy but we are making steady progress and will be ready to launch Vermont State University in July,” said Sophie Zdatny, Chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges System. “We are grateful to Dr. Parwinder Grewal for stepping into the role of President and bringing his skills and expertise from a similar higher education unification at this important time, and we appreciate his service.”
The Board of Trustees and Chancellor Zdatny have asked Interim President Smith to pause implementation of the proposed initiatives around athletics and the libraries, pending development of a comprehensive set of recommendations for continued transformation work in the coming weeks. More information will be shared when that work is complete.
Interim President Smith will serve for the next six-months and will initially focus on implementing transformation plans and meeting with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and communities with an eye towards ensuring the successful launch of Vermont State University in just a few short months.
“It is an honor to take on this role at such a critical time and I am committed to giving this my all to ensure the overwhelming success of Vermont State University,” Interim President Smith shared. “I am excited to work with the faculty and staff and welcome the inaugural class who will help chart this new path forward. Together, we are making history and securing a legacy that will serve generations of Vermonters.”
Interim President Smith comes to Vermont State University after a long career in public service, most recently as Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services where he was a key leader in the state’s nationally recognized COVID-19 pandemic response. Smith also served Vermont as Secretary of Administration, Deputy State Treasurer, and as a member of the general assembly. Smith served the United State admirably as a member of SEAL Team Two and has held various roles in the private sector.
“I also want to extend my appreciation to Dr. Grewal for his contributions and welcome Mike to this interim role,” added Lynn Dickinson, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Colleges System. “We know we have a lot of work ahead to achieve the vision of a unified, thriving and financially viable Vermont State University. Strong communications, engagement, and collaboration will be our ongoing focus.”