POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Vassar College President Catharine Bond Hill announced Tuesday that she will be retiring from her post by the end of the 2017 academic year.
Hill, who has lead the liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie since 2006, made the announcement in a letter to members of the Vassar community.
She said she and the college’s board established the timing of her retirement when she signed her current contract in 2012.
Hill, Vassar’s 10th leader and an economist, said announcing the move now gives the institution plenty of time to search for a new president.
She said she plans to stay on in the post until June, 2017, and then will take a sabbatical through to the fall semester.
Vassar said Tuesday that Hill’s departure “will mark the end of 11 years of transformative leadership” at the college.
Hill herself pointed to the college’s making “significant progress on a number of fronts” in the last 10 years.
Specifically, she said, its student body is now the most diverse it has ever been.
“We are a community of many different backgrounds and perspectives,” Hill said.
Vassar has doubled the number of its low-income students and between 70 and 100 “first-generation students” have been part of each of its recent first-year classes, she said.
Vassar has also increased the number of military veterans in classes through the Posse Veterans Program, Hill said.
Hill also pointed to “the opportunities that the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences and the Integrated Science Commons” has created for students, faculty and staff.
Hill, fondly known as "Cappy," is “an exceptional leader,” said William Plapinger, chairman of the college’s board of trustees.
As a tireless advocate for Vassar’s needs, Hill has “led the college through and out of the global financial crisis," he said.
Plapinger credited Hill with helping raise “more than half a billion dollars” for the college.
“Although we have more than a year of work together yet ahead, my board colleagues and I will miss her greatly,” he said.
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