Vermont Lesson: Invest and Grow
By PAUL FAIN
Frugality has long been part of the New England persona. So a strategy of "invest and grow" was not always an easy sell for Daniel M. Fogel, the University of Vermont's president.
Shortly after arriving in 2002, Mr. Fogel helped nudge the university's governing board to accept the use of debt as a financial tool, something it had never done.
What has followed, under the guidance of an annually updated financial plan, is substantial growth in both the size and academic stature of Vermont's undergraduate student classes.
In the last six years, the university has spent more than $400-million adding and renovating facilities.
An avalanche of applications has followed. The university received 21,058 applications this year, more than double its 2002 total.
But prudent Vermonters need not fret the growth has not harmed the university's bottom line. To wit, its endowment has grown from $206-million to $350-million* on Mr. Fogel's watch.
*Note: none of which will be spent on football. The University of Vermont permantently abandoned NCAA football in 1974. No evidence indicates that it is missed by UVM students, faculty, or alumni.