Students, faculty and staff congregated in the Gorge April 20 to formally welcome new President Robert (Bob) W. Allen and his wife Karen. Bob Allen is currently President and CEO of The Windham Foundation of Grafton, Vt., and an experienced leader of academic and business institutions. He will succeed Paul Fonteyn, the College’s president for the past eight years, who is retiring. Allen will assume the presidency on July 1st.
“Bob Allen is an inspired choice,” said Dr. Anthony Cortese, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. “Bob’s passion for the school’s mission, his commitment to Vermont and his background in academia, business and non-profit leadership is the unique combination of talents that Green Mountain needs.
“We are forever grateful to our retiring president Paul Fonteyn, whose leadership has been critical in expanding the quality of the faculty and students and bringing national recognition to Green Mountain College. Bob is the right person to continue his work.”
Allen served President and CEO of The Windham Foundation since 2011. Prior to this role, Allen was a senior executive of the Vermont Country Store for 25 years, was named president and CEO of the company in 1994, and retired in 2005. During his time in office, the company dramatically expanded, with the number of employees growing from 50 to more than 600, with profit sharing and annual bonuses awarded every year. After retiring from Vermont Country Store, Allen worked as a business consultant and interim president of the Direct Marketing Association in New York City before joining the Windham Foundation.
From 1995 to 2007, Allen served on the board of Champlain College, which he chaired from 2005 to 2007. He headed the search committee that brought former college president David Finney to Champlain in 2005, and was the co-chair of the college’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. All of the recommendations of that committee were implemented within six months of its report, including the appointment of a diversity and inclusion officer. Champlain continues to be a leading institution in promoting the benefit of greater campus diversity.
“The mission of Green Mountain College to foster a sustainable future is what drew me to applying for the presidency,” said Allen. “We must move as quickly as possible to a more sustainable society. My generation – the Baby Boomers – set out to change the world, but unfortunately, we have failed to live up to our goals. Future generations have the enormous task of fixing the situation we have created, and Green Mountain is committed to being a part of the solution. Green Mountain College will succeed by staying true to its mission and becoming even more focused on fostering the global ideals of environmental and individual responsibility, civic engagement and entrepreneurial spirit. I am excited to have the opportunity to help lead that effort.”
Allen is a first generation college graduate, with a Magna Cum Laude degree in mathematics and a minor in economics from the University of Rhode Island. He and his wife, Karen, are residents of Dorset, Vermont, where Allen served on the local school board as well as serving as a trustee of Burr and Burton Academy of Manchester, Vermont. They have two children; daughter Chelsea and son Connor.
A national search for president Fonteyn’s successor began in September 2015, when he announced his plan to retire at the end of the academic year. The Presidential Search Committee was co-chaired by College trustees Deborah Granquist and Robert Charlebois and included six trustees and representatives of the faculty, staff and student government. The Committee selected Allen from a pool of 68 applicants.