Ronald D. Liebowitz was appointed as the 16th president of Middlebury College in April 2004. He had previously served as provost and executive vice president of the College, from 1997 until his appointment as president. From 1993-95, he was dean of the faculty, and from 1995-97, he was vice president of the College. From February to June 2002, Liebowitz served as acting president.
President Liebowitz joined the Middlebury faculty in 1984 as an instructor of geography and was promoted to associate professor in 1988 and full professor in 1993. He is a graduate of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where he majored in economics and geography, and competed as a varsity swimmer. He received his doctorate in geography from Columbia University in 1985.
Liebowitz and his wife Jessica moved into the College president’s official residence at 3 South Street during the summer of 2004, along with son David Heschel. Daughter Shoshana was born in May 2005 and son Ezra in October 2006.
Recognized as an authority on Russian economic and political geography, Liebowitz has authored scholarly articles related to Soviet and Russian regional economic policy, a field of expertise made more relevant recently by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recentralization of economic and political authority within the Russian state. Liebowitz, who spent two summers studying at Middlebury’s Russian Language School, is the editor of three books and the recipient of a number of national fellowships, including those from the National Council on Soviet and East European Research, the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX), the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the George F. Kennan Institute, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. He also served as the first board chair for the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE), an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-supported consortium of 81 liberal arts colleges that served as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration for national liberal arts colleges.
During the first three years of Liebowitz’s presidency, the College has completed a comprehensive strategic plan, whose focus is on providing greater access to a Middlebury education through an enhanced financial aid program; on ensuring the unique, human-intense nature of a Middlebury education by enhancing opportunities for student-faculty collaboration/research, small class size, and comprehensive mentoring; and on strengthening our students’ out-of-classroom opportunities by creating an environment in which students are encouraged to be intellectual risk-takers and to exercise their creativity.
During Liebowitz’s tenure as president, the College also signed an affiliation agreement with the Monterey Institute of International Studies; opened its C.V. Starr-Middlebury School Abroad in China (Hangzhou); established its eighth School Abroad in the Middle East (Alexandria, Egypt); created an M.A. program in Chinese through our School of Chinese and Monterey; and, in collaboration with Brandeis University, will initiate the College’s 10th intensive summer Language School — the Brandeis-Middlebury School of Hebrew — during the summer of 2008.
Of the 16 presidents in Middlebury’s 200-plus-year history, Liebowitz is the third to be chosen from inside the institution. In the 19th century, Middlebury faculty member Ezra Brainerd was appointed president, and John McCardell was acting president and a longtime faculty member when he became president in 1992.more » « less