Champlain College President Benjamin Ola. Akande is returning to St. Louis, Missouri, to assume a leadership role at one of the nation’s largest investment banking and financial services firms. His last day as President will be May 31, 2021. The Board of Trustees has accepted his resignation as announced in an email to the college community today.
“This past year has been unprecedented for all of us as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I take great pride in our collective accomplishments during a year of unimaginable adversity,” said Dr. Akande. “With great contributions from all involved during my tenure as President, we enhanced our delivery of Champlain’s mission and generated many successes that added value to the College. These would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of the entire Champlain community. I will forever be grateful to have experienced Champlain, the Burlington community, the wonders of Vermont, and its resilient and principled people.”
The Board of Trustees has named Dave Finney, Champlain College President Emeritus, to serve as Interim President effective June 1, 2021. Finney has a long history at Champlain. He served as President from 2005 to 2014, and rejoined the College in February of this year as a consultant to the President. In the longer-term, the Board will be working with the campus community on plans to conduct a search to select Champlain’s next President.
Charles Kittredge, Chair of Champlain College’s Board of Trustees, said, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to express my appreciation to Benjamin for his many contributions to Champlain. The College has benefitted from the leadership and commitment that he has demonstrated during his tenure. His efforts and accomplishments in service to Champlain’s students leave the College in a strong position.”
Kittredge added: “We are fortunate that Dave Finney has agreed to apply his experience and skills to serving Champlain as Interim President and look forward to working with him in this capacity. I am excited about the opportunities ahead for Champlain. The Board of Trustees and the leadership team remain focused on continuing to deliver an exceptional educational experience for students. We believe the compelling value proposition of Champlain’s career-focused education remains strong and will ensure our ability to succeed and thrive for the long-term.”
Benjamin Ola. Akande joined Champlain College in July 2020, as the College’s ninth President. Under his leadership, the College’s preparations in the face of the pandemic enabled Champlain to sustain the health and safety of its community during the last year. During Benjamin’s tenure, traditional undergraduate applications doubled, institutional fundraising increased significantly, and the College forged partnerships that will pay dividends to the College into the future. He also made significant and strategic additions to the institutional leadership team; ignited the College’s commitment and actions around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging; and secured approval on a record-setting seven new academic programs over the last year.
Benjamin also led the development of Champlain 2030, a vision and strategic plan for the College, driven by significant community involvement, that will lay the foundation for Champlain’s future success.