Laurie L. Patton
Laurie L. Patton is the 17th president of Middlebury, and the first woman to lead the institution in its 222-year history.
In her inaugural address, Patton challenged the community “to have more and better arguments, with greater respect, stronger resilience, and deeper wisdom.” Envisioning Middlebury, the college’s 2017 strategic plan, was designed to fulfill this goal.
In 2022, under Patton’s leadership, Middlebury received a $25M grant for the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation—the largest programmatic grant in the college’s history. The initiative views the study and development of conflict transformation skills as a liberal art, and supports wide-ranging initiatives in high-school, undergraduate, graduate, global, and experiential learning, where students learn and practice different approaches to conflict management and resolution.
In 2019, she announced Energy2028, Middlebury’s plan to address the threat of climate change after its achievement of carbon neutrality in 2016. The core campus of the college will be completely powered by renewable energy in seven years.
Patton is an authority on South Asian history, culture, and religion, and religion in the public square. She is the author or editor of ten scholarly books and three books of poems, and has translated the classical Sanskrit text, The Bhagavad Gita.
Patton earned her BA from Harvard University in 1983 and her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1991. She was president of the American Academy of Religion in 2019 and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018 in two categories, philosophy/religion and education.