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McCardell visits Middlebury, enjoying Sewanee post

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College President Emeritus John McCardell Jr. is settling in well in his new position as chancellor and president of Sewanee: The University of the South.
McCardell and his wife, Bonnie, returned together to Middlebury this month for the first time in almost two years. It was quite a homecoming for McCardell, who joined the history faculty at Middlebury in 1976 and served as the college’s president from 1992 to 2004.
“Clearly, in the short time away, there were some changes,” said McCardell, who was in town to deliver an April 12 lecture, titled “History Teaches Us to Hope: Reflections on Teaching and the Historical Profession.”
The couple noted, among other things, the new Cross Street Bridge and related roundabout intersection. Middlebury College helped finance the new span, in a town-gown collaboration that included Ron Liebowitz, McCardell’s successor.
“It was a reminder that nothing stays the same, and that’s a good thing; I liked the bridge a lot,” McCardell said.
It proved a whirlwind trip for the McCardells, who stayed just over 25 hours before returning to Tennessee and Sewanee, where John McCardell has been the top administrator since July 1, 2010.
“Things are going great,” he said of Sewanee, a liberal arts college with a current enrollment of 1,450 students. That enrollment is pegged to increase to around 1,500 next year, according to McCardell. He noted Sewanee — which had its 26th Rhodes Scholar named this year — cut its tuition rate by 10 percent ($4,600) for the 2011-2012 year in order to open its doors to more applicants.
“Visits to the campus are up considerably and applications are up considerably,” McCardell said.
The university is in the beginning stages of a capital campaign, an exercise with which McCardell is very familiar. He engineered a successful capital campaign during the late 1990s at Middlebury that netted more than $200 million. Sewanee netted a similar amount during its most recent capital campaign in 2008.
McCardell, 62, is happy in his current job and has no plans to retire.
“We are committed here I think for a decent stretch,” he said

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