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Scolforo tapped as next Castleton University president

CASTLETON — Karen Scolforo will be Castleton University’s next President. The Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS) Board of Trustees voted unanimously for her appointment Sept. 28.
Scolforo, who most recently served as president of Central Penn College in Summerdale, Pa., rose to the top of more than 50 candidates during an extensive national search. During its annual retreat, the trustees roundly endorsed Scolforo’s leadership vision for the University at a time of dynamic change in higher education. Scolforo will begin her Castleton tenure in early December.
“Dr. Scolforo is just the kind of leader we were looking for: experienced, energetic and collaborative,” said VSCS Board Chair Martha O’Connor. “She led the development and implementation of Central Penn’s strategic plan with positive results. She places a high value on partnerships with the community. Over the course of her career, Dr. Scolforo has dedicated her career to sustaining strong institutions and, in particular, opening doors of opportunity for students.”
Scolforo will succeed President Dave Wolk, who has led the University for 16 years and who announced his retirement in March. The longest-serving president in Castleton’s history, Wolk oversaw transformational campus revitalization, increased academic programming, and active community engagement.
VSCS Chancellor Jeb Spaulding said of the board’s selection, “We know we can’t clone Dave Wolk, but I am confident that, in Karen Scolforo, the board of trustees has chosen a person with the right approach to leadership and management. I know Karen will bring a deep appreciation of the ‘Castleton Way’ and will lead a bright future for this important and beloved institution.”
Scolforo served as president of Central Penn College from 2013 to 2017. As CEO of the 1,400-student private college, she oversaw recruitment and retention of a diverse student body and doubled its endowment in three years. She led growth initiatives that resulted in increased applications and new academic programs at the baccalaureate and graduate levels. Her commitment to academic excellence is reflected in Central Penn’s new research and faculty professional development opportunities, academic technology integration, and the development of a rigorous academic program assessment process.
While completing her doctorate at the University of North Florida, Scolforo served as Executive Director of Fortis College in Jacksonville, Florida, where she developed new academic programming and led enrollment growth over four years. Previously, she served as president of Keiser University of Jacksonville and regional vice president of operations for Southeastern Colleges. During her time at Keiser, she led a 67 percent overall growth in that system’s enrollment.
Throughout her professional career, Scolforo has relied heavily upon shared governance, collaboration, and relationship-building to strengthen the colleges and universities at which she has worked.
She received a Doctor of Education, Educational Leadership with Cognate in Higher Education Administration and Finance from the University of North Florida in 2012, holds a Master of Fine Arts from Southern New Hampshire University and a Master of Arts from Rivier University. Originally from New England, Scolforo is looking forward to the opportunity to relocate closer to her family. She has a passion for the arts and the outdoors.
“I am very, very happy with the search process, which was collaborative, thoughtful and supportive of everyone’s points of view right from the beginning,” said search committee member and Professor of Geology Helen Mango. “Dr. Scolforo was our clear favorite coming out of the campus visits, and we are pleased that the various constituencies on campus agreed. We are impressed with her commitment to understanding Castleton’s strengths and culture, and are confident in her ability to face challenges in a positive, energetic and collaborative manner.”

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