Hampshire College president steps down

Hampshire County

Hampshire College’s president has resigned, school officials announced late Friday afternoon. 

Miriam Nelson, who has been the college’s president for nine months, addressed the Hampshire community in a letter saying that since the announcement of the school seeking a strategic partner amid its financial crisis, “I have been gratified by the outpouring of support for Hampshire. Yet even as we made some progress in finding a sustainable and impactful future, the mere fact that we were doing so pulled our community apart.” 

Nelson stated: 

So long as I were to remain president of Hampshire, the community’s feelings about me would be a distraction from the necessary work. I am confident a new leader will work within a more favorable environment and find the path to daylight that has eluded me. 

Nelson said she notified Interim Chairman Luis Hernandez and Vice Chair Kim Saal of her resignation, which went into effect at 4 p.m., Friday afternoon. She said this a moment for the Hampshire community to come together. 

“For to not come together will surely be the demise of this extraordinary institution,” she added. 

In a letter to the college community, Hernandez said Nelson had stepped down from her position as president and that she’s served the college “honorably and well” in the nine months she’s been there.

The Hampshire College Board voted to appoint Kenneth Rosenthal as interim president. 

“It is with a heavy heart that I accept her resignation. In the nine months she has been with us, Mim has served the College honorably and well, and I am dismayed by what she has had to endure,” Hernandez stated in the letter. “What Mim tried to do was emphasize that Hampshire’s long-term viability is an existential question, and I hope we can now move toward actually addressing that issue together. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I thank Mim for her efforts and wish her the very best for the future.” 

Nelson is the third person to resign from Hampshire College amid the institution’s financial crisis.  

Board member Mingda Zhao and Board Chair Gayle Hill also resigned in March and early April.

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