University provost to become new Skidmore president

Marc Conner will finish his four-year position as provost in July 2020

Marc Conner began his position as university
provost in 2017. Photo courtesy of the Washington and Lee University website.

Marc Conner began his position as university provost in 2017. Photo courtesy of the Washington and Lee University website.

Emma Stoffel

Provost Marc Conner is leaving Washington and Lee University after 24 years to become the next president of Skidmore College.

“I really do feel like our students when they’re seniors,” Conner said. “I feel like this place has prepared me for this huge challenge.”

Conner will continue in his position for the rest of the 2020-21 academic year before he starts his new position at the liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs, New York on July 1, 2020.

Conner’s career at Washington and Lee started as an assistant professor of English in 1996. He served as department chair in 2012, associate provost for two years starting in July 2013, and took over as full-time provost in July 2017.

“I knew I wanted to be a professor at a great liberal arts college,” Conner said. “I never thought I would find myself in rural Virginia.”

Conner said he has appreciated the experience of occupying both roles as provost and a professor because it’s helpful to better understand faculty.

“I think it’s important that the chief academic officer at Washington and Lee is also a full professor, a fully functioning member of the faculty,” he said.

Conner described his time at Washington and Lee fondly because it allowed him to do whatever he wanted to do, which is why he says that stepping down has been “a very hard decision.”

But Conner felt it was time for a change and becoming president of Skidmore College was the opportunity for growth that he was looking for, he said.

After five months of research and interviews, Conner said he fell in love with Skidmore because the college has a similar outlook on education to Washington and Lee.

“I sort of realized over the last couple of years that I would like to try being a president of a liberal arts college,” he said. “I found that very exciting.”

What will he miss most about Washington and Lee? “Without question, the people,” Conner said.

“They inspire me, they teach me, and they make me want to stay committed with the liberal arts, which is really what being president at a liberal arts college is all about,” he said.

Conner said he will especially miss his spring term class that visits Ireland for four weeks to study folklore and literature.

“I am so grateful for all it’s done to get me ready for this,” he said. “I feel ready.”