Office of the President

MAD bio photoA community organizer and educational leader, Matthew Derr was selected by the Board of Trustees to serve as the 11th president of Sterling College in 2012.

In 2011, President Derr was awarded the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Chief Executive of the Year award for his work leading the alumni effort to revitalize and reopen Antioch College, an effort that raised more than $20 million in giving and transferred assets of over $50 million. In his role at Antioch over three years, he developed a concept for a new undergraduate curriculum focused on issues related to sustainable agriculture and food systems.

At Sterling, President Derr led the effort to divest the Sterling endowment from fossil fuels and become only the third college in the United States to meet the challenge put forward by 350.org, the climate activist group led by Bill McKibben. Matthew serves as co-chair of Vermont’s Farm to Plate Taskforce on Workforce Development, as a founding member of the Vermont Higher Education Food Systems Consortium, as the Treasurer of the Association for Vermont Independent Colleges (AVIC), and starting in July 2015, as Secretary for the Work Colleges Consortium. He is a regular commentator and panelist on issues related to food systems, social justice, and sustainability issues. He has had opinion pieces published nationally and has research published by the Journal of Community Practice.

Earlier in his career, President Derr served in leadership positions in fundraising and enrollment in both secondary and higher education. He is a graduate of the prestigious School of Social Work at the University of Michigan, where Mr. Derr also served as a Visiting Fellow with the Great Lakes Colleges Association, an alliance of 13 selective, independent, colleges that works to strengthen learning in the tradition of the liberal arts.

President Derr holds a B.A. in History from Antioch College, an M.S.W. in Community Organizing from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and has further graduate studies at the George Heyman Center for Philanthropy at New York University.

Matthew and his partner Julian Sharp, an alumnus of Antioch College and trustee of the national Unitarian Universalist Society and the Craftsbury Care Center, live on-campus in Cedar Cottage and both enjoy active roles in the Sterling College and Craftsbury Common community. They spend much of their free time gardening and exploring Vermont while hiking, skiing, and birding.

President in the News

The Town Saved by Food, Edible Green Mountains

Hardwick Electric Ups Net Metering Cap, Vermont Public Radio

Vermont’s Sterling College to Inaugurate New President, New England Cable News

Yale and Harvard Are Losing the Fossil Fuel Divestment Game, Institutional Investor

Sterling College Launches a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Center, WAMC

Schools Addressing Students’ Fossil Fears Without Divesting, Bloomberg BNA

Blog Posts, Articles, Research & Presentations

The Civic Role of Higher Education (Huffington Post)

Why Sterling College Divested From Fossil Fuels (Huffington Post)

Sterling College: Aligning Our Investments with Our Values (Trillium Investment newsletter)

Endorsement for Civil Rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People Among Heterosexual College Students: Informing Socially Just Policy Advocacy (Journal of Community Practice)

24/7: The New Role of Food in American Life (presentation at New York University, October 2013)

Where the Opportunities Exist for Improved Socially Responsible Investing and Environmental Social Governance Returns (forthcoming, 11th Annual Foundation, Endowment, & Not for Profit Investment Summit, January 2014)

Contact the Office of the President

We welcome your interest in Sterling College and invite you to contact us. If you wish to arrange a meeting with the President, please contact Katie Lavin, Assistant to the President, at klavin@sterlingcollege.edu.

Matthew Derr
Sterling College
Office of the President
PO Box 72, 16 Sterling Drive
Craftsbury Common, VT 05827
(802) 586-7711 x 111