Welcome to Sterling College
Sterling is a small college that thinks big, and acts on its convictions. Ours was among the first curricula in the United States to combine liberal arts study and practical training in an effort to prepare environmental stewards. Eating local, protecting our natural world, and generally being “green” have never been fads for us; they have been hallmarks of a Sterling College experience for three decades.
Recently a high school guidance counselor shared with one of my colleagues that when she advises students about applying, she wants them to know that there are many colleges that now “have” farms, Sterling, from her perspective, “is” a farm. Of course, Sterling is much more than its nationally known Sustainable Agriculture program, it is a liberal arts college that looks at the world through the lens of ecology, but, regardless of your academic passion, Sterling is a thoroughly authentic place.
Part of being a student at Sterling College is the joy of living in such a beautiful place. Craftsbury Common, Vermont is like no other college setting in America. The hills, forests, trails, and dirt roads that surround us are our laboratories. Whether your passion is climbing, skiing, winter camping, or observing and studying the flora and fauna, Sterling is among the last colleges in New England that can still provide such a vibrant rural and natural experience to its students.
Sterling also strives to be an educational community in which people of all backgrounds and identities feel at home, where our differences are embraced, and where individuals take responsibility for furthering the dignity of all. Our students come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and experiences and the College is proud to offer a robust financial aid program.
Among the other significant distinctions you will find at Sterling College is its commitment to work. "Working Hands, Working Minds" is much more than a marketing tag line or motto for us, it describes who we are as a community. One of only seven federal recognized work colleges, and the only one in New England, Sterling receives funding for its work program and 100% of its students have jobs on campus.
We welcome you to learn more about this special place. In doing so, I think you will find something out about yourself as well. Sterling is not for everyone, perhaps no college is, but this college is different. It won’t take you long to see why, and we invite you to find out for yourself.
Warm greetings from a snow covered Craftsbury Common, Vermont,
Matthew Allen Derr
About the President
Following the retirement of William Wootton, after six years of service to Sterling College, Matthew Allen Derr was chosen to become the 11th President of the College by the Board of Trustees.
Prior to taking up his new role at Sterling, President Derr served as visiting fellow with the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), an alliance of 13 selective, independent, colleges that works to strengthen learning in the tradition of the liberal arts.
President Derr came to the GLCA from his post as Interim President of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, having led an alumni effort to revitalize and reopen the college, an effort that raised more than $20 million in giving and transferred assets of over $50 million.
In 2011 President Derr was awarded the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Chief Executive of the Year award for the Midwest for his work on behalf of Antioch and the GLCA.
Earlier in his career, President Derr served in fundraising and enrollment roles at Earlham College, Connecticut College, The Boston Conservatory, and for twelve years at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts. The Sterling College Board of Trustees appointed Mr. Derr from a large pool of highly qualified applicants because of his demonstrated expertise in institutional advancement, enrollment planning, and most significantly his background in institutional planning at similar institutions.
President Derr holds a Bachelor of Art in History from Antioch College, an M.S.W. in Community Organizing from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and has further studies at the George Heyman Center for Philanthropy at New York University.
Matthew and his partner Julian Sharp moved from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Craftsbury Common in August 2012.