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W&L Trustee, Alumnus Named Sewanee President

John M. McCardell Jr., a 1971 graduate of Washington and Lee and a member of the Board of Trustees since 2008, was named today as the vice chancellor and president of the University of the South-Sewanee. John is president emeritus of Middlebury College in Vermont, where he served from 1992 to 2004. Sewanee’s announcement, including a video interview with John, is available on the Sewanee Web site.

“This is clearly a wonderful opportunity for John and an excellent decision by Sewanee,” said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “Washington and Lee has benefited from John’s experience, wise counsel and steadfast support as a trustee, and I will now look forward to working with him as a fellow president of a peer institution.”

Noting that the appointment will mean that John will be stepping down from W&L’s board, J. Donald Childress of Atlanta, Ga., rector of the W&L board said: ”During his tenure on the W&L Board, John has given us the unique perspective of a professional academic. We will miss his wisdom, judgment and collegiality. We congratulate Sewanee on its insightful selection of John.”

Since stepping down as Middlebury’s president, John had returned to the classroom. He specializes in 19th-century U.S. history and is the author of The Idea of a Southern Nation. In addition, John is nationally known for having founded Choose Responsibility, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage the public in informed and dispassionate debate about the effects of legislation mandating a legal drinking age of 21. Additionally, he co-sponsored the Amethyst Initiative, a statement signed by 135 college and university presidents that challenges the effectiveness of current drinking-age laws. According to the announcement from Sewanee, he will remain as president of Choose Responsibility through June 30 but will remain active in the issue.

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