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Skidmore College

Celebrating the Glotzbach era at Skidmore College

October 30, 2023
by James Helicke

Skidmore faculty, administrators, trustees, and alumni celebrated the era of President Emeritus Philip A. Glotzbach — 17 years of impressive achievement and growth that helped transform Skidmore into the leading liberal arts college that it is today.  

The Oct. 18 panel “Celebrating the Era of Philip A. Glotzbach” coincided with the 20th anniversary of Glotzbach’s inauguration as president in October 2003 and capped a yearlong celebration of Skidmore College’s College Centennial.  

“The story of the Glotzbach era is also the story of the continued rise and excellence of Skidmore College,” said President Marc Conner, who praised his predecessor’s deep impact on the College and emphasized his continuous kindness during a transition that occurred at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Conner called Glotzbach's tenure "one of the defining presidencies of the 21st century for liberal arts colleges."

President Emeritus Philip A. Glotzach, left, with President Marc C. Conner

President Emeritus Philip A. Glotzach, left, with President Marc C. Conner

Panelists included Suzanne Corbet Thomas ’62, a life trustee; ‌Gail Cummings-Danson, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of athletics; ‌Karen Kellogg, professor of environmental studies and sciences and David H. Porter Chair; Nigel Smith ’19, young alumni trustee; ‌W. Scott McGraw P ’12, a life trustee; and ‌Joshua Woodfork, vice president for strategic planning and institutional diversity. 

Under President Emeritus Glotzbach, “Skidmore achieved heightened visibility — it moved from being on a student’s safe school list to being a first choice, and student applications soared,” said Professor of English Emerita and former Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Kress, who facilitated the panel.  

Many of the panelists also pointed to the crucial role played by Marie Glotzbach, who served Skidmore alongside the president emeritus; launched important community initiatives including, Saratoga Reads, Saratoga Arts Fest, and Skidmore Cares; and continues to serve Skidmore as a faculty member in Skidmore’s Theater Department. 

In addition to Thomas and McGraw, former board chairs Linda Toohey, Judith Pick Eissner ‘64, and Nancy W. Hamilton ’77, as well as current board chair Jonathan P. Achenbaum ’77, were among many faculty, staff, retirees, alumni, trustees, and community members who attended the event in Skidmore’s Gannett Auditorium, where Glotzbach’s presidential portrait now hangs.  

President Emeritus Philip A. Glotzbach with students in the Glotzbach Atritum of the Billie Tisch Center for Integrated Sciences.

President Emeritus Philip A. Glotzbach with students in the Glotzbach Atrium of the Billie Tisch Center for Integrated Sciences that he played a leading role in building

During his tenure, Glotzbach oversaw major initiatives, including the transformation of Skidmore’s First-Year Experience program (2005), the opening of Northwoods Village (2006), construction of the 54,000-square-foot Arthur Zankel Music Center (2010), the building of Sussman Village (2013), and the launch of the Billie Tisch Center for Integrated Sciences, the largest single academic project in College history. 

Skidmore also achieved record applications for admission, quadrupled its financial aid budget, and saw strong growth in admissions for domestic students of color, first-generation college students, and international students. 

Glotzbach charted the path for Skidmore’s future through two successful 10-year strategic plans and the two most ambitious fundraising campaigns in Skidmore’s history, Creative Thought Bold Promise, which concluded in 2010 by raising $216.5 million, and Creating Our Future, which raised an additional $229.4 million for Skidmore.  

President Emeritus Philip A. Glotzbach with Marie Glotzbach on Skidmore's campus.

President Emeritus Philip A. Glotzbach with Marie Glotzbach on Skidmore's campus

With modesty, Glotzbach noted the important contributions of so many, including members of cabinet, faculty, trustees, students, and parents, in enabling Skidmore's achievements during his presidency.  

As president, “I think you get a lot more blame than you deserve sometimes, but you also get a lot more credit … Whatever we were able to do on my watch would not have been possible without the enormous contributions of so many people,” Glotzbach said, turning to Marie Glotzbach.  “We were full partners for this full time. I could not have done what I did without you.”  

A video made during the presidency of Philip A. Glotzbach, marking the first 15 of his 17-year tenure, was shown at the event.

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