Laurie L. Patton was elected the 17th president of Middlebury on November 18, 2014. She began her duties as president on July 1, 2015, and will be Middlebury’s first woman president.
A graduate of Harvard University (BA, 1983) and the University of Chicago (PhD, 1991), Patton is an accomplished scholar and the author or editor of nine books on South Asian history, culture, and religion. In addition, she has translated the classical Sanskrit text The Bhagavad Gita and has written two books of poetry. She has lectured widely on interfaith issues and religion and public life, and consulted with White House offices on faith-based initiatives, as well as on civic engagement. In her capacity as a scholar of culture and society, she also has worked as a consultant on branding and identity for several national and international corporations. In May 2014, she was named the Alumna of the Year for 2014–15 at the University of Chicago.
Patton is a native New Englander. She grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts, the daughter of a cardiovascular surgeon and a social worker. The youngest of three children, Patton graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall. She credits her parents’ strong commitment to civic engagement for her lifelong interest in social issues.
Patton and her husband, Shalom Goldman, formerly a professor of religious studies and Middle Eastern studies at Duke University, live in Middlebury, Vermont. Goldman is a tenured professor in the Department of Religion at Middlebury College.