Longtime VSAC chief Don Vickers plans retirement
Don Vickers used the occasion of his 41st anniversary as an employee of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) to publicly announce his plans to retire as the organization’s chief executive on June 30, 2013.
Vickers joined VSAC as director of state grant programs in 1971, when the organization had fewer than 10 employees. A graduate of Johnson State College, Vickers had previously worked as the school’s director of financial aid, placement, and faculty housing. He served in several capacities at VSAC prior to assuming his current position as president and CEO in 1988.
Vickers is known locally and nationally as a tireless advocate for college access and affordability, which has earned him accolades and awards from a number of organizations focused on educational or economic opportunity.
Dorothy Mitchell, chair of the VSAC Board of Directors, noted: “Don has never forgotten his own humble beginnings and makes every decision with an eye toward what will be most beneficial for the students and families VSAC serves. He believes deeply that each generation owes the next generation of students a chance at a better future.”
In his years as CEO, Vickers led efforts to expand VSAC’s career exploration and college planning and financing services, resulting in significant growth in VSAC’s workforce. The organization, based in Winooski, employs about 250 and was a major catalyst for the project that reshaped the city’s downtown and made it a more vibrant community.
Among its many services, VSAC oversees:
· career and college planning services for all Vermonters
· administration of need-based state education grants, many public and private scholarships, and private student loans
· outreach programs assisting low-income and first-generation college-bound students
· the state’s 529 college savings plan
Prior to 2010, VSAC also guaranteed, financed, and serviced federal education loans. The government’s new direct lending model ended VSAC’s role in making federal loans. The agency is planning to become a direct loan servicer under contract to the government.
The VSAC board plans to conduct a nationwide search for Vickers’ successor. It expects to begin the recruitment process later this fall and to select a new CEO next spring.