Matthew Derr

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President Matthew Derr smiling and standing outside his home in Craftsbury Common, VT in front of a white paper birch tree and a green hemlock hedge
President Matthew Derr stands outside his home in Craftsbury Common, VT
Matthew Derr
11th President of
Sterling College
Assumed office
May 2012
Preceded byWill Wootton
Personal details
Born (1967-07-12) July 12, 1967 (age 52)
Flint, Michigan
Domestic partnerJulian Sharp
ResidenceCraftsbury Common, Vermont, U.S.
Alma materAntioch College, University of Michigan, New York University
WebsiteSterling College President Matthew Derr

Matthew Derr (born July 12, 1967) is a higher education leader and was appointed the 11th President of Sterling College[1] in May 2012. In December 2010, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education awarded Derr with the organization's Chief Executive Leadership Award[2] and the Great Lakes Colleges Association recognized his efforts on behalf of liberal education with a visiting fellowship.

Professional life[edit]

Under Derr’s leadership, Sterling, which is among the smallest liberal arts colleges in the nation, has experienced a period of rapid growth in student enrollment and philanthropic support, through the largest successful fundraising campaign in institutional history.[3] Sterling expanded its emphasis on global field studies in 2016 with support from the Endeavor Foundation[4] and launched the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems,[5] including, in 2015, a continuing education program named the School of the New American Farmstead.[6]

The Sterling mission is focused on environmental stewardship.[7] During Derr’s tenure, the college received national attention for becoming one of the first institutions in the U.S. to divest from fossil fuels.[8] Sterling has been recognized for its sustainability initiatives by Sierra Magazine[9] and earned a STARS Gold Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.[10] The Real Food Challenge ranked Sterling the number one college in the U.S. for two consecutive years, 2015 and 2016, for its commitment to serving locally sourced sustainably produced food.[11]

Prior to Sterling, Derr served as an alumni leader and ultimately Interim President[12] of his alma mater, Antioch College, where he is credited with successfully leading the effort to revive the institution.[13]

For more than a decade Derr was affiliated with the Walnut Hill School for the Arts where he served in a number of roles, including Acting and Associate Headmaster. He has also served in senior admission roles at Earlham College and Connecticut College.

Personal life[edit]

Derr was born in Flint, Michigan. His grandparents and parents were autoworkers. He attended public schools before earning a Bachelor of Arts in History from Antioch College and Masters of Social Work in Community Organizing and Social Systems from the University of Michigan. He has also studied at the George Heyman Center for Philanthropy at New York University.[14]

President Derr is one of a handful of openly gay college presidents in the United States.[15] He currently lives in Craftsbury Common, Vermont with his partner Julian Sharp, who is also an alumnus of Antioch College. Sharp is a retired trustee of the Unitarian Universalist Association and presently Director of Community Outreach and a member of the teaching faculty at Sterling College.


  1. ^ "Vt.'s Sterling College names new president". Associated Press. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  2. ^ "CASE - The Chief Executive Leadership Award". Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  3. ^ "Sterling College Launches Largest Fundraising Campaign in College's History". VTDigger. 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  4. ^ "Sterling College Receives $225,000 Foundation Grant to Expand Global Field Studies". VTDigger. 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  5. ^ Albright, Charlotte. "Sterling College Cuts Ribbon On Expanding Ag and Food Center". Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  6. ^ "Want to Start a New American Farmstead? Go to School". Civil Eats. 2016-03-24. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  7. ^ "Environmental Stewardship | Sterling College in Vermont | Environment". Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  8. ^ Flagg, Kathryn. "Sterling College Pledges to Divest From Fossil Fuels". Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  9. ^ "Full Ranking". 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  10. ^ "Sterling College | Scorecard | Institutions | AASHE STARS". Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  11. ^ "Sterling College claims #1 for real food on campus for second year in a row | Vermont Business Magazine". Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  12. ^ "Derr tapped as interim college head". Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  13. ^ "On Friday, Antioch independent once again". Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  14. ^ "Matthew Derr - Sterling College". Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  15. ^ "Current Members". 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2016-08-11.