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Landmark and Beacon College meeting On Wednesday, September 24th, the leaders of the only two colleges in the nation to exclusively serve students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and other associated learning differences- Beacon College and Landmark College- came together for a historical meeting to discuss possible collaborative efforts in the future. Presidents Hagerty and Eden of Beacon College and Landmark College respectively, discussed their visions for their institutions and shared common experiences, thoughts, and perspectives.

As both Dr. Hagerty and Dr. Eden are relatively new leaders of Beacon and Landmark, this is an ideal time to consider collaboration between the two colleges, both of which are committed to their founding mission and dedicated to meeting the needs of their student bodies. The unique position of these two colleges in the national higher education arena lends itself well to a spirit of camaraderie. The geographical location of the colleges brings an interesting dynamic to any possible collaboration. The two colleges are located about as far away as possible from one another on the East Coast, with Beacon located in Central Florida and Landmark situated in Southern Vermont.  Still, the similarities in goals of the two institutions and of the student population should lead to a relationship beneficial for the colleges and the students.

In this initial meeting, Dr. Eden and Dr. Monika Bissell, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Landmark College, Leesburg Train Depot toured the Beacon College campus with Dr. Hagerty, Dr. Bridgeman, Executive Vice President of Beacon College, and Andrew Marvin, Assistant Director of Admissions and a Beacon alumnus. The group visited key spots on campus, including the Kristin Michelle Mason Art Gallery, the new Park Street Terrace Apartments, and the Leesburg Railway Depot, which is currently being renovated by Beacon College for use as an interim Student Center. As the tour progressed, the group brainstormed ideas for future collaborative efforts as they recognized similarities in programs and student needs.

After the tour, a lunch meeting was held with Dr. Eden, Dr. Bissell, Dr. Bridgeman, Dr. Chandler, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Beacon College, and Dr. Hagerty. This provided an opportunity for casual discussion about the two Robert & Jane Weiner Writing Center colleges’ student body population and which efforts have worked well in improving academic and social aptitude. Dr. Chandler was enthused about the opportunity to speak with colleagues at another institution who truly understand what Beacon students are like. She said, “I really appreciated having the chance to exchange ideas and perspectives with these key leaders from Landmark College because they really get it. We could completely relate with one another, and that is something that is often missing from discussions with leaders from other colleges.”

While short, this proved to be a productive meeting, and we are appreciative of Dr. Eden and Dr. Bissell taking time to visit Beacon College, tour the campus, and meet with staff, faculty, and students. Dr. Hagerty and Executive Vice President Bridgeman will now travel to be hosted for a day on the Landmark campus in November. At the conclusion of these campus visits, a deliberate plan for collaboration in the areas of programming, outreach, and national positioning and recognition will be prepared.

In putting a fine point on the day, Dr. Hagerty said, “It was an honor to meet President Eden and Dr. Bissell and to have Dr. Hagerty and Dr. Eden the Beacon community host this historic moment. In meeting together, we were about the collaborative work that should be the hallmark of American higher education, but is all too rare. Both Landmark and Beacon have distinct missions and an essential, if not urgent, responsibility to prepare an undergraduate population of students who, as national data will attest, struggle to find the ‘right fit’ that our institutions uniquely provide.”