But Who IS Gary Derr?

Gary Derr

We’ve all gotten the “UVM News You Should Know” emails from the elusive Gary Derr, but the question that we’re all REALLY asking is…who is Gary Derr??? After his special guest appearance in the Davis Center Ball Pit and last year’s fabulous “Email Gary Derr Day”, I figured it was time to find out. That’s why this week, I interviewed the mysterious Gary Derr in an exclusive interview about what life is like through Gary Derr’s eyes. Read our interview with the ultimate behind-the-scenes-man to get the scoop…

When did you start working at UVM? What were you doing when you began here?

I started in July 2000 in the president/provost office.  Prior to that I was the Dean of Students at Green Mountain College for 10 years.

What does your job now entail?

I provide executive level support to a variety of operations in the President’s Office.  I have a great staff that do an amazing job.  Together we manage all presidential events including convocation and commencement.  I manage senior level searches.  I direct the administrative review process.  And anything else the President asks me to do! The office is complex and never slow.  There is always something going on.

How do you feel about “Email Gary Derr” Day? How does it feel to be a bit of a campus celebrity?

It was a great day!  A lot of fun.  I tried to respond to every email – took a while.  One student replied to my message back that he was impressed that I replied even at 11:00 p.m.  I got some amazing messages.  I am humbled by my celebrity standing!

How long have you lived in Burlington and what brought you here?

I actually do not live in Burlington.  I live in a small town – Danby, Vermont – about two hours south of UVM.  During the summer months I live on board a small sail boat on Lake Champlain.  In the winter months, I rent a small cabin in Panton, Vermont.  We are a two career family in a small state, so we make it work. My wife loves her work in Rutland County and I love my work at UVM.  I came to UVM to in 1998 to get my doctorate degree in higher education.  I graduated in 2002.

What are some of your favorite things to do around Burlington?

I love to do anything on Lake Champlain.  I also think that the restaurant options in the Burlington are are amazing.

When is your favorite Vermont season? Why?

I know this is going to sound silly, but all four are my favorite for different reasons.  Winter – we love to snowshoe, cross country ski, and down hill ski.  We also enjoy sitting by the wood stove reading a book.  Spring –  great to watch everything start to come alive.  We enjoy walking in the woods and see the flora and fauna start to emerge.  Seeing the first blue bird return to the boxes is always a treat.  Summer – we garden way to much.  We have extensive organic vegetable gardens and flower gardens.  We grow all our vegetables for the year so it is a lot of work.  We have a small pond and after a long day floating on inner tubes is about as relaxing as it can get!  Summer we also spend time sailing Lake Champlain.  What a great experience.  Fall is spectacular as the leaves change.  Hiking is always great this time of year.

Sorry, all Vermont seasons are my favorite!

What is your favorite place to eat on campus? What is your favorite food?

I eat mostly in the Waterman Cafe and Waterman Manor because my office is located in Waterman.  I love the fresh salads they offer often with local produce.

My favorite food is anything made with local organic ingredients.  Right now our favorite dinner is tomatoes and basil with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and fresh corn both from our gardens.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

The Davis Center is amazing.  It is hard to remember the campus with out the Davis Center.  It is such hub of activity for all members of the UVM community.

What are your favorite events to attend on campus?

Anything student related.  I do not get out often enough because of my schedule.  Commencement is my most favorite event each year. It is great to celebrate the accomplishments of our students.  To see the excitement in their eyes and the pride of their family members is really moving.  Commencement is a reminder of why we are all here!