With "Colbert Nation" Behind Him, John McCardell Moves On | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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With "Colbert Nation" Behind Him, John McCardell Moves On 

What do you do after 13 years at the helm of Middlebury College?

Former prez John McCardell surprised everyone — including this alumna — when he dedicated himself to a controversial cause: convincing Americans we'd all be safer if the legal drinking age was lowered to 18. 

Eloquent and distinguished, the Southern-accented McCardell made his case in an interview I did with him in August 2007. He went on to convince college presidents all over the country to join his so-called "Amethyst Initiative." Colbert Nation, too, toasted McCardell's efforts. His March 2009 appearance on "The Colbert Report" ranked as the third most popular episode of the year. 

Where do you go from there? South. Specifically, Sewanee: The University of the South. McCardell announced last week he will be the institution's new president. That's gotta be easier than debating Mothers Against Drunk Driving night after night.

Does that mean "last call" for Choose Responsibility, McCardell's Middlebury-based nonprofit? Nope. Board member Barrett Seaman will take it from here. He's a former Time correspondent who wrote a book called, Binge: Campus Life in an Age of Disconnection and Excess.

File photo: Matthew Thorsen.

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Paula Routly

Paula Routly

Paula Routly came to Vermont to attend Middlebury College. After graduation, she stayed and worked as a dance critic, arts writer, news reporter and editor before she started Seven Days newspaper with Pamela Polston in 1995. Routly covered arts news, then food, and, starting in 2008, focused her editorial energies... more


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