Carrier's departure from NCV natural

March 17, 2005

Bulletin Staff Writer

Dr. Ronald Carrier's departure as director of the New College of Virginia is part of the natural evolution of the project, according to Harry Cerino, the executive director of The Harvest Foundation.

The foundation board hired Carrier in June for $10,000 a month, with no benefits and only minor travel expenses, to develop a non-traditional college as recommended in a planning report, Cerino said. He will be paid through the end of March.

Carrier devised a 28-month bachelor's degree program that also includes an Internet presence and weekend college for non-traditional students.

In late December, Carrier recommended that "we bring in another team" to take his proposed New College of Virginia to the next level of implementation, Cerino said, adding that he mentioned it to The Harvest Foundation board in late February.

"It was clear he wasn't about to move to Martinsville and be president of the school," Cerino said. "In my heart of hearts," he added, "I was hoping he would move here."

Carrier was not secretive about his plan to leave the college, Cerino said. "One thing that surprised me was that it was such a surprise" when his retirement was announced on Tuesday.

The Harvest Foundation board has agreed that if the college becomes a reality and reflects Carrier's model, it will support naming the institution Carrier College. Cerino and several board members said it would be a fitting tribute to the man who has been instrumental in getting the college this far.

"Dr. Carrier was, as one would expect, demure and said, 'Aw shucks, you don't have to do that,'" Cerino said. "Our feeling was that he had led us through the wilderness for a large part of our journey and it would be a nice thing to do. But we realize it may not be that."

If the college is state-supported, its name likely would be up to the governor and General Assembly, Cerino said.

The board also named a New College Planning Commission to work with government, the private sector and the new director to establish the college. One of its initial roles, members have said, is to hire a director. No salary has been set for the position, Cerino said, adding that it will depend on the person's experience and credentials.

Despite the college's evolution, Cerino said he is "very impatient, but that's my problem. We've made progress and I see momentum and I hope as we move into the next phase, the planning group is really going to take hold of developing the details to make this thing happen. We're inventing the bicycle as we're riding it."


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