Derr delays retirement twice at president’s request

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Image source: UVM

Gary Derr is the vice president for operations and public safety.

Gary Derr, vice president for operations and public safety, postponed his retirement twice at UVM President Suresh Garimella’s request, according to a July 12 letter and an Oct. 5 email.

Garimella originally announced Derr postponed his planned retirement to stay through the opening of the fall semester, according to the letter.

Garimella informed faculty and staff of the second delay, which will postpone Derr’s retirement to the end of this academic year, in the Oct. 5 email.

The only public announcement of Derr’s retirement came near the bottom of the Sept. 27 email, which primarily served to address several award recipients.

The Oct. 5 email to faculty and staff about Derr’s second retirement delay was not directly sent to the rest of the UVM community. However, the email was published online Oct. 8. 

However, Garimella stated he found it necessary for Derr to maintain his position through pandemic uncertainties, according to the Oct. 5 email.

“We must continue to be vigilant and take every step possible to keep UVM safe and healthy,” the Oct. 5 email stated. “One such step is to keep our tried and tested leader of campus safety in his role through the remainder of the 2021-22 academic year.”

Garimella was pleased Derr agreed to postpone his retirement until the end of this academic year, the Oct. 5 email stated.

“Gary [Derr] will continue to offer us his steady hand for a while longer,” the Oct. 5 email stated. “Gary agrees with me that it would not be prudent to make a major change in leadership with pandemic conditions changing so often.”

Derr played a substantial role in handling COVID-19 on campus, overseeing testing and quarantine, according to the letter.

“Our campus is keenly aware that Gary Derr, in his role as vice president for operations and public safety, has expertly helped UVM to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, now in its 20th month,” the Oct. 5 email stated. “However, operations […] continue to be impacted by the pandemic.”

When he retires, Derr plans to spend his time enjoying life in Danby, Vermont and spending more quality time with his wife, Lynn, according to the letter.

Derr declined to be interviewed about his decision to delay his retirement.

Garimella did not respond to the Cynic’s multiple requests for comment.