Middlebury Health Services Director and nurse practitioner Sandy Robinson is retiring after eight years with the college. Robinson’s departure is met with both gratitude for her service and anticipation for the future under the leadership of her successor, Alison Finch.
Robinson began working at Middlebury in December 2015, when she managed the Health Center’s daily operations while also running a part-time clinical practice. She then assumed the role of director of Health Services in October 2020.
Robinson helped guide the college through the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic and the creation of new policies to protect the Middlebury community. Her journey into the healthcare field was the result of her deep-seated desire to make an impact.
“A career in Nursing offers so many options and opportunities,” Robinson wrote in an email to The Campus. “I was always looking for the next thing that I could do to make a bigger impact. I loved taking care of individual patients, but then felt that I could affect the care of many patients by looking at systems and processes of care.”
Robinson's tenure as director of Health Services was marked by numerous achievements and memorable moments during the Covid-19 pandemic. She spoke of the satisfaction she found in executing key routine tasks, many of which became even more important in the midst of the pandemic, such as ensuring that incoming students were adequately vaccinated.
Robinson said the pinnacle of her career came during Covid-19 when she led a dedicated team in successfully bringing students back to campus safely in the fall of 2020.
“It was some of the hardest and most important work that I have ever done,” Robinson wrote. “The big payoff was that day in August of 2020 when we welcomed students back to our testing center at Virtue Field House. One student said to me, ‘I was terrified to come back. Then when I saw all of this, I knew I was safe.’ Huge. My best day at Middlebury.”
Looking to the future, Robinson offered insights into the evolving landscape of healthcare services for college students. She emphasized the importance of reaching out to students to ensure they know how to access services. She highlighted Middlebury's collaborative, multidisciplinary model of care, which supports students comprehensively and addresses their unique needs.
“College health centers are still evolving systems and processes for care to meet the needs of students who were adversely affected in their education by the isolation of the pandemic,” she wrote. “Other students may have experienced marginalization or have no experience in accessing health care. Reaching out to students so that they know to access services is important work. The health and wellness needs of emerging adults continue to evolve and change. College health services need to be able to respond."
As she enters retirement, Robinson looks forward to spending more time with her family, reconnecting with friends and enjoying the natural beauty of Vermont. She intends to remain a familiar face at Middlebury College sporting events, ensuring her connection with the college community endures.
Barbara McCall, associate vice president for student health and well-being, commended Robinson’s contributions as exceptional during her time at Middlebury.
“[Robinson] pioneered new ways to serve students in Centeno House, our first teams of contact tracers, and was integral to the COVID Ops team that worked to think through and then meet all of the needs students might have in quarantine and isolation in the early months of the pandemic,” McCall wrote in an email to The Campus. “She was a valued member of the leadership team in the Center for Health and Wellness.”
McCall expressed excitement about welcoming Alison Finch as the new director of Health Services, recognizing that Robinson’s legacy will undoubtedly inspire future endeavors in student health and well-being at Middlebury College.
William Reed '23.5 (he/him) is a News Editor.
He previously served as a Layout Editor and a Staff Writer. Will spent this past summer in Boston, covering news for NBC Boston. He also interned as a reporter with the Addison County Independent in Middlebury during the summer of 2022.
Will is studying English with a minor in studio art. He also writes for Clover Fashion Magazine and is a member Middlebury's ceramics club.