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Good Fortune Next Time: Life, Death, Irony and the Administration of Very Small Colleges by Will Wootton


280 pp., 6 x 9, Paperback, French flaps. ISBN: 978-1-928755-14-2-1
$17.95 USD. postage free in the U.S.

Will Wootton began this book as a narrative about the nation’s small colleges and the ins and outs of their administration. But as he wrote, the narrative began broadening into a wide-ranging excursion that led to stories of his ranching and fly-fishing in Colorado, cooking in Vermont, reporting and editing in Boston and Chinatown, and playing club hockey during his years at Marlboro College in southern Vermont. Good Fortune Next Time tracks Wootton’s personal and professional odyssey through academia, ending with his six years as president of Sterling College in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, where he paces back and forth on the “porch of worry.”

A chapter from Good Fortune Next Time, Many Dead, Many Dying,” appeared in the Santa Fe Writers Project.


Will Wootton Portrait Will Wootton was President of Sterling College – the smallest liberal arts college in the nation – from 2006 to 2012. Prior to Sterling, he was Vice President for Institutional Advancement of Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, and for nineteen years before then, he was at Marlboro College, where he became Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Over the years he has published scores of articles, first for the Burlington Free Press where he was a reporter, and over the years for college publications that he started and for the Chronicle of Higher Education, among them, “The Real Reason Small Colleges Fail,” “Fire Your Food Service and Grow Your Own,” “We Designed a Three Year Degree . . . And Survived,” a “Prediction of Small Colleges’ Death Could Be Premature.” He and his wife Lulu live in Craftsbury Common, Vermont.



“At a time when the national discussion of higher education is so focused on utility, running things “like a business,” and scale, Will Wootton reminds us of the joys and the value of small liberal arts colleges and why we should love them and fight — as he did mightily for their survival. Along the way we share his story and a delightful story it is, as Will remains a raconteur, humorous story teller, and a kind human being. This is a book for everyone who works in a small college and, importantly, for all those who don’t.”  – Paul LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University

“There may not be a funnier or more honest account of life in higher education. In between crises, the author treats the reader to lazy fly fishing afternoons from the Rockies to the Green Mountains, delivering lyrical passages worthy of a John Muir or a Barry Lopez. In the end it is the reader who get hooked.”  – 
Jonathan Larsen, former editor of High Times and The Village Voice


Book By Former Sterling College President Rivets Attention
The Hardwick Gazette

Additional information

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 7.25 × 5.25 in

Will Wootton

Page Count





Paperback, French flaps

Co-Published With

Mandel Vilar Press and Dryad Press

Publication Date

Nov. 2017