Eddie Federwisch, director of equine studies and riding at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Va., announced June 24 that he is leaving the college. He will direct the equestrian program at the Savannah College of Art and Design (Ga.) beginning in early August.
Federwisch did not respond to repeated requests for comment about his departure, and Virginia Intermont has not named a replacement as of press time.
“This is a bittersweet change for VI. We love Eddie and will miss him a great deal,” said Virginia Intermont President Clorisa Phillips in a statement. “At the same time, it is exciting for him to venture out and expand his horizons, which he has been interested in doing for some time.”
Federwisch, 49, started at Virginia Intermont in 1993 as a part-time riding instructor. He took over as director of the equestrian program a year later. At the time, only 32 students were enrolled on the riding team, which ranked last in regional Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competition standings. Federwisch coached teams to numerous IHSA Zone 4 and national titles, including IHSA Collegiate Cup victories in 2004, 2005 and 2007.
Virginia Intermont also announced July 9 that Sue Glover Wyatt, horse manager of the Virginia Intermont Riding Center and coach of the American National Riding Commission team, is leaving the college. She'll serve as director of equestrian at Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.).
Federwisch and Wyatt’s decisions to leave Virginia Intermont came shortly after the announcement that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges board voted to revoke Virginia Intermont’s accreditation. The school was placed on probation last December for failing to retain adequate financial resources and is in the process of appealing the commission’s June 20 decision. The school remains accredited at the moment.
An anonymous donor pledged $2.5 million to Virginia Intermont so the school could retain its accreditation—with the condition that the school raise $500,000 of its own by June 30. As of July 5, the school had raised about half that amount and was continuing fundraising efforts.
Federwisch’s duties at SCAD will include leading the search for a new academic program coordinator for equestrian studies, as well as teaching classes and working with coach Ashley Kelly.
“Eddie is the right person in the right place at the right time to lead the equestrian program here at SCAD,” said Phil Alletto, SCAD’s vice president for student services. “The combination of his experience, personality and well-deserved reputation, with SCAD’s resources, facilities and commitment to quality, are a recipe for success. He’s a skilled equestrian, a natural leader and very good communicator. Spend five minutes around him, and you can’t help but be affected by his passion.”