President E. Thomas Sullivan made the comments Monday during a brief meeting with reporters on his first day leading UVM.
He says the need to balance tough financial times with the need to ensure quality education is something he will be confronting.
Sullivan is a lawyer and a former vice president and provost from the University of Minnesota.
He was chosen in February by the UVM Board of Trustees to succeed Daniel Fogel, who retired last August after nine years as president.
After Fogel's departure, former UVM provost and professor John Bramley served as interim president.