The Center for Rural Studies, addressing social, economic, and resource-based issues of rural people and communities since 1978
30th Anniversary Symposium Details
October 4 symposium agenda
October 4 speaker information
CRS scrapbook
Tell CRS congratulations

CRS homepage
tele 802.656.3021 or email

30th Anniversary Symposium -
CRS Scrapbook

Cornelia Flora, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development

"Fred and the CRS have consistently contributed to national efforts for sound rural development. He was critical in the development of the Take Charge materials that still form the basis for community development practice for cooperative extension across the country and in other parts of the world. Fred was a valued contributor to our work on self-development in rural communities, always providing insights and analysis key to moving the work forward. His sense of humor and ability to ask hard questions have made him an ideal colleague over the years."

John and Sandra Dooley

"We are pleased to participate in this celebration of the many ways in which the Center for Rural Studies has contributed to the strength and vibrancy of Vermont’s communities."

Judy Kelly

"What a great job the Center has done for Vermont. In addition to bringing focus on regional issues that affect all Vermonters whether it is transportation, farming or Vermont demographics we see or read about, the Center has been the guardian of the US/Vermont Census data and has shared it with Vermonters in so many unique ways. Thanks Fred and staff. You have given so much blood, sweat and tears to this valuable resource and made it work!"

Cheryl and Monty Fischer

"I've known the Center from the beginning. Its thoughtful and probing work has been an important building block that is helping researchers and practitioners alike demonstrate that globalization can go only so far, and that real food, energy, economic and cultural security requires that we, Vermont, flip the current economic, social and environmental paradigm on its head. Local is ‘the core value around which we are building our future and with the help of the Center and its work, Vermont is not just talking, but forging that 21st century culture. Congratulations."

Bill Kelly

"Fred 'Fritz' Schmidt was the founder of CRS and has been its life blood for the entire 30 years. UVM supported the idea of a CRS but Fritz had to generate almost all the funding. He has obviously been very successful and his devotion and hard work is recognized with this celebration."

Kevin Wiberg, Central Vermont Community Action Council

"Dear Fritz and CRS Folks, Congratulations on 30 years! My time at CRS seems so long ago and I have many memories of surveys (students and pizza!), cross country travels and carrying Census data tapes over to the Waterman building in order to conduct research. Thank goodness technology has changed much of what I used to do at CRS. I am very proud to be part of the CRS history and a special thank you to Fritz for many years of guidance and support. All the best."

Ken Bauer, CDAE

"A focused resource for Vermonters to explore and leverage information on rural life, a training center and research node for young Vermonters, a grassroots organizer and facilitator of best practices. Congratulations."

Kevin Behm, Addison County Regional Planning Commission

"Congratulations CRS. The Center for Rural Studies has been a valuable planning resource over the years. Their website provides access to Census information tailored to Vermont Communities. CRS has encouraged and funded innovative tools to assist land use planning in rural communities. Congratulations."

Nancy Wood, Home Farm & Garden Research Association

"Congratulations CRS and Fred, and many thanks for 30 years of caring about and documenting rural life in our beautiful state. You have helped us understand and value what is so special about Vermont. Best wishes."

Ron Allbee, Former Commissioner of Agriculture and Director of Energy, State of Vermont

"Fred, it does not seem like 30 years…how time flies…thanks for creating a forum/research unit at UVM that can respond to Vermont and community needs and has provided so much assistance."

Ian D. Boyce, University of Vermont Board of Trustees

"On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I wanted to congratulate CRS for 30 years of providing services to the rural communities of Vermont. To Fred Schmidt I hope we have the opportunity to meet some time soon!"

Barbara L. Grimes, Burlington Electric

"I first met Fred when we served on the Vermont Rural Development Council. Fred was totally committed to the needs of Rural Vermont and not only worked with the Council, his Center for Rural Studies but with our congressional delegation to impact change. Politics was not his game as he worked through many administrations at UVM, the State and Washington. We are a better place for his commitment."

Zachary Carson, Sustainable Living Roadshow

"The Universe connected Fred and I. I was looking for a bus donation for my thesis at UVM and sent a letter to CTAA. Well, turns out the letter went to Fred, and I had no idea he was a UVM professor. He ended up connecting me to his network across the country of rural transportation activists and later that month, a had a 24' bus! Thanks to Fred, my thesis was a success and I completed over 15,000 miles of touring on straight vegetable oil across the country, helping to educate and inspire people about living more sustainably. As fuel prices rise, the rural communities are going to have a harder time getting around - Fred and the work with CRS are crucial to understanding how to create more sustainable communities in America. Thanks for everything you do and have done for me Fred, I wouldn’t be here today without you. Cheers."

Amy Guptill, Dept of Sociology at SUNY Brockport

"Working at CRS as an undergraduate ignited my passion for understanding how the working landscape shapes social life and using the power of community to make change."

Rashmi Narsana, Learning Point Associates

"Congratulations to everyone at CRS!"

Sarah Waring, VCRD

"CRS provides an invaluable service to the small rural communities in Vermont. By enabling community leaders to access data in a comprehensive way from a single location, CRS lays the groundwork for community decision making at the local level. From wildlife habitat layers, to community planning tools, from survey analysis, to town health, housing and socioeconomic indicators, the Center provides the resources that towns in Vermont need and use. Without the excellent work of the Center, towns around Vermont, and the organizations that work with and in these towns, would be less prepared to face the challenges of today."

Sarah Waring and Paul Costello, VCRD

"Fred Schmidt is a determined advocate of rural issues – from his local work in communities all over the world, to his model building and research – his work has reached thousands of people. For those of us at Vermont Council on Rural Development, where he served for 12 years as a board member, he has been a long time advocate, partner and guiding force—a hero for rural Vermont. We deeply appreciate the leadership he has brought to us, and to the people of rural Vermont that we serve as a team."

David Marsh, CARTS

"Has CRS "affected" me or my organization? Yes, and in a positive and permanent way by virtue of my long-affiliation with Fred Schmidt in service to the CTAA Board of Directors, a post he has long held and in which he has acquainted us all with the CRS activities that enter into rural issues we have never even thought of. I wish my sincerest congratulations and thanks for the work you all do today and which you will continue into the future."

Rick Peyser, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

"The Center for Rural Studies was a key link to introducing me and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to coffee growing communities in Honduras through the Partners of the America Farmer-to-Farmer program. Since then, it has been a pleasure to work with students from the Center and to see the Honduran coffee project evolve."

Chapin Spencer, Local Motion

"Fred Schmidt and the Center for Rural Studies have been invaluable resources for Vermonters for decades. Congrats!"

Dean Pierce, Town of Shelburne

"On behalf of the Shelburne Planning Commission, I would like to extend congratulations to the Center for its 30 productive years of service to Vermonters. The Center has been a tremendous resource for the Town of Shelburne: CRS has provided data, successfully administered opinion surveys, and facilitated local planning in so many ways. We look forward to working with CRS more over the next 30 years!"

Lelani Arris

"Congratulations on 30! You make me feel old. You published my undergraduate thesis 25 years ago. My current life is in an extremely rural area of British Columbia, with a vibrant community and all manner of uniquely rural issues that we address daily. I am sure my experience with your center has helped me to recognize the uniqueness and importance of rural communities, and provided some tools for addressing our unique problems and issues. Here's to the next 30 years!"

Jeff DeCelles (CDAE ’03) and Oriana Campanelli (ENVS ’04), Grassroot Soccer/Harvard School of Public Health

"My work with CRS as a CDAE undergrad helped me develop tangible skills and fostered a supportive environment in which to practically apply these skills. Through my work with CRS on the Honduras program and the Vermonter Poll, I gained valuable contacts and experience that helped shape my professional career. In 2001, I began a program with a group of Haitian migrant workers in the Dominican Republic, in which soccer was utilized as a tool of social change. When I returned to UVM, Fred provided a unique opportunity for myself, Oriana and other interested students to engage in an independent study on our project. He gave us case studies on other rural programs and provided invaluable insight on successful rural development projects. Most importantly, he gave us the space and support to create our project in accordance with our own vision and values. Fred's continued support and interest has helped me professionally and personally through the years. Coming out of my undergraduate program, my first-hand experience with the Center allowed me to compete with other top graduates from universities throughout the US. Fred's continued support has allowed me to continually explore new ideas and he has always been there for me as a mentor and friend. Congratulations Fred and CRS!!! We love you!"

Carl Smith

"I have been familiar with the work of Fred Schmidt and the Center for Rural Studies for many years, as a personal friend and an educator with an interest in international rural development. There are two areas which have impressed me about Fred's work and the Center's activities. The first is the emphasis which the Center has placed on small-scale development and its hands-on approach in researching and guiding that development in the U.S. and internationally. One example has been the Center's enthusiastic and long-term relation with orchard development in rural Honduras. The second area where I am sure the Center has made a long-term contribution to rural development is in the training of many graduate students, who have had Fred's example of zeal and imagination to inspire and guide them. Many of these students have become his colleagues, and many others have maintained close touch with the Center and its mission. Through the Center, Fred has maintained a network of committed scholars and activists with whom he has strong personal as well as professional ties."

Ann Simon, Mid-Region Council of Governments

"As a UVM graduate and former part-time employee at the Center for Rural Studies I send heartfelt congratulations on 30 years of service to the rural communities of Vermont. The work of the CRS is groundbreaking, especially in the area of local and sustainable food systems. In New Mexico we see states like Vermont as modeling the way for the rest of the country. With the growing importance of decentralized food production, organizations like CRS are critical in helping rural communities navigate their way through complex farmland preservation issues while also helping to increase economic opportunities for small farms. CRS has clearly led the charge effectively. Best wishes for 30 more years."

Scott Bogren, Community Transportation Association of America

"Since our organization's founding two decades ago, Fred Schmidt has been a key member of our Board of Directors, bringing his expertise in rural planning, research and education. Fred, and CRS, have thus been instrumental in shaping national transportation policy in rural America, increasing federal rural transportation investment by several orders of magnitude and professionalizing the industry. Fred's impact on our organization and on rural transit, however, cannot be measured by statistics alone. Rather, it can be more accurately measured by the certification programs that hundreds of rural transportation managers and dispatchers have undertaken, by the growing understanding that rural communities need effective transit alternatives and that there is a direct link between vital rural communities and transportation. The Community Transportation Association of America is very much indebted to the CRS and Fred Schmidt and heartily offers its congratulations on 30 years of work well done!"

Beth Sachs, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation

"Congratulations from the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation - an old friend! CRS helped us with some important projects 20 years ago when we were a fledgling organization of six, and were a pleasure to work with!"

David Raphael, Former Executive Director of Rural America

"Congratulations for 30 years of quality research and advocacy on behalf of the people of small town and rural America. When we founded the national organization RURAL AMERICA in the 1970s, one of the glaring gaps was the absence of academic research of the human needs of rural people and their communities. Over the years, the partnership between RURAL AMERICA and CRS has been an important and fruitful one, both giving credibility to our advocacy efforts and a wonderful supply of motivated students who participated in and gave life to many of our national conferences and workshops. It is a tribute to you and your leadership that the Center for Rural Studies outlived RURAL AMERICA. Over the years, CRS has evolved into a highly respected source of information about smaller communities, a repository of valuable research and statistical data, and an institutional resource for members of Congress and other national organizations. Most importantly, you and the Center have kept the flame alive, which is so essential to the continuing struggle of assuring equity and justice for rural people. Again congratulations on 30 years of accomplishments."

Charlie Kofman, Silver Spokes of Vermont

"Congratulations on 30 great years. Best wishes for 30 more."

Betsy Rosenbluth, Orton Family Foundation

"The Center for Rural Studies actually started me on my career of community development. Our work twenty-some years ago supporting Poultney to plan for its future is not unlike what we do now at the Foundation, assisting towns with Heart & Soul community planning. Congratulations CRS!"

Robert Rodgers and Kristin Peterson-Ishaq, Center for Research on Vermont and Vermont Studies Program

"Fred Schmidt has had a tremendous impact on the University of Vermont and wider communities from Vermont to Honduras. His energetic smile and quick offers to be involved are well known to every friend and colleague. His academic integrity and concern for finding real-life solutions to real-life problems are likewise hallmarks for the Center for Rural Studies. On behalf of the members of the Center for Research on Vermont and the Vermont Studies faculty, we salute both Fred Schmidt and the Center for Rural Studies and wish them many years of solid achievement to come."

David Clavelle

"In 1977, I had the pleasure of working with Fred as his research assistant for Senator Leahy and the US Senate Rural Development Subcommittee. From then until today , I have marvelled at his undying commitment to improving lives for rural Americans.He has achieved that in the classroom, on the Boards of several national rural advocacy organizations,in research projects, and, mostly notably, through the Center for Rural Studies.He has taken academic resources and brought them to rural leaders, businesses, governments, and organizations with a hands-on, practical and helpful approach.We all should be proud and thankful for his efforts. Vermont and rural America are better because of Fred On a personal note, there is perhaps no one who has had a greater impact on my life.He has consistently been concerned with my personal, academic and professional lives.Fred is a dear friend, a respected mentor and a genuine good guy. I know I speak for all his students and co-workers in saying thank you Fred for making our lives more challenged, more focused,and more fun."

Barbara L. Haslam, Barbara Haslam and Associates

"Congratulations CRS! In 1980, my junior year as a Sociology major at UVM, I began work at CRS as a research assistant. As CRS grew so did my responsibilities. I became a Data Specialist handling US Census data requests - perhaps the inception of what is now called the Vermont State Data Center. During my three year tenure at CRS my co-workers, Director Fred Schmidt and I produced eight publications for the CRS monograph series examining various questions developed from statistical databases housed at CRS. Director Schmidt was my mentor, teacher and colleague. I have developed a deep, abiding respect and friendship with Fred over the past 28 years. In 1993 in his capacity as a Vermont State Justice of the Peace, Director Schmidt officiated at my marriage in Ira Allen Chapel! CRS played a huge role in my collegiate years and I have the organization and the diverse staff to thank for providing me the opportunity to cultivate the basis of my business practice principle 'excellence in customer service' through my extensive public contact and attention to the use of data. Thank you and again congratulations to CRS on 30 years! I am so proud to have had a small part in that history."

Roberta W. Walsh, Florida Gulf Coast University

"To Fred, Jane and Team: Congratulations on a successful 30 years. During my tenure at UVM I collaborated with the Center on many projects, addressing energy program evaluation and sustainable community development. Working with the Center always proved worthwhile and rewarding. Best wishes for the next 30 and beyond...!"