University of Vermont

Crea Lintilhac Awarded Honorary Degree at UVM 2014 Commencement

Board Member profile

Crea Lintilhac on the podium with President Thomas Sullivan at University of Vermont Commencement Ceremony.
Crea Lintilhac on the podium with President Thomas Sullivan at University of Vermont Commencement Ceremony.

Crea Sopher Lintilhac, UVM Class of ’78, is a dedicated public servant, activist, and philanthropist known for her bold vision, her integrity, and her determination.  Because of her leadership and philanthropy at UVM and across the state, Crea returned to the 2014 Commencement platform to receive a Doctor of Humane Letters.

Crea is a devoted member of the Rubenstein School’s Board of Advisers, a long-time adviser to the Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center, a former UVM adjunct faculty member, and a very generous supporter for the University.  Crea and her husband Philip, who is a professor of plant biology at UVM, are also proud UVM parents of Louise (current graduate student in the Rubenstein School) and Will (B.S. in Natural Resources, 2010).  Their son Paul graduated from Dartmouth in 2012 and is currently a graduate student at NYU.

Crea earned her Bachelor’s of Science at Skidmore in 1975.  After completing her Master’s of Science at UVM in 1978, she pursued post-graduate studies and research at the Marine Science Institute in Connecticut, the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, and the Geophysics Department at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland.  In addition to working as a teacher in the Chittenden County South School District and a senior lab technician at IBM, she served as a lecturer and an adjunct faculty member at UVM before becoming Director of the Lintilhac Foundation in 1984.

Vermont’s U. S. Senator Patrick Leahy submitted a letter of support for Crea’s nomination for an honorary degree and stated, “Crea’s philanthropy has had a broad and significant impact on UVM.  Crea has a strong commitment to and passion for affordable health care, the environment, and clean water and energy.  She is a dedicated public servant who feels strongly about environmental policy.”

As Director of the Lintilhac Foundation, Crea has been a generous donor to UVM and its student scholarship, research, education programs, and capital projects.  Major gifts include a challenge grant to increase the number of endowed scholarships, the support of the Greening of Aiken renovation project, the construction of Jeffords Hall, the restoration of the Old Mill building, and the purchase of the Melosira II, UVM’s research vessel for Lake Champlain.

Stuart Comstock, President of The Vermont Community Foundation, also endorsed the nomination for Crea’s honorary degree and noted “there is something of a soup-to-nuts approach to Crea’s philanthropy: identify the problem, research its root causes, and support the advocacy needed to bring about lasting change.  This type of philanthropy is worth doing.  It is worth emulating. And it is worth recognizing.”

Crea’s citizen activism was cited in many support letters.  She is currently a board member for Vermont Public Interest Research Group, an adviser for the Conservation Law Foundation, and a member of the Governor’s Council for Energy and the Environment.  She is a long-time trustee of the Conservation and Research Foundation (a founding group of the Nature Conservancy) and a former member of the Shelburne Museum Board of Directors, the Shelburne School Board, and the Maternal Child Health Program for the Visiting Nurse Association. 

Paul Burns, Executive Director of Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), stated in his letter of support, “Crea’s interests are many, but as an advocate she is focused, determined, and principled.  She approaches advocacy with the mind of a seasoned scientist and the heart of an activist. When you are with Crea, you cannot help but be inspired to work just a bit harder, to gather a few more facts, and to keep in mind all those who will follow in our footsteps.”

Vermont’s U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders cited Crea’s outstanding commitment to safeguarding our environment in his letter of support. He commented, “Crea Lintilhac has established herself as a leading advocate in the fight against climate change and has built upon the important work that the Lintilhac Foundation has done historically.”

Crea’s nomination included support from all three of Vermont’s Congressional delegates.  In addition to Senators Leahy and Sanders, Vermont Congressman Peter Welch submitted these words of endorsement: “Crea’s contributions in philanthropy, advocacy and education have advanced the University of Vermont’s leadership role on the environment. She reflects the best ideals of the University of Vermont, and she has made Vermont a better place through her work.

RSENR Interim Dean Jon Erickson has worked with Crea for several decades as a RSENR faculty member, Interim Dean, and environmental advocate.  He acknowledges that he is “personally indebted to Crea’s sound advice and guidance as a founding member of the Rubenstein School’s Board of Advisers.”  He added, “It is difficult to imagine the State of Vermont and the University of Vermont without Crea’s impact through both her personal effort on boards, committees, and the halls of the State House, and the extraordinary generosity through grants and gifts of the Lintilhac Foundation.”

UVM bestows honorary degrees to individuals who demonstrate outstanding achievement or service, sustained commitment to public service, and/or significant contributions to the University of Vermont’s ability to achieve its mission.  Crea is one of seven outstanding individuals who received honorary degrees at the University Commencement ceremony on May 18th. Also recognized for their vital and important contributions to the state, the university, the nation, and the world, over the course of their distinguished careers are: Ambassador Samantha Power, Professor Jonathan David Jansen, Dr. Irwin H. Krakoff, Dr. Robert Larner, Dr. Robert B. Low, and Richard E. Tarrant.