University of Vermont

A Note from President Tom Sullivan

January 2017


Greetings, and welcome to the new year. I hope each of you had a restful and pleasurable holiday break. I know it was well deserved!

We have some great opportunities to look forward to this semester, beginning with our Martin Luther King Celebration, Education, and Learning Events. A full two weeks of programs are planned across campus, culminating in the keynote presentation on January 24th by civil rights activist Sheyann Webb-Christburg.

Born in Selma, Alabama, Ms. Webb-Christburg was eight years old when she first became inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The determined young girl would sneak out of her house at night to attend mass meetings at the Brown Chapel AME Church, starting point for the Selma to Montgomery marches, and help lead the congregation in singing freedom songs. Dr. King nicknamed her “the smallest freedom fighter.” Ms. Webb-Christburg was the youngest participant in the infamous 1965 “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march, and she has been keeping the flame and the fight alive ever since. Ms. Webb-Christburg is co-author of the book Selma Lord Selma, the inspiration for the Disney move of the same title.

This is a free, ticketed event Tickets will be available to the UVM community starting Tuesday, January 17th.

The University is once again partnering with the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts to host an exciting cultural event in Burlington. Balé Folclórico de Bahia brings the song, dance, and percussive sound of the multicultural region of northern Brazil to the Flynn Main Stage on Friday, January 27th. Tickets for this UVM/Flynn partnership are $10 each, with a limit of two tickets per person.

In addition to these mid-winter cultural opportunities, there are also some great professional development seminars to begin planning for. Registration opens on February 1st for edu@uvm, three days of learning events for staff in mid-March. Many of the excellent workshops fill up fast, so mark your calendars for the February 1 registration opening to ensure you get your first choice of classes. On March 30 and 31 we will again host the Blackboard Jungle Symposium. This year’s theme, “Cultivating Space for Learning in Turbulent Times,” reflects the challenges and opportunities that all educators face today.

I hope you will avail yourself of these cultural and professional development events as we step together into a new semester and new year. I’m grateful for your exemplary work and commitment to UVM, and am honored to work with you and to be part of the UVM community with you.