Academic Ceremonies - May Commencement
College and School Ceremony Information
Dr. Hal Colston
My life long interests of social justice and entrepreneurship were blended in my career path as a Program Director for Lutheran Social Services of New England (LSS). As the founding director the Good News Garage was created to address the need of transportation equity for people in economically distressed. Good News Garage has become a national model with locations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. I left the Good News Garage in March 2004 to create a new non-profit, NeighborKeepers, strengthening community one family at a time. NeighborKeepers is an inclusive community built on meaningful relationships that generate Circles of Support, empowering families to create a sustainable path to adequate resources. NeighborKeepers launched in January of 2006 engaging families struggling with a lack of resources to be in an intentional relationship of support with allies for a one year commitment. For the past seven years I have taught a community service course at Champlain College as a part-time adjunct professor as well as a diversity and inclusion course at Burlington College. In January 2011 I was appointed by Governor Peter Shumlin to serve as the Executive Director of SerVermont which oversees the AmeriCorps State and VISTA programs in Vermont.
My first career path after attending college (University of Pennsylvania, Class of1975) involved work in the food service industry for 17 years as a manager and a chef. After relocating to Vermont to work and teach at the New England Culinary Institute, I transitioned my career from food service to social services. I first learned about the needs and challenges of social services while working for Chittenden Community Action for three years. I began work with LSS in July 1996 to open the Good News Garage program. St. Michael’s College of Colchester, VT in May 2000 honored my work with a Doctorate of Humanities honoris causa Degree for creating the Good News Garage.
Married 34 years to Beverly Colston with three children, Marissa, Alex and Craig. Have served on the board of several organizations: Vermont Development Credit Union, United Way of Chittenden County, Mobius, Center for Media and Democracy, New England Synod Council, HowardCenter, United Way Community Investment Committee, Vermont Health Foundation, board chair, ECOS (Environment Community Opportunity Sustainability) Committee, and board chair of the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties. Graduate of Leadership Champlain (2000) and Snelling Center’s Vermont Leadership Institute (2004). Have volunteered with the Outreach for Earth Stewardship organization for 12 years as a caregiver for injured raptors and have served the community as a diversity and inclusion facilitator/trainer. Hobbies include cooking, chess, biking and hiking.
Community Accomplishments: Appointed by Gov. Howard Dean to the Affirmative Action Council (renamed Governor’s Workforce Equity & Diversity Council), 2001 to 2004; Recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the VT Minority Business Leader of the Year 2003; Received the HUD “Best of the Best Practice Award for the Good News Garage in 2000; Awarded the Peter F. Drucker Non-Profit Management “Innovation Award” in 1999 for creation of the Good News Garage; Vermont Leadership Institute graduate 2004; Leadership Champlain graduate 2000.
National Publicity: The Oprah Winfrey Show – “Heroes in Hard Times” featuring Good News Garage and NeighborKeepers, May 2009; NBC’s Today Show with Tiki Barber featuring Good News Garage and NeighborKeepers, May 2008; People Magazine– “Heroes Among Us” featuring Good News Garage, February 2008; HUD awards the Good News Garage the “Best of the Best” Best Practice Award – August 2000; Smithsonian Magazine – February 1999; National Public Radio “All Things Considered” – April 1998; CBS, NBC National News and Voice of America – 1998; Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Non-Profit Management Innovation Award – 1998.
Last updated: 4/24/2012
Last modified April 24 2012 12:43 PM