Ceremonial Events - Commencement
Honorary Degree Recipient
GRAHAM STILES NEWELL
Doctor of Humane Letters
Bringing the classics to life for generations of Vermont students has been the work of a lifetime for Graham Stiles Newell, a teacher, historian, and scholar who inspires students with his passion for sharing the knowledge of the ancients even in the age of the Xbox and iPod.
A seventh-generation Vermonter born and raised in St. Johnsbury, Newell is a 1933 graduate of St. Johnsbury Academy, where he began teaching history and Latin in 1938 after completing his bachelor of arts in political science at the University of Chicago. He remained at the Academy until 1947, when he returned to Chicago for his master’s degree in Latin, resuming his teaching career in 1959 as a professor of history at Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vermont, where he remained for the next two decades.
A professor emeritus at Lyndon State, he received the LSC Alumni Council Faculty Recognition Award in 2004, the same year the college established the Graham Newell Chair in Vermont History, its first named chair, in his honor.
In addition to his life’s work as a teacher, Newell served a total of 26 years as a Vermont citizen legislator — in both the House and the Senate — and was chair for the Senate Education Committee for 20 years. Newll was also president of the Vermont Historical Society from 1964 to 1969.
Newell returned to the classroom at St. Johnsbury Academy in 1982, where he continues today to inspire successive generations of students with his flair for teaching and obvious delight in students’ discovery of subjects animated by his insight and intellect.
The recipient of numerous awards for his service to his state and his profession, Newell was selected in 1999 for the prestigious Vermont Citizen of the Year Award. Presented annually since 1964 by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the award elevates its recipient to the “short list” of Vermonters who represent the finest ideals of Vermont citizenship.
The Vermont Humanities Council recognized Newell’s contributions to education in 2003 with its first Victor R. Swenson Humanities Educator Award, given annually to a Vermont educator who exemplifies excellence in the teaching of the humanities.
“All I can say about Graham is that he is the best Latin teacher anyone could ask for,” says William J. Baslock, a 2004 graduate of the University of Vermont and a former student of Newell’s at St. Johnsbury Academy. “Mr. Newell’s life and works, and especially his influence on his students, characterize the very meaning of studiis et rebus honestis.”