Academic Ceremonies - Commencement
Honorary Degree Recipient
MALCOLM F. SEVERANCE
Doctor of Laws
Malcolm F. Severance, UVM class of 1949, likely holds the record for titles at the University of Vermont, beginning with undergraduate student and alumnus. However, like his attachment to Colchester, Vermont, where he is the sixth generation living on his family’s land, Severance has remained firmly attached to the university through decades of extraordinary contributions.
While still earning graduate degrees in economics at the University of Wisconsin, he became an instructor in economics and business at UVM, moving to a tenured position after completing his doctorate. He soon was tapped to be assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences for three years before becoming special assistant to the president for planning and development. His welcomed return to teaching, however, did not equate with stasis: Professor and chairman of the business administration program followed, along with his advocacy for turning the program into a school. In 1981, Severance was honored by UVM as the “Creator of the School of Business Administration,” and a parchment proclaiming that honor hangs proudly in his home office. Also, the main conference room in Kalkin Hall was named for him.
While at UVM, Severance forged important ties to the community, including service as director of the Northern New England School of Banking and executive director of the New England School of Banking at Williams College, both of which continued after his retirement from UVM in 1986. He is a past board member and past president of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, and he has served on both profit and nonprofit boards including University Health Center, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Historical Society, Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, The Snelling Center, Bank of Vermont, Vermont Electric Power Corporation, and Governor Snelling’s Council of Economic Advisors. “If you’re in the business school,” he says, “you ought to have a relationship with the business community.” Severance also won four terms as a state legislator from 2000 to 2007, when he chose not to run again.
And, the UVM connections didn’t end when he added professor emeritus to his title list. Severance served two, six-year terms as a trustee, once as a member of the self perpetuating board and once as a legislative board member; four years on the engineering and mathematics board of advisors; and served his class as president and vice president (a current position) as well as three terms as reunion chair. In 1994, he was presented with the university’s Distinguished Service Award.
In addition to overseeing an ambitious development, the Severance Corners New
England Village project, Severance is writing a history of the UVM School of