Academic Ceremonies - Commencement
Honorary Degree Recipients
Four outstanding individuals will receive honorary degrees at the University of Vermont 206th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 23rd. 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: United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, Judith Buechner, Professor Susan Brody Hasazi, and Raymond C. Pecor Jr.
Commencement Speaker: United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the seventh secretary of Veterans Affairs on January 21, 2009. A retired U.S. Army four-star general, Secretary Shinseki served as chief of staff of the United States Army from 1999 to 2003, when he retired from active duty. During his tenure, he initiated the Army Transformation Campaign to address both the emerging strategic challenges of the early 21st century and the need for cultural and technological change in the United States Army.
Secretary Shinseki, who was vice chief of staff from 1998 to 1999, previously served simultaneously as commanding general, Seventh United States Army; commander, Allied Land Forces, Central Europe; and commander of the NATO-led stabilization force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He served two tours in Vietnam where he was injured in combat on separate occasions between 1965 and 1970. He was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Air Medal, among others.
Secretary Shinseki holds a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and is a graduate of the National War College. He also earned a master of arts degree in English literature from Duke University.
Judith Buechner of Rupert, Vermont is a farmer, environmentalist, ecological entrepreneur, and advocate for the public interest. Her environmental stewardship, combined with her innovation and quiet leadership in the artisan cheese movement and the development of sustainable agricultural infrastructure, has helped to preserve and enhance the rural working landscape that makes Vermont the special place that it is. Through her commitment to lifelong learning and exploration, she has helped current and future farmers and eco-entrepreneurs to develop the competency for success as owners and stewards, as well as the wisdom and courage to “walk the talk” of sustainability.
Professor Susan Brody Hasazi of Burlington, Vt. is an internationally known scholar in the field of special education and a trailblazing advocate for students with disabilities and their families. A faculty member in UVM’s College of Education and Social Services since 1976, Hasazi’s career in academia has been distinguished by her significant contributions to national initiatives designed to improve educational and post-school outcomes for students with disabilities and to give the families of these students a voice in state and national policy development. In 1995, Hasazi received the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation International Award for her lifelong contributions as a scholar and educator in the field of intellectual disabilities.
Raymond C. Pecor Jr. of Shelburne, Vt. is a native son of Burlington who, throughout a long and successful business career, has been a central figure in fostering the economic development and nurturing the quality of life in his home state. His enterprises range from ferry boats with the Lake Champlain Transportation Company to minor league baseball with the Vermont Lake Monsters. Among other initiatives, Pecor took an early role in the economic revitalization of Winooski with the renovation of the historic Champlain Mill. Pecor attended the University of Vermont and has served the university as a member of the Alumni Council, the board of advisors for the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resource and the UVM Board of Trustees.
Last modified May 15 2010 08:11 AM