University of Vermont

Academic Ceremonies - May Commencement

Alumni Greetings and Announcement
of the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award
Edward E. Madden, Jr., Class of 1992, President of the UVM Alumni Association

Edward Madden

Good morning. My name is Ted Madden and I am UVM Class of 1992 and I have the privilege of serving as the President of the UVM Alumni Association. It is a pleasure to be here today, as we gather to celebrate with you, the great Class of 2013.

Our activities this morning were opened by the University Marshal carrying the Ceremonial Mace into the commencement theater. The mace has four images on it intended to symbolize the university. I would like to take a few minutes to focus on one of the four symbols…that of friendship. It is entirely fitting that friendship be symbolic of this university and that we focus on friendship today as I imagine that is a central part of your day…celebrating your years at UVM surrounded by your roommates, your classmates, your teammates….your friends who have enriched your lives and helped you to grow in so many way. Many of these friends will remain a part of your life for many years to come (moving with you to cities or states in the next phase of your lives, taking part in important milestones in your life like weddings…and, if you are lucky enough, like me, you may even marry your best friend from UVM some day and wake up one day 20 years from now and find yourself with 4 kids, a dog and a mortgage and wonder where the time has gone.

Just as important as the friendships with people made at UVM is the friendship each of you has made with this special place. Each of you has developed your own special relationship with UVM; it has been shaped by time and shared experiences. Like any great friendship, it has brought you great joy, it has enriched your life and indeed, left an imprint on who you are forever….like any great friendship it has also been a two way relationship – UVM has changed and shaped you and you in turn have left your mark on this community and continue to enhance and shape it as you move into a different phase of your friendship with UVM as an alum…….

Think for a moment and take stock of the your feelings this past week and today – a mix of pride, nostalgia, happiness, fulfillment and genuine affection for this place, this moment in your lives – hold these special feelings close to you and recognize that these feelings of friendship with UVM never need go away.

Time, change and distance are the challenges to any friendship….graduate school, your career, and even more importantly, spouses and children will fill your life in new and exciting ways and you will find it harder to make time for your friendship with UVM. Like any great friendship, your ongoing relationship with UVM will require some investment of time and effort on your part …but I can tell you from personal experience that when you return to this campus, when you engage the broader UVM community wherever you are, all of the feelings of this week come flooding back and will enrich your lives once more.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the ranks of the UVM alumni association, a network of more than 100,000 that share the common bond of this great University. Collectively we have the ability to make our university stronger and I encourage each of you to join me in making that happen. I know that each of you dropped a penny in the fountain on your way in to make your Catamount Wish….my Catamount Wish for each of you today is that your special feelings of affection and friendship that you feel today for UVM stay with you the rest of your lives…..they are a wonderful gift of friendship….You are our Pride, You are our Tradition, and You are our future. Congratulations once more to the Class of 2013 on your outstanding accomplishments of the day.

And now, it is my sincere pleasure to recognize the recipient of the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award.


The University of Vermont Alumni Association is proud to honor Professor Richard Foote of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences as the 39th recipient of the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award.

This award was named for Dr. George V. Kidder, UVM class of 1922 and former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, to recognize excellence in teaching and extraordinary contributions to the enrichment of campus life.

Dr. Foote came to UVM in 1981 and has now shaped the lives of countless UVM graduates over three decades. His academic credentials and accolades are far too numerous to share today but important among them is the international recognition received for his research and expertise on the “Classification of the finite simple groups,” one of the premier achievements of 20th century mathematics and his co-authoring of the “Abstract Algebra,” the most widely used textbook of its kind in the country.

Above all, it is his gift for teaching that inspires and motivates his students that brings us to this recognition today. A former student summed it up best by saying:

Though I am quite capable of giving a detailed account of my personal experience with Dr. Richard Foote, my immediate response is quite short: that Dr. Foote is the best teacher I have ever had.

While he is unable to join us today, on behalf of the Alumni Association, I invite you to join me now in recognizing Professor Richard Foote for all he has contributed to the academic fabric of the University of Vermont.

Last modified June 04 2013 11:59 AM

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