Academic Ceremonies - December Commencement

Honorary Degree Recipient

Theresa L. Tomasi
Doctor of Laws

Theresa L TomasiTheresa L. Tomasi has dedicated her life to the welfare of children from across the country and around the world: she has adopted 27 children as a single mother. Her children have come from Ghana, Ecuador, India, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Canada and the U.S. In 1962 she adopted her first child, Tracy, in Canada after being repeatedly denied by adoption agencies in the U.S. because she was a single parent. Several of her children have had medical problems and special needs. Her family and her community combined their efforts to support her with carpooling and rides to after-school activities as she cared for a large and diverse group of children; however, it is her commitment to providing a harmonious, organized, inclusive, and loving home for children in need that led to her success.

In addition to her accomplishments as a single parent, she had a distinguished career in social work. Tomasi worked tirelessly to assist Vermont children at risk. An alumna of UVM, Tomasi completed her Masters in social work at McGill in the early sixties. She served the State of Vermont for 11 years as a case worker for “Aid to Needy Families and Old Age Assistance” and “Committed Children” in Burlington. As Director of Social Services in the DeGosbriand Hospital and as Director of Social Services at Medical Center Hospital of Vermont (now FAHC), she served both hospitals for a total of 29 years. After leaving the hospital, she ran the Lund Center for 5 years before retiring to work at home with her children. She is proud to have established the first Child Protection Committee at the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont; this committee combined all of the relevant agencies pertaining to child services for the first time.

At home and throughout the State, Tomasi selflessly dedicated her energies to improving the lives of children. Among other notable awards, she has won the David Goldberg Award for Commitment to Improving the Lives of Vermont Children, the Child Protection Network Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Mother of the Year Angel in Adoption by the Congregational Coalition on Adoption Institute. Perhaps most importantly, her children have flourished and grown up to become pediatricians, restaurant owners, car mechanics, graduate students, and carpenters. Many of her children have settled in Vermont, and four of her daughters have attended or graduated from UVM. Tomasi is a local hero who has made a global impact.

Last modified December 07 2012 01:42 PM

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