University of Vermont

University Communications

University to Hold 203rd Commencement on Sunday, May 20

Release Date: 05-16-2007

Author: Jeffrey R. Wakefield
Phone: 802/656-2005 Fax: (802) 656-3203

The University of Vermont will celebrate its 203rd commencement on Sunday, May 20 at 9 a.m. indoors in the Multipurpose Facility in the Athletic Complex, due to a forecast of inclement weather. Overflow seating will be available in the adjoining Patrick Gymnasium on closed-circuit TV. Tickets are not required.

President Daniel Mark Fogel will confer degrees on 2,494 graduates, including 1,919 bachelor’s, 401 master’s, 57 doctoral, and 97 M.D. degree recipients, in addition to graduate certificates. Among expected degree recipients are students from 39 states and 46 international students from 20 countries. Approximately 1,104 graduates are from Vermont. The graduating class includes 168 African, Latino/a, Asian and Native American (ALANA) and Bi/Multi-racial students.

Sharing the podium with President Fogel will be commencement speaker the Honorable John R. Lewis, a Georgia congressman since 1986 and a longtime, passionate advocate for civil rights. Called the “conscience of the U.S. Congress” by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Lewis has been a strong voice for civil rights throughout his life and helped to lead many of the seminal protests of the movement in the 1960s. At the age of 23, Lewis was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in 1963. His work as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during that era helped to inspire student activism nationwide, including a 1964 visit to UVM where he participated in the “Pride and Prejudice” Vermont Conference.

Receiving honorary degrees this year along with Lewis will be Henry Louis Gates, Jr., an internationally renowned scholar of African and African-American history and culture; Jackie M. Gribbons, a UVM administrative leader across four decades and co-founder of UVM's highly ranked graduate program in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration; Leonard Miller, a Burlington native and class of 1951 alumnus who has been a major supporter of UVM’s Center for Holocaust Studies; Floyd Rourke, the retired chair, president and CEO of Sandy Hill Corporation, a pulp and paper machinery company in Hudson Falls, N.Y and chair of the Lake Champlain Cancer Research Organization; and Thomas Slayton, who retired this year from Vermont Life Magazine after 21 years as editor-in-chief of the publication. Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor who recounted his experiences in the award-winning memoir Night, received an honorary degree from the university on April 25 when he delivered a public lecture on campus.

Several street closings have been planned for commencement weekend. From Friday, May 18, 7 p.m. through Sunday, May 20, 8 p.m., University Place will be closed from Colchester Avenue to Main Street, and South Prospect Street will be closed from College Street to the University Health Center entrance. In addition, on Saturday, May 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, May 20 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. South Prospect Street will be closed from Colchester Avenue to Main Street, and College Street will be closed from South Prospect Street to South Williams Street.

Parking on area residential streets is by city permit only. Parking at the university is available in designated lots. For details call (802) 656-8686 or visit the commencement parking website.

Buses will run from Royall Tyler Theatre to the Watertower lot, Patrick Gymnasium and the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, from Allen House to the Flynn Performing Arts Center and Wyndham Hotel, and from the north end of the University Green to Trinity Campus. Signs, staff, and drivers will assist with directions. Commencement ceremony reference guides and campus maps are available at the desks of most area hotels.

Several of the colleges’ ceremonies will feature distinguished speakers, including Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, for the College of Arts and Sciences; Lori Arviso Alvord, associate dean of student and multicultural affairs at Dartmouth Medical School, for the College of Medicine; David Perez, CEO of Latin Force LLC, an award-winning strategy and marketing services company that helps clients connect with the U.S. Hispanic consumer, for the School of Business Administration; and Darby Bradley, special assistant for donor and government relations and, formerly, longtime president of the Vermont Land Trust, for the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

For a full schedule of commencement activities, visit the commencement website.