Three outstanding individuals will receive honorary degrees at the University Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 21, 2023. 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: The Honorable Sethuraman Panchanathan, Michele Resnick Cohen ’72, and Dr. Mark A. Levine.

Sethuraman Panchanathan

Commencement Speaker
Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris causa

The Honorable Sethuraman Panchanathan is a computer scientist and engineer and the 15th director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Panchanathan was nominated to this position by the President of the United States in 2019, and subsequently unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 18, 2020. NSF is a $9.5 billion independent federal agency and the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and STEM education.

Panchanathan is a leader in science, engineering, and education with more than three decades of experience. He has a distinguished career in both higher education and government, where he has designed and built knowledge enterprises that advance research innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, global development, and economic growth. Read more

Michele Resnick Cohen '72

Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa

Michele Resnick Cohen is a passionate arts advocate, philanthropist, and nonprofit governance leader whose vision of collaborative arts education is creating transformative experiences for students today and for generations to come.

The Cohen Hall for the Integrative Creative Arts, opened in 2018, is a testimony to Cohen’s lifelong appreciation for the power of material expression and the act of making. The renovation of the historic Elihu B. Taft School on the edge of campus, made possible through the generosity of Michele Cohen and her husband, Martin, brought into form a revolutionary space for arts education at UVM. With studios, labs, and teaching spaces for fine arts and the performing arts, Cohen Hall for the Integrative Creative Arts is an incubator for interdisciplinary collaboration and creative cross-pollination among students and faculty working in traditional and emerging forms. Read more

Mark A. Levine

Doctor of Science, honoris causa

State Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD has been leading Vermont's population and public health initiatives since his appointment by Governor Phil Scott in early 2017. His clarity of communication, confidence-inspiring demeanor, and reliance on data in creating and evolving public health guidance have made him a widely recognized and respected leader across the state.

He did not seek this spotlight—in fact, it’s possible that most state health commissioners never expect to be widely known beyond their medical and political circles. But when the world was suddenly confronted by an unprecedented deadly pandemic in 2020, Dr. Levine became a reassuring voice for Vermonters at Governor Scott’s press conferences two to three times every week as he calmly presented evidence-based COVID-19 updates and straightforward public health guidelines. Read more