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May 16, 2009
Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications

Green Mountain College Celebrates Class of 2009 Graduating Class

POULTNEY, VT—Green Mountain College awarded 135 bachelor’s degrees and 21 master’s degrees to the largest graduating class in the school’s history today. The College, celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, honored graduates in a morning outdoor ceremony on the Poultney campus.

Vermont Representative Peter Welch delivered the commencement address and received an honorary doctor of laws degree. Also receiving an honorary degree was National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Dr. Kenneth Sherman. Dr. Sherman is director of the Office of Marine Ecosystems Studies affiliated with NOAA, and is an adjunct professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography.

Welch praised GMC students for their work to make the campus more environmentally sustainable. “During your years at Green Mountain College, your focus on understanding the environment in which you live has given you a leg up in this new world,” he said.

“Beyond your individual contributions to sustainability, you have pushed Green Mountain College as a whole to practice what it preaches. In 2006, GMC committed to buying half of its electricity from Vermont farms through the Cow Power Program – reducing carbon emissions by the equivalent of taking 758 passenger cars off the road for a year. GMC became the first in Vermont to sign the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment and pledged to become carbon neutral by 2011. This would make it one of the first colleges in the country to take this tremendously important step.”

The College is building a woodchip biomass plant to heat its buildings and generate 20% of the electricity consumed on campus. The plant will be operational by the winter of 2010.

Senior speaker Jenna Calvi of Weymouth, Mass., who will study at Vermont Law School in Royalton, Vt. in the fall, implored fellow graduates to keep the ideals of environmental sustainability firmly in mind as they enter graduate school or the job market.

“Despite what looms ahead, remain confident in your exceptional ability to meet each challenge with exhilaration and fearlessness,” she said. “We will not go down in history as a generation who sat spiritless while their chance for a revolution passed them by.”

GMC also celebrated its first class of graduates from the College’s master’s degree program in environmental studies. The class includes Kaitlin Cioffi of Rutland, Vt., John Deignan of Petersburgh, N.Y., John Ferris, Jr., of Northampton, Mass., Thomas Mowatt of Clemons, N.Y., Karen Rainbolt of Gaithersburg, Md., Shari-Romar-Zykofsky of Forest Hills, N.Y., Margaret Rupe of Poultney, Jason Saltman of Wilmington, Vt., Trevor Squirrell of Underhill Center, Vt., Michelle Stubbings of Short Hills, N.J., and Abbey Willard of Randolph Center, Vt. Ten graduates also received degrees from the College’s online MBA program.

Green Mountain College is a four year liberal arts college that takes the environment as a unifying theme for undergraduates in 21 major programs of study.

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