U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) will deliver the commencement address at Green Mountain College's 172nd graduation ceremony, May 16, at 10 a.m., on the Griswold Library lawn. Welch will also receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.
"It is a great honor to have Rep. Welch as our speaker," said Green Mountain College President Paul Fonteyn. "His commitment to education, social justice, and interest in finding creative solutions to our energy needs will be an inspiration to our students."
Also receiving honorary degrees at commencement will be businessman Dermot Dunphy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Dr. Kenneth Sherman.
Welch was born in Springfield, Mass., in 1947 into a family of six children. After graduating from Holy Cross College in 1969, he was selected to be in the first class of Robert F. Kennedy Fellows. Welch graduated from the University of California Berkeley, and moved to Vermont to work as a public defender. Subsequently he founded the law firm of Welch, Graham & Manby.
Now a resident of Hartland, Vt., Welch became only the second Democrat ever elected to represent Windsor County in the Vermont State Senate in 1980. In 1985 he was elected by his colleagues to serve as president pro tem of the Vermont Senate, becoming the first Democrat in Vermont history to hold this leadership position. Welch was elected to his first term as Vermont's lone U.S. representative in 2006 and was reelected in 2008.
Dermot Dunphy turned Sealed Air Corporation, a fledgling New Jersey-based company that developed bubble wrap, into the world's largest producer of specialty and protective packaging with current worldwide sales of some $3 billion. Investor publications have called him a "shareholder hero," and business school students at Harvard and elsewhere have studied his unique approach to corporate success. Dunphy will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
Another honoree is Ken 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. Sherman received the Oscar E. Sette Award by the American Fisheries Society in recognition of sustained excellence in marine fishery biology, and has authored over 100 published reports on marine plankton, fisheries, and ecosystems. He will be presented with an honorary doctorate of science degree.
Approximately 160 undergraduates will receive degrees from GMC this year in a ceremony. In addition, GMC will award degrees to graduates from both its master's degree programs.
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. Founded in 1834, Green Mountain College is celebrating its 175th anniversary.