Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS) Board of Trustees approved seven nominees for the 2017 Vermont State Colleges’ Hall of Fame. Five distinguished alumni awardees representing each of the five colleges and two at-large awardees singled out for extraordinary contribution to the VSCS will be honored at the March 16, 2017 Hall of Fame celebration.
“This year’s awardees are exceptional leaders. They have made a unique and positive contributions in their careers and their communities. We are proud of them, and proud of the start they got at the Vermont State Colleges,” said VSCS Board Chair Martha O’Connor about the new slate of honorees.
The Trustees’ Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the Vermont State Colleges is given to the individual or individuals whose work has made a significant, positive impact on the Vermont State Colleges system as a whole. The Board received many nominations and chose two.
O’Connor said, “We are especially proud to honor both Peter P Smith, the founding president of the Community College of Vermont and Robert S Babcock, who served as the System’s first chief executive, for their strong leadership and complementary roles in building the Vermont State Colleges System and the Community College of Vermont. Both men were outstanding leaders who expanded access to higher education for the benefit of many generations of Vermonters.”
Distinguished Alumni Awards are given to individuals whose accomplishments are a reflection of the ideals of their college and the VSC system; who have provided exemplary service to Vermont or to their alma mater; or whose outstanding performances beyond graduation have made a significant, positive impact on their professions or communities.
Members of the VSC community and its many supporters will gather in Montpelier at the Capitol Plaza on March 16, 2017 to honor the awardees. The event will raise funds for the Vermont State Colleges Foundation, which provides scholarships for students. For more information on the event, or to contribute to the scholarship fund, please go to www.vsc.edu.
Board of Trustees Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the Vermont State Colleges: Peter P Smith and Robert S Babcock
Peter P Smith is the founding president of Community College of Vermont, serving from 1970-1978. He traveled the state to promote the alternative education option that would become community-based education for many Vermonters who otherwise would not have an opportunity to go to college. At the time, the notion of earning college credit for life experience was an innovation. CCV has grown and changed over the years, but the original concept of providing opportunity for Vermonters of all ages and in all communities to earn college credit at a reasonable fee is still its greatest feature and his legacy. Dr Smith also served as a state senator for Washington County and then as Lieutenant Governor of Vermont for two terms, continuing to support education for all Vermonters. He was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1988. Since leaving federal office Dr Smith has served as the dean of graduate education for George Washington University, and then became the founding president of California State University, Monterey Bay. He also served as assistant director general for education of UNESCO.
Robert S Babcock blended his interests in academic affairs and political activities as an admired professor of political science at the University of Vermont, and as a member of the Vermont House and Senate, as Lieutenant Governor under Governor Robert Stafford, as Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs for Governor Joseph Johnson, and mounting a very close campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor. Dr Babcock was appointed by the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees as the first CEO (Provost) to be in charge of the state colleges at Lyndon, Johnson and Castleton. It was his priority to transform all three schools, which had been focused mainly on the training of teachers, into more broad-based liberal arts colleges, providing quality education at affordable cost. Babcock also initiated the formation of the Community College of Vermont during his tenure. After retiring as provost in 1974, Babcock returned to the State House, where he represented South Burlington from 1976 through 1980. Later in life Dr Babcock and his wife, Anne, donated the Babcock Nature Preserve, 1,000 acres of boreal forest land with a large and environmentally significant bog and three large ponds, to Johnson State College.
Distinguished Alumni Awards: Castleton University: Darren Perron, (’95); Community College of Vermont: Stephanie Thompson (’07); Johnson State College: Alice Whiting (’56); Lyndon State College: Gary W. Moore (’71) and Vermont Technical College: Jay Fayette (’85).
Darron Perron grew up in Barton, Vermont and graduated from Castleton with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Media Communications. He now anchors the WCAX-Channel 3 News at 6 and 11 pm Perron went to WCAX in 1995, where he worked as a weekend anchor for nearly a decade before replacing longtime anchor Marselis Parsons. Throughout his career Perron has received several awards including an Emmy, the VAB Broadcaster of the Year Award, nine Edward R Murrow Awards, and twelve Associated Press Awards. He was the only non-network reporter to be nominated for a GLAAD Award for “Becoming,” which was his series about the transgender community in Vermont. Perron has also been recognized as one of the top investigative reporters of New England by the National Television Academy, and has won numerous readers’ choice awards from Seven Days, the Times Argus, and the Rutland Herald. In 2013 he returned to his alma mater as the commencement speaker, where he urged the thousands in attendance to continue to learn from their mistakes: “If you don’t do something stupid when you’re young,” quipped Perron, “you won’t remember something funny when you’re old.”
Stephanie Thompson is a 2007 graduate who went on to earn a bachelor’s at JSC and a Master’s in Public Administration at Norwich University. Thompson exemplifies leadership through a demonstrated commitment to improving her community. She is a member of Springfield, Vermont’s Project ACTION (Assembling Community to Improve Our Neighborhoods), which is working to address the opiate epidemic. She is Executive Director of the Springfield Prevention Coalition, Town Administrator for the Town of Londonderry, Vice Chair of the Springfield Select Board, and board member of Emerge VT, promoting “Women Leaders for a Democratic Future.” She is a member of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute Class of 2016. Thompson teaches for CCV and has been actively involved with involving CCV students in community service projects.
Professor Alice Whiting has had an exceptional career with tremendous impact on education in Vermont, New England, and beyond. Her career spanned 50 years of teaching, including nine years at the elementary level and 41 years at Johnson State College (1965-2006). At JSC, Professor Whiting impacted the lives of thousands of graduates as a faculty member, department chair, and through her guidance of licensure students. She was one of the primary architects of the graduate education program at Johnson. Professor Whiting is well known for her leadership and advocacy in local, state, and regional educational organizations, including membership and leadership on the Johnson School Board, Johnson Town Library Board, Vermont Council on Reading, Vermont Council on Teacher Educators, VT Standards Board for Professional Educators, and New England Reading Association. She currently serves on the board of the Johnson Historical Society. In recognition of her service, she has been awarded the Jackie Gribbons Leadership Award and Sister Elizabeth Candon Award from the Vermont Women in Higher Education; Lyman Hunt Award from the Vermont Council on Reading; and the Johnson State College Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award, Distinguished Faculty Award, and Distinguished Service Award. The awarding of Emeritus Professor status by the VSC Board of Trustees in 2006 was the capstone to an outstanding career.
Gary Moore was the recipient of Lyndon’s 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award and the Presidential Medal of Distinction in 2014. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and the Lyndon State College Student Veterans Center was named in his honor in 2015. Moore was first appointed to the VSC Board of Trustees by Gov Richard Snelling in 1991. Beginning in 2006, the Board elected him as its chair until 2014. Moore is president of the consulting firm Gary W Moore Associates, assisting municipalities, state agencies, and industry in community and government relations and emergency planning and training. He spent 22 years at St Johnsbury Academy—the last 16 as assistant headmaster. He is a former commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Game Department and he chaired the Vermont Water Resources Board, and the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. In his hometown of Bradford, Moore is chairman of the Police Commission, Emergency Management Director, Town Grand Juror, and Town Agent. He retired from the Bradford Fire Department after 33 years, much of which he served as Chief or Assistant Chief. He is also active in civic and fraternal organizations, and is a well-respected outdoor columnist and freelance writer.
Jay Fayette is Senior Vice-President of PC Construction and a principal owner of Tech Vault. As employee owner and senior vice president, Jay oversees the business development, marketing, and construction operations efforts associated with the company’s $250 million buildings and facilities business segment. He provides executive leadership support for associated preconstruction, contract negotiations, budgeting and scheduling processes, and maintains active responsibility for projects with contract values totaling over $600 million. He is also an active community member participating on the Board of Directors for the KidSafe Collaborative of Chittenden County, Kingdom County Productions, and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. PC Construction is a new sponsor of a Vermont Tech scholarship for Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Project Management students. Fayette sits on the Chancellor’s Alumni Council.