Green Mountain College

The Green Mountain College graduation procession, shown here in 2015, will once again be piped down Poultney’s Main Street this Sunday in the institution’s final commencement.

POULTNEY — The school anthem will chorus once more this Sunday at Green Mountain College — with a few more commencement speakers than usual.

There will be nine.

“We wanted the program to represent all of the constituents from a long history of GMC,” Allen said in an interview on Tuesday, ahead of the college’s final commencement ceremony. Otherwise, the proceedings should go traditionally, except for his expectation of more attendees than usual.

The speakers were selected from all areas of the college’s community.

Instead of one faculty member speaking, there will be two. William Throop, professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies, and Eleanor Tison, associate professor of Anthropology & Sustainable Agriculture, will both deliver addresses.

Two Green Mountain College alumni will also speak: Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees Cathi Parker, class of 1987, and Jose Tulio Galvez Contreras, class of 2011.

Environmentalist and human rights activist Dianne Dillon-Ridgely of the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future will also be presenting.

Two students will also speak on behalf of about 130 undergraduates, Allen said. Golden Boardley, who participated in the Natural Resource Management program and will be transferring to another school, will talk, as will Isabella Fearn, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Adventure Recreation and a minor in Elementary Education.

Jillian Joyce will be graduating with a master’s degree in Environmental Studies, and will speak on behalf of the over 120 masters students Allen expects to graduate, and school Chaplain Shirley Oskamp will deliver a piece on behalf of the staff.

Allen said though the undergraduate class is not substantially larger than last year, the number of masters students is approximately doubled, and they’re anticipating a record attendance from alumni and members of the community who, he suggested, might want to bring their own chairs.

“We have 850 chairs. ... We’re reserving all seating for the graduates,” Allen said, anticipating an especially long ceremony lasting approximately two to two and a half hours.

The traditional procession down Main Street starting at LiHigh School will still be heralded by bagpipes, and the GMC choir will perform a final farewell to the campus, for the 182nd graduating class.

Though there is no buyer yet, unless there is a sale prior to the end of June, the campus will transition into the possession of trustees Verdolino and Lowy of Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Under a teach-out agreement Prescott College has taken on the program directors for GMC’s Master’s Degree programs, and members of GMC’s enrollment team will now be working for Prescott to recruit for the northeast. Almost 30 faculty members have confirmed positions with other educational institutions, Allen said.

“We think 100 or more students will enroll at Prescott,” Allen said.

Most of the students plan to continue their education, Allen said, with the second-largest number of teach-out agreements sending students to Chatham University in Pittsburgh.

Allen said he’s one of the only people at GMC not looking for a job, and all of his and Provost Tom Maus-Pugh’s time has been dedicated to finding placements for students, staff and faculty.

“We’ve worked very hard as an institution to (prepare for) closing with dignity and integrity, and I’m proud of that,” Allen said.


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