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.