Alumni Awards of Distinction

The VLSAA Distinguished Alumni Award

The Vermont Law School Alumni Association is now accepting nominations for the VLSAA Distinguished Alumni Award.

The nomination period will be open Friday, December 6, 2019 - Friday, January 31, 2020.

Nominations for the 2020 VLSAA Distinguished Alumni Award should be sent to vlsaa@vermontlaw.edu.
Receipt of nominations will be acknowledged.

Nominations should include a brief paragraph describing the reasons for the nomination, along with a bio or CV for the nominee. Nominations from up to 3 years prior will carry over. Please note that Vermont Law School Faculty and Staff are not eligible for the award.

The recipient will be selected by the VLSAA Board at the March board meeting, and the award will be presented during Vermont Law School's Alumni Weekend on June 27, 2020.

Questions should be addressed to VLSAA Vice President Patrick Kennedy'93 at jospatkennedy@gmail.com

The VLSAA Distinguished Alumni Award was established by the Board of Directors of the Vermont Law School Alumni Association in March 2011. The award is given to alumni who exemplify and enhance "the VLS core values of community, diversity, service, ethics, and justice, and who enhance the reputation of Vermont Law School in the greater community."

2019 Award Recipient

Patricia Whalen JD'79

Patricia Whalen JD'79

The Vermont Law School Alumni Association Board of Directors has selected Hon. Patricia Whalen as the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.

The VLSAA Distinguished Alumni Award was established by the Board of Directors of the Vermont Law School Alumni Association in March 2011. The award is given to alumni who exemplify and enhance "the VLS core values of community, diversity, service, ethics, and justice, and who enhance the reputation of Vermont Law School in the greater community."

The inaugural award in 2011 was presented to J. Scott Cameron JD'80. In 2012, the award was presented to Wynona Ward JD'98. In 2013, the award was presented to Professor Linda Smiddy JD'79. In 2014, the award was presented to David Mears JD'91. In 2015, the award was presented to The Honorable Justice Harold "Duke" Eaton JD'80. In 2016, the award was presented to Gabor Rona JD'78. In 2017, the award was presented to Dr. Marilyn Bartlett JD'91. And in 2018, the award was presented to Elizabeth MacDonough JD'98, for her service to the nation as the sixth parliamentarian of the U.S. Senate; she is also the first woman to hold the position in either the Senate or the House of Representatives.

Hon. Patricia Whalen has been a judge for over 20 years, working in U.S., Bosnia and Herzegovina court systems. In addition, she helped establish the Afghan Judicial Education Program and the Rural Women Leadership Institute of Vermont (USA), serving as Project Director from 2004-2014. While there, she designed the Vermont Afghan Judicial Education Program, which serves as a cultural exchange and legal education for Afghan women judges. She was also a keynote speaker at the first Afghan Women Judges Conference in Kabul, discussing the impact of women in the judiciary. Over 90 Afghan women judges were present for this historic event. Whalen specializes in human rights, war crimes, gender violence in conflict, genocide and crimes against humanity, and family law. Since 2014, Whalen lectures, consults and presents for a variety of institutions including the United States Military Academy - West Point, the FBI International Human Rights Unit, The International Commission on Missing Persons, Vermont Law School, Washington Law School at American University, Keene State College, the Cohen Center for Genocide and Holocaust Studies, Bennington College, University of Massachusetts, School for International Training, U.S. Department of State, BiH Judicial College, USAID, and Osher Learning Institute. She currently consults and advises the Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Past Recipients

  • 2011, J. Scott Cameron JD'80, in recognition of his many years of service to VLS and his significant contributions to the legal community.
  • 2012, Wynona Ward JD'98, in recognition of her role as founder of Have Justice Will Travel, a model program directed at bringing an end to the generational cycle of abuse for women and children in rural communities.
  • 2013, Professor Linda Smiddy JD'79, the first alumna to become tenured faculty at Vermont Law, in recognition of her contributions to scholarship and the legal profession.
  • 2014, David Mears JD'91, who was recognized for his steadfast advocacy, leadership and service.
  • 2015, The Honorable Justice Harold "Duke" Eaton JD'80 for his exemplary leadership over 35 years in a public service legal career. 
  • 2016, Gabor Rona JD'78, for his exemplary work in the field of international human rights. 
  • 2017, Dr. Marilyn Bartlett JD'91, in honor of her lifelong efforts to support equal rights and social justice, especially in the field of education. 
  • 2018, Elizabeth MacDonough JD'98, for her service to the nation as the sixth parliamentarian of the U.S. Senate; she is also the first woman to hold the position in either the Senate or the House of Representatives.
  • 2019, Hon. Patricia Whalen JD'79.

Social Justice Scholars Alumni Award

2019 Award Recipient

Cynthia Burns JD'88

Cynthia BurnsThe Social Justice Mission Scholars announced Cynthia Burns JD’88 as the recipient of the fourth annual Social Justice Scholars Alumni Award, honoring an alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to causes of social justice.

The Scholars are a select group of VLS students chosen through a competitive application process based on their demonstrated commitment to creating a more just society. They carry forward Vermont Law School’s tradition of leadership on social justice issues. To this end, they created the award to honor a Vermont Law School alumnus/a who has demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to causes of social justice.

Cynthia Burns JD'88 has been chosen as our 2019 Vermont Law School Social Justice Scholar's Alumni Award recipient, an environmental advocate focused on ... READ MORE

 

Alumni Service Award

2019 Award Recipient

Jami Westerhold JD/MSEL’08

Jami WesterholdVermont Law School has selected Jami Westerhold JD/MSEL’08 as the fifth recipient of the annual Alumni Service Award.

The Alumni Service Award recognizes volunteer service to Vermont Law School, especially active participation in alumni or school affairs, as well as faithful and continued effort in maintaining class, interest group or other alumni organizations.

The award was presented to Karis North JD’95 in 2015, Jackie Brilling JD’79 in 2016, S. Mark Sciarrotta JD’96 in 2017, and Susan Lacoste MSEL'03 in 2018. 

With a passion for the environment, Jami Westerhold JD/MSEL'08 decided to attend VLS with the aspiration of translating legalese for ... READ MORE

 

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