Marlboro College is pleased to announce that U.S. Congressman Peter Welch will address the college’s 70th commencement on May 14, 2017. An outspoken advocate of affordable higher education, and a champion of working Vermonters throughout much of his career, Congressman Welch will share his wealth of experience with both graduates and undergraduates in Marlboro’s class of 2017.
“We at Marlboro are thrilled to welcome Congressman Welch to our learning community and to learn from his lifetime of service as a state and national representative,” said Kevin Quigley, Marlboro College president. “Peter’s record exemplifies the leadership needed to find common ground on the many challenges facing our nation, and it is an honor to have him address our graduates.”
Welch was first elected to the Vermont Senate in 1980 and later was selected by his colleagues to lead the chamber, becoming the first Democrat in Vermont history to hold the position of Senate President Pro Tempore. He was elected to Vermont’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006—gaining national attention for refusing to air negative ads—and Vermonters have returned him to the House by wide margins in subsequent elections.
“A college education has always been the gateway to engaged citizenship, and Marlboro College is an outstanding example of an academic community where students are full participants,” said Welch. “With your shared governance structure, Town Meetings, committee involvement, and self-directed course of study, Marlboro students are ideally equipped to grapple with the most pressing issues confronting our nation.”
Welch will receive an honorary degree along with Marlboro alumna and former trustee Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina ’72, dean of the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Gerzina is a distinguished biographer and scholar of literature, recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.