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Distance Learning Graduates to Participate in VLS Commencement

May 14, 2013


Peter Glenshaw, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School
Office: 802-831-1318, cell: 603-738-8487, home: 603-795-4764,
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SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt.—Graduates of the distance learning program at Vermont Law School (VLS) will participate in the 2013 Commencement, marking the first time in the law school’s history that its degree recipients will include both residential students and non-residential students.

“This is an incredibly special moment not only for Vermont Law School, but for the students themselves, some of whom are coming from as far away as the Philippines and Puerto Rico to participate in graduation,” said Rebecca Purdom, Director of the Distance Learning and Assistant Dean of Environmental Programs at VLS.

“I am very excited to be participating in commencement,” said Evelyn Rivera-Ocasio, who currently works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Puerto Rico and will be graduating with an LLM in Environmental Law. “I started this journey two years ago and it has exceeded all of my expectations.”

Twenty-eight distance learning students will participate in the 2013 Commencement in South Royalton, Vermont. Seventeen of the students will be conferred Master’s degrees in Environmental Law and Policy (MELP), and eleven students will receive an LLM degree in Environmental Law. Altogether, 53 VLS students have graduated from the VLS distance learning program (32 MELP and 21 LLM graduates).

Vermont Law School currently enrolls approximately 150 students in its distance learning program. Working in “cohorts,” students can begin a program of study at six different dates during the course of a year, and take one to two courses each term until their degrees are completed. Some of the graduates participating in the Commencement exercises were among the students in the first cohort of the distance learning program, which began two years ago on May 16, 2011.

“We welcome each of these graduates to the VLS alumni community,” said Karis North ‘95, President of the Vermont Law School Alumni Association. “We are proud of your accomplishments and look forward to working with you over the coming years to strengthen and advance Vermont Law School.”


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, has the top-ranked environmental law program and one of the top-ranked clinical training programs in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; two Master’s Degrees (Master of Environmental Law and Policy, and Master of Energy Regulation and Law), and three post-JD degrees—LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, and LLM in Environmental Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, the South Royalton Legal Clinic, and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. For more information, visit

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