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From the President

Get the latest official Vermont Law and Graduate School news from the VLGS President and Dean.

VLGS President Rod Smolla
The Supreme Court today held that universities may no longer engage in race-conscious student admissions, ruling that race-conscious admissions practices violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. While Vermont Law and Graduate School is a private institution, the Supreme Court’s decision is binding on VLGS, as it was binding directly on Harvard, because VLGS must comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which has been interpreted as imposing the same legal obligations as the Fourteenth Amendment. VLGS will of course comply with the Court’s opinion, as it is…

July 16, 2021

When Beth McCormack was named interim president and dean by the VLS Board of Trustees on January 23, she became the first woman to hold that position in the school’s history. A VLS faculty member since 2011 and a veteran of multiple administrative roles, including serving as vice dean for students, McCormack has been tasked with leading the school through the development and early-stage implementation of a strategic plan that will better prepare it for the future. Loquitur recently talked with Dean McCormack about her path to becoming the interim president and dean,…

Dean Beth McCormack

February 5, 2021

Dear friends of Vermont Law School:

My name is Beth McCormack and late last month I was honored to be named Vermont Law School’s interim president and dean – the first woman to serve in this role. While I’ve met many of you during my decade as a professor and administrator at VLS, I would like to introduce myself to those of you who I haven’t met, as well as share a few thoughts about the future of our school.

I joined the VLS faculty in 2011 and have been the vice dean for students since 2017. In that position I have been responsible for all of our…

President Tom McHenry speaking at a lectern

June 1, 2020

Like so many across America, I am deeply upset by the racial injustice illustrated most recently by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as the continuing incidents of police brutality directed at people of color.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionately devastating impact on the health and economic status of our communities of color. It has also confirmed what we already knew -- that deep racial disparities continue to exist in our nation. We stand with our students, faculty, staff and alumni in demanding an end to this…

Decorative image of Debevoise Tower

July 17, 2018

Dear Vermont Law School Community:

A month ago, I wrote to you about the financial challenges our School was facing, and how we are working to address them. Today, I can confidently say that Vermont Law School has a stronger, more sustainable financial model that positions the school to thrive in coming years.

This has not been an easy process, but with the thoughtful support of the Board of Trustees, we have been implementing changes to our instructional budget. This programmatic…

President Tom McHenry

May 31, 2018

Dear Vermont Law School Community:

Less than a year ago, I arrived in South Royalton to serve Vermont Law School as the new President and Dean. I have quickly learned what a close and conscientious community this truly is, and also just how big some of the challenges are that we face together.

It is no secret that VLS, like many institutions of higher education (and particularly law schools), has been facing considerable financial pressures for most of this decade.

VLS is a small, independent institution. These very characteristics help…

Picture of MacDonough at VLS Commencement

April 9, 2018

VLS Community:

It is my distinct honor and pleasure to announce that Elizabeth C. MacDonough has accepted our invitation to serve as the 2018 Commencement Speaker. As the Parliamentarian of the U.S. Senate, she is the official advisor to the Senate on the interpretation of the standing rules and parliamentary procedure. She is the first woman to hold this role. Ms. MacDonough is a VLS alumna graduating with a J.D. in 1998. She will address the law school community at the Commencement ceremony on the South Royalton Green on Saturday, May 12 which starts…

March 21, 2018
U.S. News & World Report has again recognized Vermont Law School as the No. 1 environmental law school in the United States.
Decorative image of Montpelier statehouse gold dome
October 19, 2017
The American Bar Association has granted acquiescence in VLS' applications to establish a Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice, and a Master of Arts in Restorative Justice degree, an important step toward establishing our Center for Justice Reform.

September 7, 2017

Dear VLS Community,

This week the Trump administration announced plans to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that, since 2012, has enabled more than three quarters of a million undocumented immigrants to legally live, work and study in the United States without fear of deportation. Brought to the U.S. as children, DACA recipients are often described as Dreamers. They have jobs, attend college, and pay taxes.

Vermont Law School stands with the Dreamers firmly and unequivocally against any policy change that would…