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Commencement Speaker

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Justice Nancy Jear Waples was appointed to the Vermont Supreme Court by Governor Phil Scott, and was sworn in on April 15, 2022, making her the 137th Justice, the fifth woman, and the first person of color to serve on the Court.

Prior to her elevation to the Vermont Supreme Court, Justice Waples was the first person of color appointed to the Vermont Superior Court and spent seven years serving as a trial judge, hearing cases in the Family, Civil, and Criminal Divisions while sitting in counties all across Vermont.

Justice Waples’ professional experience spans decades of criminal practice, most recently as a managing partner at the Burlington firm, Hoff Curtis, but also as an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Vermont, and as an assistant district attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office where she handled both trials and appeals.

While in private practice, Justice Waples served by appointment from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals as the criminal justice act coordinator for the District of Vermont, where she was the liaison between Vermont’s federal courts and the panel of private attorneys who provided legal services to the indigent in federal criminal cases. Over the course of her career, Justice Waples has participated in a variety of volunteer and professional organizations, including Spectrum Youth and Family Services, the Vermont Youth Orchestra, the Junior League of Champlain Valley, and the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program.

Justice Waples received her BA from the College of William and Mary in 1982 and earned her JD from St. John’s University School of Law in 1987. She was born in Toronto, Canada, where her family had settled after fleeing the Communist Revolution in China, before emigrating to the United States and residing just outside of New York City. Having learned English as a second language, she is fluent in Chinese.

We are thrilled to welcome Justice Waples to campus and look forward to what is sure to be an inspiring address.



Please check this site regularly for updates. Any questions regarding Commencement can be directed to our Commencement Coordinator, Courtney Potter at