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News Release

Dean Jefferson Appointed to Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees

Monday, July 19, 2021

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott has appointed Vermont Law School’s (VLS) Shirley Jefferson JD’86 to the board of trustees of the Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS).

Jefferson is the associate dean for Student Affairs and Diversity, and an associate professor of law at VLS. Dean Jefferson serves as the law school's senior student affairs officer and is also is responsible for advising and mentoring the Student Bar Association and 35 other student organizations.

“As the Vermont State College system goes through an important period in its history, Shirley brings perspective and experience that will prove invaluable to the board of trustees,” said Governor Scott. “Vermont needs its state colleges to be strong, and strong leadership makes a big difference. I’m confident Shirley will serve Vermonters well.”

As a member of the board of trustees, Jefferson will impact the college experiences of more than 12,000 students across the state and help provide oversight for institutions that are vital to the training of Vermont’s future workforce and the state’s economic development.

“The Vermont State Colleges System is an essential component of the higher and continuing education, and workforce development fabric that supports Vermonters, our local communities, and Vermont businesses,” said Dean Jefferson. “The board’s goal of achieving system-wide transformation that retains a focus on the student experience is particularly interesting to me, given my professional experience in student affairs. Institutions and systems of higher education are under tremendous stress and are facing enrollment and financial challenges that are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to bringing my student-focused experience to the VSCS Board of Trustees and assisting the system navigate the ongoing transformation efforts.”

In welcoming her appointment, VSCS Board Chair Lynn Dickinson pointed to Dean Jefferson’s career accomplishments and experience in higher education.

“I am pleased the governor appointed such a hard-working, accomplished, and skilled Vermonter to the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees,” said Chair Dickinson. “We have a lot of work ahead of us and I know Shirley will be a tremendous addition to our team. She brings incredible experience from higher education to the board and I look forward to working with her in the years to come.”

Prior to joining VLS, Dean Jefferson served as general counsel for the United Black Fund, Inc., associate counsel in the law office of Wilhelmina J. Rolark, and a legislative assistant on the Committee on Judiciary to Council Member Wilhelmina J. Rolark. While attending VLS, Dean Jefferson received the Alumni Association Award and was a Debevoise Family Scholarship recipient.  She also founded the Minority Student Group at VLS.

Originally from Selma, Alabama, Dean Jefferson marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and former Congressman John Lewis as a young girl, and at age seventeen integrated her high school.