Wednesday, April 20, 2011

UI&U Brattleboro Graduates First Women's Empowerment Scholarship Recipient

BRATTLEBORO – On Sunday, May 1, students from Brattleboro and across New England will converge at UI&U’s Brattleboro Academic Center to take part in the university’s Bachelor of Arts Weekend Option commencement. Former UI&U BA core faculty member Rickey Gard Diamond, editor at Vermont Woman magazine, will serve as the guest speaker for the event.

As students in the weekend residency option, the new graduates met one weekend each month at the Brattleboro Center and completed the remainder of their coursework online. The option allowed the students – mostly working adults – to earn their degree while fulfilling job and family responsibilities. “Most of our commencers are adult learners who did not find satisfaction at traditional schools, but who flourished at Union, where they were able to do independent and self-designed study tailored to their needs,” said Sharon Sprague, BA program advisor.

Brattleboro resident Elizabeth Johnson, the first recipient of Brattleboro’s Women’s Empowerment Scholarship, will graduate. A single mother with a young son, Elizabeth pursued the program’s Historical, Social, and Cultural Studies concentration. The primary focus of her studies was the sociological study of the single-parent family. The Women’s Empowerment Scholarship that funds eligible single, female, heads-of-households, allowed her to finish ahead of schedule.

“I returned to school to complete my education so that I would be able to better provide for my son and myself,” said Johnson. “I realized that a degree would enable me to pursue a career and provide me with the time it takes to raise my son, without having to work extra hours just to get by.”

A hallmark of the Brattleboro commencement ceremony, the new graduates will be presented their diplomas by loved ones who helped and inspired them to complete their education. Johnson chose her young son to present her with her diploma.

An informational ‘visiting day’ will take place on Saturday, April 30, from 1-3 p.m. at the Brattleboro Center for those interested in learning more about the BA program. The Sunday commencement will begin at 11:45 a.m. Both events will be held at the UI&U Brattleboro Academic Center located at the Vermont Agricultural and Education Center on Old Guilford Road at 3 University Way. For more information about the Brattleboro degree programs and the B.A. commencement please contact the Brattleboro Academic Center at 802-257-9411 or email

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