Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary Degree Recipients - 2014

Robert P. Stiller
Doctor of Commerce, Honoris Causa

Bob Stiller has managed a number of successful businesses.  He grew up working for a family business, Still-man Manufacturing, which was acquired by Teledyne, Inc. in 1965. He then co-founded Robert Burton Associates in 1971 which was sold in 1980 when it had 25% of the US market for its innovative, E-Z Wider cigarette papers.  Next, Bob founded Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. in 1981 and served as its President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board until 2007.  He remained as Chairman until 2013 when he retired from the board. 

Under Bob's leadership, Green Mountain made a tremendous contribution to corporate social responsibility giving 5% of its pretax profits yearly to fund charitable projects and being listed as number one for social responsibility in 2006 and 2007.

Bob always fostered and allowed the company's actions to be guided by employee initiative, and this led to employees being truly engaged in the success of the organization.  Bob showed how a dedication to the employees, customers, consumers, supply-chain providers and other stakeholders could create a beneficial business model that results not only in profits — which were shared throughout the organization — but also in a passion for making the world a better place

As an outgrowth of Bob's life experiences, the Stiller Family Foundation is supporting programs like the ones at Champlain College and King Street Center that help people help themselves.  For this and other work, the foundation received the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2013 Award for "Outstanding Foundation."


Christine Stiller
Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa

Christine Grennan Stiller is president of the Stiller Family Foundation. Stiller was born in the Bronx and grew up on Long Island, New York before attending Hunter College in New York City, where she majored in European History. 

She worked as an International flight attendant for Trans World Airways (TWA) out of JFK Airport from 1968 until 1983 and resided in Lausanne, Switzerland and Rome, Italy for some of that time.

Stiller moved to Vermont with her husband Bob in 1983. She was the support at home and in the community while he was building Green Mountain Coffee Roasters from 1981 until he retired. During this same time, she established a sport horse breeding business in Hinesburg, Vt., and was the Coordinator of the Area 1 Young Riders Association, capturing gold and silver medals at the North American championships. She is the proud mother of three children she and Bob have raised together. Jules is an accomplished equestrian living in England; David graduated from Champlain College with his Masters in Fine Arts, Emergent Media in 2012; and Christian graduated from Champlain College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business in 2012. A few years after Bob retired, they moved to Florida where the climate was more conducive to lots of outdoor activities.

While living in Vermont, Stiller served as a board member of the United Way of Chittenden County for six years and was active on the Allocations Committee. She continues her volunteer work on the Allocations Committee for the Town of Palm Beach United Way and has been invited to serve on the Board there starting next year. Through personal support, and through the Stiller Family Foundation, of which she is President, she has created scholarship opportunities for local students, supported programs for kids at the local King Street Center, and for many years she has supported the Single Parents Program at Champlain College.

As President and Founder of The Adventure Girls of VT, Christine treasures her summer months spent in Vermont among close friends and family.


Fern Tavalin
Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa

Fern Tavalin is a nationally renowned creative educator and project director. Her work is recognized for technology innovation, using multimedia and telecommunication to improve student learning in the arts and humanities.

Tavalin has spoken widely about topics including arts assessment, technology innovation, project-based learning, and the development of digital portfolios.

From 1995-2005, she originated and led The WEB Project, an award winning initiative that created collaborative online processes for reflection and critique of student work in visual art, music composition, civic discourse, shared literature, and cultural exchange. Most recently, she has maintained consulting contracts with the School District of Sarasota County to evaluate their NEA-funded integrated arts initiative and with the Arts and Cultural Alliance to manage their grant-making program to arts and cultural organizations.

Tavalin holds an Ed.D. from UMASS Amherst with a concentration in creativity, an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from University of Vermont, and a B.A. in economics from Franklin and Marshall College. For the past six years, she has actively shown her photographs in juried shows in Sarasota, Florida and Savannah, Georgia and in the Beijing art district of Cao Chang Dl. (from Maine College of Art).

Today, she serves as the chair of a newly established Master of Arts in Teaching at Maine College of Art in Portland, telecommuting during the fall and spring semesters and teaching in residence during the summer.

Previously, Tavalin served as the director of the Vermont Arts Assessment Project and helped to develop the Vermont Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities. (Center for Digital Art in Brattleboro, Vt.)


Honorary Degree Recipients - 2013 - Chris Bohjalian, George Chaffee


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