Champlain 135th Commencement on May 4

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Champlain College will confer honorary degrees during this year's 135th  Commencement on Saturday, May 4 to well-known Vermont novelist Chris Bohjalian and Vermont's captive insurance association founder George Chaffee.

Bohjalian will deliver the commencement speech to the graduating class of 2013 on behalf of the honorary degree recipients during the outdoor ceremony at Edmunds Middle School field, adjacent to Champlain College.  Bohjalian will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts honorary degree; Chaffee will receive a Doctor of Commerce honorary degree.

There will be 429 candidates receiving their bachelor and associate degree diplomas during the Saturday morning graduation, being held outdoors at Edmunds for the first time under a tent. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. The main gate will open for guests at 9 a.m. The ceremony should conclude by noon. A reception on campus will follow the ceremony.   Admission to the May 4 commencement is by ticket only. Campus and college officials will broadcast the event online at

Bohjalian, who lives in Lincoln, Vt., is the critically acclaimed author of 16 books, including eight New York Times bestsellers. His work has been translated into over 25 languages and three times became movies. He has written for a wide variety of magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. He has been a weekly columnist in Vermont for the Burlington Free Press since February 1992. Bohjalian graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Amherst College, and lives in Vermont with his wife, the photographer Victoria Blewer, and their daughter Grace Experience. 

George ChaffeeChaffee, a leader in the banking and insurance industry and the founding director of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association, is a 1960 Harvard College graduate with an associate degree in Engineering and Applied Physics. Originally from Fitchsburg, Mass., he came to Vermont in 1977 to serve as the Deputy Commissioner of Banking for the State of Vermont and was Commissioner from 1980-84.

Chaffee, who lives in Williston with his wife, LouAnn,  established the Vermont Insurance Management Inc. in Montpelier and served as president from 1984-86 and president of Sinser Management Services from 1986-2001. He is the founding board member and former president of the Vermont Insurance Institute at Champlain College, established to train accountants to work in the specialized field of insurance accounting. It is now known as the International Center for Captive Insurance Education at the University of Vermont. 

The Vermont Captive Insurance Association was established in 1985 and has served an important role in establishing Vermont not only as the premiere US captive domicile, but as one of the world's largest and most desirable domiciles. It has created 1,400 jobs and brings in $25 million in tax revenue to the state annually.

 "Our honored guests have played major leadership roles in their chosen fields and both have exhibited a life-long commitment to giving back to their communities through their words and deeds," said Champlain College President David F. Finney. Full information about the Commencement/Graduation ceremonies is available at

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit