David France and John Abele to Receive Honorary Degrees at Champlain College Commencement May 11

David France (left) and John Abele (right)

April 8, 2019, BURLINGTON, VT - Champlain College will award honorary doctorates to its two commencement speakers—educator David France, founder of Revolution of Hope, and inventor John Abele, co-founder of Boston Scientific and founder and chairman of the Argosy Foundation—during its morning and afternoon commencement exercises on Saturday, May 11, 2019.

David France, an innovator, educator, author, musician, and founder of the Boston-based nonprofit Revolution of Hope, will address traditional undergraduates during the morning’s 141st Commencement. Champlain College President Donald J. Laackman is expected to confer 456 bachelor’s degrees to students in front of faculty, family and friends at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, Vermont. David France will receive a Doctorate of Humane Letters.


In the afternoon, John Abele—an inventor, co-founder of Boston Scientific, and now Vermont-based philanthropist who is the founder and chairman of the Argosy Foundation—will speak at the commencement exercises for Champlain College Online, Master in Education, and Master of Fine Arts students. President Laackman is expected to confer 402 master’s degrees, 399 bachelor’s degrees and 65 associate degrees at the same location. John Abele will receive a Doctorate of Science and Technology.


“We’re thrilled to welcome David France, a true Renaissance man whose many accomplishments include founding and leading Revolution of Hope, an arts for social change initiative that includes the Roxbury Youth Orchestra,” said President Laackman. “We first met David as a speaker at the World Positive Education Accelerator, a summit co-convened by Champlain in June 2018 focused on positive education and appreciative inquiry. We’re confident that his life of purpose will inspire our graduates.”


“Always in motion, John Abele—inventor, entrepreneur, change agent, and philanthropist—embodies Champlain’s ‘Let Us Dare’ philosophy,” said Provost & Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Laurie Quinn. “We’re fortunate to count John as a member of the Champlain College family. John has given guest lectures at Champlain, and co-taught an advanced seminar on Leadership in the Age of Transformation with our Associate Dean for Emergent Media, Ann DeMarle.”


About the 2019 Commencement Speakers/Honorary Degree Recipients


David France

A true champion for young entrepreneurs and dreamers, David France inspires social change. He is the author of Show Up!: Unlocking the Power of Relational Networking, an optimistic guide to turning luck into advantage for positive change among job seekers. He is a classically trained violinist who has performed with symphonies around the world, and a sought-after music teacher and keynote speaker. Revolution of Hope, a Boston-based nonprofit he founded and continues to lead, leverages music instruction to achieve social change through its flagship Roxbury Youth Orchestra program. He consults with young entrepreneurs on how to launch a business or brand, and he conducts “Show Up! Dinners” that build relationships and corporate teamwork through meal preparation and entertaining. In 2016, David France was named as one of the Top 100 People of Color in Boston and one of the Top 40 Under 40 Urban Innovators across the country.


John Abele

John Abele co-founded Boston Scientific in 1979 to develop technology that would reduce risk, trauma, cost and recovery time of medical procedures on patients. The medical device company now employs 29,000 people around the world and offers 13,000 life-changing products. The company went public in 1992 and John still serves as director emeritus. In 1997, he created the Argosy Foundation with his wife Mary and their three children to support people and programs that make our society a better place to live. The nonprofit made grants of more than $6.6 million in 2017 to organizations seeking self-sustaining and replicable solutions. While leading Boston Scientific he radically changed the culture of medicine through inventing and developing some of the first-to-market devices designed to treat life-damaging conditions, and as a philanthropist he continues to disrupt convention. At Argosy Foundation, funder-donor partnerships are not limited to traditional program areas, but instead emphasize a due-diligence approach to making strategic, leveraged investments followed by continuous learning for future opportunities.


Commencement Day Details

Champlain College’s 141st Commencement will be held Saturday morning, May 11, 2019, at the Champlain Valley Exposition, located at 105 Pearl Street in Essex Junction, Vermont. The main entry gate will open for guests at 9:00 AM. The traditional undergraduate ceremony will begin at 10:00 AM and is expected to conclude by noon. The College will provide an online broadcast link at www.champlain.edu/commencement.