This year’s opening Convocation ceremony honored award-winning journalist Jane Lindholm with its 2021 Distinguished Citizen Award for her significant contributions to the Vermont community.
In its 60th year, the award recognizes leaders that have made a meaningful impact on their communities. “Champlain College is thrilled to name Jane Lindholm as this year’s Distinguished Citizen. As the former host of VPR’s Vermont Edition, she took a thoughtful, incisive, and inclusive approach to unearthing and sharing the many stories within and beyond Vermont, and now she continues to educate and enlighten through her popular podcast,” said David Finney, Interim President. “Through her trusted voice, she has created and strengthened our community and enhanced our learning about each other and the world that surrounds us.”
Lindholm currently serves as host, executive producer, and creator of Vermont Public Radio’s But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. The nationally recognized podcast collects and answers questions from children all over the world. Lindholm began her journalism career in 2001 at National Public Radio (NPR), where she worked on a variety of programming including Radio Expeditions, Marketplace, Talk of the Nation, and Weekend Edition Saturday. Lindholm moved back to her home state of Vermont in 2007 and has been a mainstay at Vermont Public Radio for almost 15 years. She grew Vermont Edition from a weekly pilot into a flagship daily newsmagazine, and has been recognized with regional and national accolades, including several Murrow, PRNDI and GRACIE awards. Jane stepped down from Vermont Edition in March 2021, and now focuses on the But Why podcast full time.
During Convocation, which marks the kick-off to Champlain’s orientation activities, Lindholm shared her perspectives with the incoming first-year class and transfer students under an open tent behind Champlain’s Roger H. Perry Hall. Lindholm relayed the power of curiosity, saying: “Curiosity teaches us about things we never knew existed. It can lead us down paths we never could have dreamed of. And makes life vibrant, powerful, and fun.” She told incoming students, “You CAN make a career out of curiosity” and advised them “to cultivate curiosity alongside everything you do at Champlain. Cultivate a sense of adventure, a sense of inquisitiveness, of wonder.”
Dr. Eric Ronis, Associate Dean for Academics and Professor in the Division of Communication & Creative Media and recipient of the College’s 2019 Edward Phelps Lyman Professorship award, delivered the honorary welcome address on behalf of the faculty in place of Dr. Patti Aldredge, the 2021 Lyman recipient who was not able to attend. Brandon L’Abbe ’22 welcomed students as President of the Student Government Association. President Finney also conferred Faculty Emeritus status to two retired faculty members—Joanne Farrell and Champ Soncrant.