Vermont Business Magazine Saint Michael’s College celebrated the lifetime of service and generosity of former U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy ’61 and his wife Marcelle Leahy on Saturday during a community event held on campus as part of Alumni and Family Weekend.
The College recently named its Center for the Environment for the Leahys for their lifetime of environmental advocacy and stewardship. As one of his last acts as a U.S. Senator, Leahy secured a $6.5 million appropriation through the 2023 Omnibus Appropriation Bill for Saint Michael’s – one of the largest grants in the College’s history. The appropriation will fund the continued development and growth of the newly named Patrick ‘61 and Marcelle Leahy Center for the Environment over the next four years.
During a community event on Saturday, Senator Leahy, a 1961 graduate, spoke fondly about his and Marcelle Leahy’s deep connection to Saint Michael’s and his pride in seeing how the College is using the appropriation money to educate and develop the environmental change-makers of the future. Dozens of Saint Michael’s community members, including current students, faculty, staff and alumni, attended the celebration Saturday to thank the Senator.
“I owe a lot of what I’ve been able to accomplish to the roots I developed here at Saint Michael’s,” Leahy said. He added, “Both Marcelle and I say thank you for having us here. I am proud of what you’re doing.”
Kristyn Achilich, the Center’s Director, described how the Center has become an integral part of the campus, touching many different academic disciplines and turning the campus into a living laboratory. She said the appropriation will have an immense impact on Saint Michael’s students for generations to come who seek to solve some of the most pressing environmental problems of the day – including those who choose to stay in Vermont to work after graduation.
“You have shared these values on a national stage with your community,” Achilich said to the Leahys. “Your community justice work, your service to those who build our societies – educators, nurses, farmers, veterans and current service members – you opened this conversation and began building the connective tissue through policy and funding work to connect for us previously siloed work on the environment, agriculture and humanitarian efforts.”
Preliminary information about the appropriation’s intended use can be found at smcvt.edu/about-smc/news/2023/january/historic-grant-thanks-to-sen-leahy-to-expand-center-for-environment.
About The Patrick ’61 and Marcelle Leahy Center for the Environment
The Patrick ’61 and Marcelle Leahy Center for the Environment at Saint Michael’s equips the next generation of environmental change-makers with the skills, knowledge, and experiences to make a positive impact in their local and global communities. The Center uses the College’s core curriculum and liberal arts approach to focus its teaching, learning, and institutional stewardship in five areas: farm and food, ecological restoration, sustainability, environmental education, and environmental analysis.
Exploration of these areas happens both in the traditional classrooms and the campus-wide living laboratory – the 360-acre Natural Area; the Teaching, Pollinator, and Tree Nursery Gardens, which are incorporated into the main campus’ landscape; the 1.75-acre Farm at Saint Michael’s; and the many sustainable initiatives that take place at the College. Connections with the greater community, including paid internships, research, and social impact projects, expand the students’ access to immersive learning experiences that set them up for success beyond Saint Michael’s.
About Saint Michael’s College
Saint Michael's College, founded on principles of social justice and leading lives of purpose and consequence, is a selective, Catholic college just outside Burlington, Vermont, one of the country's best college towns. Located between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, our closely connected community guarantees housing all four years and delivers internationally respected liberal arts together with an innovative Purposeful Learning Program, preparing students for fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. Young adults here grow intellectually, socially, and morally, learning to be responsible for themselves, each other, and their world.
Source: COLCHESTER, VT – Saint Michael’s College 9.23.2023.