Jane Sanders to give commencement speech at Goddard College

Jane Sanders and her husband, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders
Jane Sanders and her husband, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders

PLAINFIELD, Vt. – Goddard College announced today that Jane O’Meara Sanders, a Goddard alumna and entrepreneur in the public realm for most of her career, was selected by the spring 2017 graduating class of the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program to be the speaker at the Feb. 5 Commencement Ceremony.
Sanders, who is married to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Vermont Economic Development Authority. Previously, she served as president of Burlington College and was provost and interim president of Goddard College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980.
As a municipal department head in the City of Burlington, Sanders founded many programs and non-profits for children and families that continue today. She has also worked in the U.S. Congress, been elected as a School Board Commissioner, and run her own small business as a media and educational consultant. Sanders earned her Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies at Union Institute & University.
“Considering the times we are living in, we felt it was important to find a way to honor the Sanders family and the Goddard community for being alternative voices in education and national politics,” said graduating student Suchi Branfman, a dancer, choreographer, and activist from Santa Monica, Calif.
JuPong Lin, director of the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program, said the decision to invite Sanders to give the commencement address also serves to highlight Goddard’s commitment to social justice and inclusion.
Goddard College holds twenty commencement ceremonies each year, allowing for students in each degree program to personalize their graduation experience. Eight students will earn the Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts on Feb. 5. They are:

  • Suchi Branfman of Santa Monica, Calif.
  • Amy Gray of Alexandria, Va.
  • Joshua “Wolf” Luman of Columbia, Maine
  • EliSabeth Meindl of Belville, Texas
  • Adrienne Mackey of Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Patricia Corbett of Richmond, Va.
  • Jesikah Maria Ross of Davis, Calif.
  • Thomas Rothacker Jr. of Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts engages artists from a variety of practices, including visual arts, dance, music, theater, performance art, social practice, design, digital media, and the literary arts, to study in a rigorous interdisciplinary context. Students not only have the opportunity to work across artistic disciplines both individually and in collaboration with peers, but the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts also encourages broader interdisciplinary inquiry, enabling dialogue among art and science, social science, humanities, and other systems of knowledge.


Goddard College is a liberal arts institution offering low-residency bachelor’s and master’s degrees from its campus in Plainfield, Vermont, and its educational sites in Port Townsend and Seattle, Washington. At Goddard, students decide their areas of study, determine which resources they will use, and devise how they will measure and demonstrate what they learn. The College was founded in 1863 and moved to its Plainfield campus in 1938. It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., through the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  


Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to www.goddard.edu

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