Goddard College Honors Local Activists

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Alumni and Environmental Advocates to Receive Awards at Goddard Commencement Ceremony

PLAINFIELD, Vt. — Goddard College presents two Marshfield residents with awards this Sunday, March 29th. Longtime farmer Wilmer Brandt will receive the Goddard Award for Excellence and cultural anthropologist Dan Chodorkoff will receive the Fourth Annual Presidential Award for Activism at an award ceremony at Goddard’s undergraduate commencement, where eight students will receive the Individualized Bachelor of Arts and five will receive the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree.

Wilmer Brandt received his Bachelor of Arts from Goddard in 1955. He is an activist, farmer, forester, advocate for social and economic justice, a Quaker and a pacifist. He supports many causes, including the Vermont Wilderness School, Vermont Refugee Committee, the American Friends Service, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and others. On January 29, 2010, the Vermont House of Representatives recognized Brandt for his outstanding work and contributions to education, Vermont’s natural resources, and social justice. Brandt has dedicated his life to serving his community. He is 94 years old.

Dan Chodorkoff received both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Goddard in 1971 and 1973, respectively. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the New School for Social Research. He is most well known for co-founding the Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) in Plainfield in 1972. More recently, he authored two books, The Anthropology of Utopia and the novel Loisaida. Chodorkoff has dedicated his life to exploring and promoting ecological approaches to food production, alternative technologies, and urban design.

“My time at Goddard, as both a student and as a member of the faculty, was formative,” said Chodorkoff. “While I was an activist before I came to Goddard, the College offered a nurturing environment which encouraged and supported both critical thinking and informed action, allowing me to develop my ideas and express them in creative ways…I am honored to receive the Presidential Award for Activism from Goddard College,” he said.

The Presidential Award for Activism recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions in the field of social justice, and who embody the mission and values of Goddard College.  Previous recipients of this award include Holocaust survivor Stephan Ross, Bread & Puppet founder Peter Schumann, and Olympic medalist Dr. Tommie Smith.

The Goddard Award for Excellence is given to individuals who exemplify the values of the College’s Mission Statement: to advance cultures of rigorous inquiry, collaboration, and lifelong learning, where individuals take imaginative and responsible action in the world.

The commencement and award ceremony is open to the public and will take place at the Haybarn Theatre at Goddard College, located at 123 Pitkin Road in Plainfield, at 4:00p.m on Sunday, March 29, 2015.

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About Goddard College

Goddard College is an accredited, low-residency, non-profit liberal arts college offering MA, MFA, BA, and BFA degree programs in Plainfield, Vermont, and in Seattle and Port Townsend, Washington. Initially founded in 1863 as the Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vt., the College moved to its Greatwood Campus in Plainfield in 1938 and was chartered by founding President Royce “Tim” Pitkin. In 1963, Goddard was the first U.S. college to offer Adult Degree Programs. Goddard’s unique, student-centered model of education offers the best of on-campus and distance learning, with one-on-one faculty advisor meetings, rigorous academic experiences, and the freedom to study from anywhere. More at goddard.edu.

About Dan Chodorkoff

Chodorkoff was awarded a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the New School for Social Research. He was a faculty member at Goddard College from 1972 to 2003, during which time he co-founded the Institute for Social Ecology (ISE), with social theorist Murray Bookchin. The ISE was a summer program that grew into the low-residency BA and MA Social Ecology degree programs, led by Chodorkoff.  In 2000, the ISE became an independent organization, and currently offers an MA degree program with Prescott College, as well as summer colloquia in Marshfield, Vt.  Its educational mission is to create “educational experiences that enhance people’s understanding of their relationship to the natural world and each other.”

Chodorkoff has lectured at over 100 colleges, universities and movement gatherings in North America, Latin America and Europe. He has published numerous articles in journals and anthologies, edited Harbinger, a Journal of Social Ecology, and authored two books, The Anthropology of Utopia (New Compass Press, 2014) and the novel Loisaida (Fomite Press, 2011). He also served for several years as faculty representative to the Goddard Board of Trustees.

About Wilmer Brandt

Brandt was born in Deodat, Penn., in 1920. He was a conscientious objector during World War II, when he learned the skills of planting trees, fighting forest fires, drilling wells and building septic systems to combat typhoid, that guided his future studies and working life. A Georgia cooperative of which he was a member founded the internationally esteemed children’s toy manufacturer Community Playthings. Brandt came to Vermont in 1952 to attend the Putney Graduate School. He then attended and graduated from Goddard College in the summer of 1955.

“I got introduced to so many different cultures and people at Goddard,” said Brandt. “Goddard…really helped me to explore and discover my place in the world.” Brandt has farmed and forested land in Vermont for sixty years.