RUTLAND—College of St. Joseph has announced that former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas will deliver the commencement address at the college’s graduation ceremony on May 13.
Douglas was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in November 1972, where he would become the House majority leader during his third two-year term at just 25 years old. He was elected secretary of state in 1980 and held that post until 1992 when he sought election to the U.S. Senate, but was defeated by incumbent Patrick Leahy. He also served as Vermont state treasurer from 1995 to 2002.
He was elected the 80th governor of Vermont in 2002 and was re-elected for three terms, with a majority of the vote. He announced that he would not be running for a fifth term in 2010.
During his time as governor, he signed the 2007 landmark civil rights bill that banned discrimination on the basis of gender identity by employers, financial institutions, housing, public accommodations and others.
The focus of his time in office was on strengthening the state’s economy, reducing the cost of living and protecting the natural environment. President Barack Obama appointed him co-chair of the Council of Governors, a bipartisan group of 10 governors who advised on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions.
After his time in office, Douglas became an executive in residence at his alma mater, Middlebury College and has been teaching courses in politics and government. He also authored a memoir titled, “The Vermont Way: A Republican Governor Leads America’s Most Liberal State,” which was released in late 2012. Douglas briefly served as interim director of the Vermont Historical Society in 2015.
The commencement ceremony begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 13, in the CSJ athletic center.