Recipients to be Honored at Commencement

Lyndon to Award Presidential Medals of Distinction

Recipients to be Honored at Commencement

May 9, 2016

Lyndon State College President Joe Bertolino will award the Presidential Medal of Distinction to Katherine Sims, executive director of Green Mountain Farm-to-School, and H.O.P.E., Helping Other People Everyday.

The award, created in 2013 by Bertolino, honors a prominent individual or organization who has contributed significantly to Lyndon State College, the Northeast Kingdom community, and the State of Vermont. The medals will be awarded during Lyndon’s Commencement Ceremony May 15.

Sims is the founder and executive director of Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) located in Newport, Vt. She started the organization in 2008 to improve childhood nutrition and support Vermont farms by connecting schools and farms through food and education.

The organization has since grown exponentially. Sims, who graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in history, brings ten years of experience building school gardens, connecting institutional buyers with local farms, teaching students about healthy food choices, and training school food service staff to prepare and serve local foods. She currently serves on several boards including UVM Extension, Vermont Council on Rural Development, and Vermont Land Trust.

The second medal will be awarded to H.O.P.E., a private, nonprofit agency that helps families and individuals with basic needs. It was founded by Jodi Wheeler. The organization operates a thrift store in Lyndonville, Vt. to help fund its mission, which is to provide a strong support system in the community that values and assists families by filling basic needs and improving human life. H.O.P.E. has been doing this successfully since 2005. The organization donates clothing to schools for children in need, fills start-up packages for domestic abuse victims, fire victims, and for people in urgent need regardless of their circumstances or situation, and fills food backpacks to help feed the children in local schools on the weekends.

Lyndon State College’s 2016 Commencement is Sunday, May 15 at 11 a.m., under the tent on the College’s soccer field. The ceremony will also be broadcast live in the climate-controlled Alexander Twilight Theatre. Public Safety officials will be on campus all day to direct guests to available parking areas. Shuttle service and/or accommodations will be available for those unable to walk distances. For further details, visit LyndonState.edu.

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