Champlain College Dedicates Diversity and Inclusion Monument and Tree

BURLINGTON, Vt., (Dec. 4, 2014) -- Champlain College dedicated a magnolia tree and granite monument to the continued efforts by staff, faculty and students to increase awareness of diversity and inclusion on campus.

Thursday’s dedication was the culmination of efforts by graduates of the College’s Intercultural U training program. Intercultural U is designed to help faculty and staff learn about cultural and diversity issues and then apply that to peer and mentoring opportunities in the workplace and classroom. This dedication was a gift by cohort three of Intercultural U; the program is currently on cohort six.

Chief Diversity Officer Ame Lambert spoke at the dedication about the need, especially in the academic setting, to develop more opportunities to identify diversity and inclusion. “Inclusion and equity work is hard. It is uncomfortable: it is inconvenient and it is exhausting. This is my job because these are values I hold deeply and yet, I am constantly surprised at how exclusive my thinking can be and how much I need to unlearn things I have passively picked up about other individuals, groups and the way things should be,” she said.

President Donald Laackman echoed Lambert’s sentiments, saying that bringing a heightened awareness of diversity and inclusion is “vitally important work for the College.” He helped members of the cohort cut the ribbon and unveil the stone.

Intercultural U, designed by Lambert, has provided a 10-week, 26-hour training program for over 100 individuals at Champlain. Lambert explained that participants get an interactive learning experience to better understand how the personal, cultural and societal aspects of diversity show up in our daily lives. Members of the Cohort III organized the project to plant a magnolia tree and place a granite stone and plaque on Finney Quad next to Juniper Hall.

The plaque read: “As this tree continues to grow and flourish, so will our inclusion and diversity at Champlain College. We will seek out, value, support, and celebrate our differences. We will intentionally appreciate and include with open-hearted compassion, respect, and understanding.”

Members of the Cohort III are:

  • Cheryl Taylor
  • Christine Hutchins
  • Fran Estes
  • Jessica Chappel
  • Kimberly Jordan
  • Kyle Dodson
  • Maggie Melvin
  • Mary Lee
  • Molly Ritvo
  • Morgan Ford
  • Nicole Holtz
  • Rachel Desimone
  • Rebecca Schwarz
  • Rowshan Nemazee
  • Sue Powers
  • Susan Lindberg
  • Ted Laskaris
  • Thomas Bonnette
  • Sarah Gibson
Diversity and inclusion is one of five pillars of the 2020 Strategic Plan, Champlain has taken impressive strides to become an inclusive and diverse campus in the last several years. In addition to Intercultural U, policies related to recruiting and performance management have been updated, curricular and co curricular offerings have been created and expanded, partnership with high schools and college access organizations have been developed, a pre college program has been created, new diversity positions and/or responsibilities have been added across divisions and there has been broad leadership engagement in discussions and initiatives. 

Visit to read the speech presented by Ame Lambert.

About Champlain College

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 60 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 379 Colleges: 2015 Edition. Champlain was named a "Top-Up-and-Coming School" by U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges and is ranked in the top tier of 2014 Regional Colleges in the North. For more information, visit