BURLINGTON, Vt.–Champlain College will confer honorary degrees on two prominent Vermont residents at its 129th Commencement on May 5, 2007. The Board of Trustees of Champlain College selected retiring Saint Michael’s College President Marc A. vanderHeyden and Champlain College Trustee Emeritus Lola P. Aiken for this honor.Aiken and vanderHeyden will be awarded honorary doctoral degrees from the private, professionally focused college. Additionally, vanderHeyden will deliver the Commencement Address at Champlain College’s ceremony.”These two individuals come from very different backgrounds, but they both have created positive changes in Vermont’s cultural, historical and educational landscapes,” said Champlain College President David F. Finney. “At Commencement time, we’re pleased to honor their many contributions while reminding our graduates that they also have the power to make indelible marks on their communities and the world.”Lola Pierotti AikenLola Pierotti Aiken of Montpelier is celebrated as an unwavering advocate for Vermont’s educational, historical and community organizations. Born in Vermont’s capital city, the daughter of a stonecutter who emigrated from Italy, Aiken would land a job working for George Aiken in 1941 in his US Senate campaign office, before moving to work in his Congressional office in Washington.She earned her way to the top staff job where she proved herself a catalyst – using her connections in Vermont and Washington to help advance the Senator’s efforts on behalf of Vermonters. Twenty-five years after joining the Senator’s team, she would marry him and continue to work by his side without pay. Over three decades in the capital, Aiken rubbed elbows with six presidents, first ladies and many senators, while today she remains a loyal supporter of the Senator’s legacy. Vermont political candidates still seek her out today for endorsements at campaign time.As a stateswoman and dedicated community servant, Aiken’s energy and “we-can-do-it” attitude is legendary across Vermont. She’s served on the board of directors of UVM’s George B. Aiken Lecture Series, The Vermont Historical Society, Calvin Coolidge Foundation, Ethan Allen Homestead, Rockingham Meeting House and Judicial Conduct Board. Her service has also reached to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice and the New England Culinary Institute Scholarship Committee. She’s a longtime, active member of the Friends of the Statehouse – where her husband served as Governor for four years prior to becoming a Senator. Aiken’s recent awards include the 2005 Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Service Vermont Lifetime Achievement Award. She has an honorary degree from UVM and won Norwich University’s Board of Fellow’s Medallion Award in 2002.At Champlain College, Aiken Hall – the former Westervelt home built in 1885, was named in honor of Lola Aiken because of her longtime dedication to Champlain students and programs. She served as a college trustee for the 18 years prior to 1995 and she was an advocate for Champlain’s many student life programs and the Single Parents Program, which has been nationally recognized for supporting single parents as they juggle family and educational responsibilities. Aiken also provided leadership for capital campaigns to build a campus center and high-tech library at Champlain College.Aiken once told former Champlain College President Robert Skiff that she loved one of his sayings: “If you stand still, you lose ground.” Many would agree that Lola Aiken has also lived by these words.Dr. Marc A. vanderHeydenDr. Marc A. vanderHeyden has served as president of Saint Michael’s College in Colchester for 11 years and will step down in June 2007. As the 15th president of the liberal arts Catholic college, the historian has brought intelligence, compassion, creativity and extraordinary development to the institution.A seasoned educator who was born in Ghent, Belgium, vanderHeyden is fluent in three languages and has a working knowledge of five more. Colleagues say he has an acute sense of the need for globally informed education that goes beyond one’s own borders. St. Michael’s trustees have noted that his enduring and primary focus on students and the quality of their educational experience was clear from the moment he set foot on campus.During vanderHeyden’s tenure, Saint Michael’s College strengthened its academic profile, including obtaining an invitation to create a Phi Beta Kappa honor society chapter on campus – one of only 270 colleges and universities nationwide have been invited to do so. vanderHeyden oversaw the completion of a $52 million campaign and constructed important new facilities while enhancing the college’s technology infrastructure.vanderHeyden has involved all of the college’s constituencies in developing a shared vision of Saint Michael’s College. He linked the college to national and international education organizations, led the institution in exploring the importance of its Catholic heritage, and created lasting ties to the arts community.vanderHeyden and his wife, Dana, have rooted Saint Michael’s in Vermont’s cultural community through significant support and collaboration with many organizations. The Lane Series now collaborates with Saint Michael’s on arts presentations nearly every year, the Flynn Theater works with the college in an arts-education graduate program, the Church Street Fire House Gallery recognizes Saint Michael’s as a supporter of several exhibits annually, the Fleming Museum provides free access to Saint Michael’s students and The Vermont Youth Orchestra has a beautiful new home in the Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michael’s College. During vanderHeyden’s tenure, the college also initiated the artist-in-residence summer program to bring young talent to campus and to build a significant contemporary art collection on campus.As vanderHeyden moved Saint Michael’s College forward, he has also brought his talents to several state and regional organizations. He currently serves on the boards the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges, Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, Green Mountain Power, New England Board of Higher Education, Vermont Business Roundtable, Vermont Campus Compact, Vermont Health Foundation and Vermont Higher Education Council. The diversity of organizations attests to vanderHeyden’s versatility and leadership skills, which have been invaluable to the community at large.