WLS honors Interim President and Dean McCormack

Interim President and Dean Beth McCormack surprised with Jessie Lafountain Bigwood Spirit Award as the first woman president of a law school in Vermont.

Members of WLS with Dean and President Beth McCormack. Photo by Kate Jenkins.

By Kate Frederick, Contributing Writer

Frederick currently serves as president of the Women’s Law Society.

A video of the event is available here.

The Women’s Law Society is so proud to have honored Interim President and Dean Beth McCormack at Supporting Women in Leadership and Representation on September 8, 2021. An Emerge Vermont presentation by Elaine Haney started off the event, discussing trainings available to give women the confidence to run for local and state elections. VLS Professor of International Human Rights Law, Molly Gray, is an Emerge and VLS alum and is now the Vermont Lieutenant Governor! President McCormack said Molly having the confidence to run gave her the confidence to apply for VLS President. 

Imagine the confidence the first woman admitted to the VT bar had in 1902. Jessie Lafountain Bigwood is honored with a historical marker at the entrance of our school by the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation. We thought McCormack needed to be recognized as well. She broke through the glass mountain range 119 years after Bigwood as the first woman president of a law school in Vermont. Her father can’t stop congratulating her, saying “You made Dean!” and we can’t stop congratulating her either.  

McCormack gave an inspiring and heartfelt speech, full of humor and wisdom, as she’s known to do, and offered several points in her speech to support women at VLS. “You don’t have to be in the highest position to be a woman leader. Anyone in any position can be a leader. …Find a mentor that you want to be like and that’s the person that’s going to shape your career.…Lead with confidence, which isn’t always easy, right? There is no substitute for preparation and being able to project confidence. Rejections can open doors. …Really keep an open mind about your career.” To arrange for a pic with President McCormack and her award and/or to join the Women’s Law Society, contact wls@vermontlaw.edu

WLS supports women in the law – All women, BIPOC, LGTBQI2S+, cis, caregivers, variously-abled, Master’s, JD’s, full time or part time, remote or on campus, etc. 

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