The UVM Historic Preservation Program is being recognized for its commitment and contribution to educating the historic preservationists who have worked in and currently work in the State of Vermont. Everywhere you look in Vermont, you can find a preservationist who attended the UVM program, at all levels of government, in the non-profit sector, in all sizes of private firms. Additionally, UVM HP alum work throughout the northeast, but also across the country.
The first preservation classes were offered at UVM in 1972, and the program was officially founded in 1975 under its first director, Chester Liebs. Professor Thomas Visser has directed the program since 1994 and Professor Bob McCullough began teaching as part of the program in 1998. UVM Alumni return to the classroom as guest speakers and adjunct professors. Local alumni are involved in local and state preservation issues, and they take the time to return to the HP events to get to know current students and keep in touch with the professors.
At UVM students study architectural history, architectural conservation, community preservation, preservation law, researching historic sites, development economics, and the ever-popular History on the Land class, among others. Students are encouraged to take on local projects, network with alumni and Vermont preservationists, and to learn about Vermont. Students have taken on projects throughout Vermont – from the streets of Burlington to the back roads of Franklin County and Windham County, from individual buildings to entire historic districts, from public meetings to national policy issues. Each fall the students work together to produce a newsletter to share with alumni.
All of the students have spent long hours, days, and nights in Wheeler basement for classes and labs, paper writing and studying. Wheeler basement has evolved over time, but each student holds many memories there! Each class and each professor has a different experience, but the encouragement to learn and the comfortable environment in which to have preservation conversations has proven successful.
Without the UVM Historic Preservation Program, Vermont would not have the outstanding stock of dedicated, passionate historic preservationists that it has. The program and the professors foster a love of Vermont and an understanding of the principles and practices of historic preservation. The HP Program is directly responsible for so much of the historic resource protection, and appreciation that we have in Vermont. Without the UVM HP Program, Vermont would be lost. We are forever grateful to the UVM HP Program for educating generations of preservationists and creating this deep love for Vermont and historic preservation in its students. We wouldn’t be the same without Wheeler basement either.