2019 Annual Report

Victor R. Swenson: 1936-2019

Victor R. Swenson in front of old Humanities Council building

Victor R. Swenson, the founding Executive Director of Vermont Humanities, died on July 25, 2019 at the age of 83.

His family wrote in his obituary, “His leadership qualities and his respect for people of all ages made him the perfect person, with support from a few dedicated others…to bring the Vermont Humanities Council into being.”

They continued, “Victor believed that books open the doors to the richness of human culture. To him, the Humanities—history, literature, music, art, religion and philosophy, thought—were a feast meant to be shared. Particularly dear to him were programs that reached out to those not yet seated at the table—young children, people in prisons, and adults who could not read.”

Aiming High from the Start

In the spring of 2019, we sat down with Victor to hear his recollections of the Council’s early years.

Victor Swenson with students at an early Humanities Camp

Victor reads with middle schoolers at an early Humanities Camp

Victor with staffers by signpost

Victor with other Vermont Humanities staffers at the Council’s office in Morrisville in 2001.

Victor Swenson in chair beside lamp

Victor in a photo taken for his retirement from Vermont Humanities in 2002.

Victor Swenson and his wife, Judy Yarnall

Victor with his wife, Judy Yarnall.

Victor retired from Vermont Humanities in 2002. Since 2003, we have honored an outstanding Vermont teacher in grades 6-12 with the Victor R. Swenson Humanities Educator Award. The award and $1,000 prize are presented at our Annual Fall Conference in November. Read more about the Swenson Award.

Victor’s family has suggested that donations in Victor’s memory can be made to the Vermont chapter of the Parkinson’s Disease Association, the Vermont Audubon Society, or Vermont Humanities.

Gifts made in honor of Victor R. Swenson

  • Anonymous
  • Al & Dottie Bergendahl
  • Linda C. Boardman
  • The Joseph & Dale Boutin Fund
  • Don Bredes & Eileen Boland
  • Thomas & Sue Carney
  • Bob & Mary Ann Chaffee
  • Louise H. Cross
  • Michael & Erica Danowitz
  • Stephen & Emmie Donadio
  • Karin Gottlieb
  • Alan & Jackie Gerson
  • Peter A. Gilbert & Cindy Char
  • Stewart & Kelli Guss
  • Ward & Cheryl Heneveld
  • Marianne Kotch
  • Esther Mackintosh
  • Leslie-Burl McLemore
  • Richard & Donna Merriam
  • Wolfgang & Barbara Mieder
  • David & Rosalyn Moss
  • Nancy A. Olson
  • Meg Ostrum
  • Linda Peavy & Ursula Smith
  • Meg Pond & Jim Rader
  • Charles & Linda Putney
  • Pat Robins & Lisa Schamberg
  • Marjorie M. Skott
  • Fred & Diane Swan
  • Dorothy Tod
  • Larissa Vigue Picard
  • The Wisdom Connection