Burlington College is an independent liberal arts college located in Burlington, Vermont, offering two-year Associate degrees, four-year Bachelor of Arts degrees, Masters degrees and Individualized Studies, as well as several Professional Certificate programs. The College, originally the Vermont Institute of Community Involvement, was registered in the State of Vermont as a 501(c)3 corporation on August 31, 1972, and began instruction in October of that year. The College has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) since 1982.
The College originally attracted a less mainstream college population—returning Vietnam War veterans, single parents with dependent children, and others seeking alternative higher education opportunities. Through the years and diverse populations, the College has continued to be student-centered and committed to individualized education. This commitment translates to non-graded, narrative evaluations, involving students in designing their own programs of study; one-on-one mentoring and support services; small seminar-style classes and experiential learning.
The College began in the living room of its founder, Dr. Steward LaCasce, with a total of 14 full- and part-time students. It had no financial backing, paid its bills when they came due, and paid its President when it could. From one term to the next, it struggled first to survive, and second, to develop its unique identity.
Dr. LaCasce and those who joined him in the effort spent much of their time in the early years fighting to preserve what made the College special while striving to seek recognition as a legitimate member of the higher educational community. Its accreditation in 1982 marked the success of this initial phase of the College's history.
After 22 years as President, Dr. LaCasce retired. He was succeeded by Dr. Daniel Casey in 1994, and by Mary Clancy eight years later. In 2004, Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders became the fourth President. Christine Plunkett became the Fifth President of Burlington College in 2012.