Madeleine Kunin


Madeleine May Kunin is a Marsh professor at large at the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT and a regular commentator on Vermont Public Radio.

She served as the first female Governor of Vermont for three terms (1985-91) after having served three terms in the state legislature (1973-79) and two terms as Lt. Governor (1979-83). She served in the Clinton administration as Deputy Secretary of Education from 1993-1996, and as Ambassador to Switzerland, from 1996-1999. She is the founder (and serves on the board) of the Institute for Sustainable Communities a global NGO.

She is the author of the recently published The New Feminist Agenda, Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work and Family (Chealsea Gree, 2012).  This book was nammed an "Editor's Choice" by The New York Times.  She has also written Pearls, Politics and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead (Chelsea Green 2008), Living a Political Life, (Knopf, 1994,) and The Big Green Book, A Four Season Guide to Vermont (Barre Press, 1974). She has published Op-Ed pieces in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, among others.

She has lectured widely on women’s issues, leadership, education (while deputy secretary of education) environmental issues, and her experience in Switzerland regarding the return of Jewish assets from Swiss banks during her service as ambassador. She has appeared frequently on television, radio and in the print press throughout her career.

Madeleine May Kunin graduated from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) with a BA in history, from Columbia University School of Journalism with an MS in journalism and from the University of Vermont with an MA in English literature. She was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College, Harvard, a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, and has been a visiting scholar at Middlebury College and St. Michael’s College. Most recently she taught a seminar “Women, Politics and Leadership.”

She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and has received some 23 honorary degrees. She speaks French and German and the Swiss dialect.

Kunin was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1933 and immigrated to the United States with her widowed mother and brother in 1940 in fear of the holocaust.

She has four grown children and five grandchildren. She lives with her husband, John W. Hennessey, in Burlington, Vermont.

Follow Kunin on Twitter @MadeleineKunin