Distinguished Alumni Award

The Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to honor contributions of JSC Alumni to our society through outstanding career and public-service achievements.

2013 Recipient:

David Yacovone earned his B.A. in political science from JSC in 1976 and immediately started his lifelong career in health and human services. His first position was as a vocational counselor for disadvantaged Vermonters. Next he became district director of Champlain Valley Work and David YacovoneTraining Programs, where he oversaw the program's $2 million budget. He then entered the health-care profession, working for 16 years as a nursing home administrator and then signing on with the Vermont Agency of Human Services for the next 12 years, first as Chief Operating Officer, then Commissioner of the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living; and finally Director of Field Services in the Morrisville district office. It was during this time that he was elected President of the Vermont Health Care Association.

Today he serves our state ably as the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Children and Families, a position to which he was appointed in 2011 by Governor Shumlin.

You might think that's enough, but there's more:

David served two terms in the Vermont House from 1992 to 1996, during which he sponsored landmark legislation leading to more than $40 million in community investments to help of disabled Vermonters remain in their own homes and was honored by five state organizations for his dedication and hard work on behalf of elderly and disabled Vermonters.

In 1996, Governor Howard Dean appointed David Vermont Commissioner of Aging and Disabilities. During his tenure he changed regulations to allow the public unrestricted access to nursing home inspection reports.

Governor Dean next appointed David Director of Administrative Services for Vermont — a role that essentially made him the state's chief operating officer, managing its billion-dollar budget and 3,000 employees.

Under both Governors Dean and Douglas, David chaired the Public Oversight Commission, which oversees hospital spending and health care expansion projects.

And just before he assumed his current appointment as DCVF Commissioner in 2011, David was Director of Government Affairs for the Vermont Hospital Association.

Dave lives in Morrisville with his wife, Deborah — also a JSC alum, class of 1987 — and their two sons. Dave says that his commitment to public service was strongly influenced by his experiences at JSC, where he served as Director of what was then the Office of Volunteer Services during as a senior. Here's what he wrote us about his experience at JSC:

"My passion to serve others was molded during that tenure. Additionally, Professor William Doyle was my mentor and advisor, and the respect I hold for him has significantly shaped my pathway to service. I have strong and fond memories of JSC and know that my story is indicative of thousands of others over the years who were touched in similar ways."