Don Vickers, ‘70
Don Vickers has long and strong ties to Johnson State College. He’s not only a JSC alum — class of 1970 — he’s also our former director of financial aid and remains deeply and closely involved with JSC as an alum.
In 1971 he joined the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC). He was appointed VSAC’s president and CEO in 1990, a position he held until his retirement just a couple months ago, in June.
Under Don’s leadership, VSAC achieved many milestones. Here are just some of them:
- VSAC created the nation’s first grant program to help non-degree-seeking students take courses to enhance their employability or college readiness;
- VSAC dramatically increased the number of scholarships available to Vermonters;
- VSAC offered the nation’s first program to reduce borrowers’ costs for student loans and became a federal loan servicer after VSAC’s role in federal loan administration ended in 2010;
- VSAC established outreach programs and career-development resources for students of all ages, creating the award-winning “Start Where You Are” college-access program, and supporting mentoring programs;
- VSAC helped high school students and parents plan for college through VSAC’s “College Pathways” program, “Paying for College” workshops, and assistance with financial aid forms;
- VSAC managed the state’s 529 Plan, helping families save for college;
- VSAC created a resource center available to the public at its Winooski headquarters and a wealth of online resources, as well as a free materials available at libraries statewide; and
- VSAC initiated biennial surveys of Vermont high school students to inform state higher education policies.
In honor of his many accomplishments at VSAC, Don received the 2013 Eleanor M. McMahon Award for Lifetime Achievement from the New England Board of Higher Education.
Don stays actively involved with his alma mater. He serves on the President’s fundraising advisory council, the Fund for JSC, and is a board member of the Ellsworth Trust, a private fund established by the late Professor Robert E. Ellsworth that has enhanced the study of political science and history at JSC for 27 years. We are very proud to call Don a good friend and an alum of Johnson State College, and we congratulate him on what is truly a distinguished career.