MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—Middlebury College officials formally inaugurated the newly created Robert and Helen Stafford Professorship in Public Policy at a luncheon at the College for the former Vermont senator and his wife on Tuesday, July 22. The position, which was announced in March, is named for Stafford and his wife, who are members of the Middlebury College classes of 1935 and 1938 respectively. Christopher McGrory Klyza, professor of political science and environmental studies, began his service as the first Stafford Professor on July 1.
At the luncheon, Klyza presented the results of his recent research for a new book that he is currently writing with co-author David Sousa of the University of Puget Sound-“Environmental Policy Beyond Gridlock: New Paths, Old Problems.” According to Klyza, environmental policy has encountered increasing gridlock in Congress over the last 15 years, but this type of policy in general is not at a standstill. Instead, it is taking place in the courts and other new arenas.
Following his graduation from law school at Boston University, Stafford worked in his native Rutland County, Vt., as a prosecuting attorney and state’s attorney. His time in these positions was interrupted by service as a United States Naval officer during World War II and the Korean War. In 1953, Stafford began serving as deputy Vermont State attorney general. He later became state attorney general, lieutenant governor, and then governor in 1959. He became Vermont’s lone member of the United States House of Representatives in 1960 and in 1971 became a member of the U.S. Senate, where he served until January 1989.
As a member of Congress, he championed a clean environment and worked to make higher education more accessible through the student loan program that bears his name.