Mia Schultz, president of the Rutland Area Branch of the NAACP, will deliver the commencement address at Castleton's 235th graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 14.
Schultz is an educator, organizer, and problem solver – as well as an ardent champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and promoting the voices of people of color throughout Vermont. She was named president of the Rutland Area NAACP chapter in 2021.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the oldest civil rights organization in the United States. Its programs serve to challenge inequality and racism and accelerate change in areas like criminal justice, healthcare, education, and more. The Rutland Area NAACP is one of the largest chapters in New England, serving Rutland, Bennington, and Addison counties.
Schultz relocated from California to Bennington, Vermont, in 2015 and quickly began advocating for change in Bennington's schools, joining the Southern Vermont Supervisory Union's equity literacy team.
She serves on the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity working group. This group is tasked with advising the Vermont Board of Education on the adoption of statewide ethnic and social equity standards. She was a site coordinator for "I Am Vermont Too" through the Root Social Justice Organization and co-coordinated an exhibition of photographs at the Bennington Museum titled "Visible in Vermont: Our Stories, Our Voices." The exhibit explored the experiences of people of color in Vermont.
Schultz also chaired the Town of Bennington's Democratic Party. She was the first Black woman to hold that office.
In addition to her political activism, Schultz's career has included positions in arts curation, data management, website development, and network building. She studied public relations and pre-law at Howard University and The University of Arizona.
Castleton University's commencement ceremony begins at 11 a.m. in the Castleton Pavilion. For more information, visit castleton.edu/commencement.