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Lois Vermilya Weslowski, Class of 1970, Inducted in 2005


Her experiences as a student at F-M had a profound effect on Lois Vermilya Weslowski’s career choice. She recalls how one teacher inspired in her a sense of confidence and creative expression.


“I still remember how Sox Tiffault kindled my passion to just be, and to delight in pursuing learning how to master something. As a long time educator now myself,” Lois said, “I continuously recognize the vital role that passion combined with a caring adult plays in generating learning, leadership and real lasting satisfaction.” She has dedicated herself to supporting learning in children and families through community-based programs, with a special interest in poor and minority areas.



Lois graduated from Colgate University in 1974, with an Interdisciplinary Major in Social Sciences, Art History and Astronomy. She also received an M.A. in Cultural and Symbolic Anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 1978.


Her career history demonstrates a continued dedication to both anthropology and the social sciences. She has served as an instructor and a research consultant/contract ethnologist at the University of New Mexico, and as a research/education associate at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the Museum of New Mexico.



In 1980, she joined Futures for Children, an organization committed to the belief that people in very poor communities know what is best for their children and will do whatever it takes to make a better life for their families. As Senior Vice President and American Indian Program Director, she helped develop sustainable programs of community education, youth leadership development and cross-cultural friendship. She worked in tribal communities throughout New Mexico and Arizona, and in Latin America. 



After 17 years with this group, Lois left to pursue a career as an independent consultant, doing nonprofit organization development and executive coaching. Most recently, she was named the Director of the Family Development Program at the University of New Mexico. This group provides professional development training for early childhood educators and families in rural and urban communities through the state.



When she’s not working, Lois enjoys a wide-range of activities, including a women’s book group, hiking and snowshoeing in the winter. She does yoga daily, and loves to cook and bake bread. “From scratch,” she said, “not a bread machine!”  She met her husband, Leonard, during her time at Colgate University and they have two grown children who are both pursuing their college studies.



Dedication to community service seems to run in the Vermilya family. Lois’s brother David was inducted into the F-M Hall of Distinction in 2001 for his work as Co-Director of the Town Shop Youth Center in Camillus.

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