The Urban L. Bergeron Scholarship Endowment Fund

Bergeron Family Leaves Lasting, Historic Legacy

For nearly a century, the family of Urban “Ben” Bergeron has been beloved and respected on the Saint Michael’s College campus. From Ben’s first days on campus in the 1930s, he lived his long life with fidelity to the school that he loved and the Edmundites he befriended and admired. Children and grandchildren followed in his footsteps as Purple Knights, surely proud of their family’s devotion to this place and willingness to live out the college motto by example: Do Well and Do Good.

Now, to celebrate the family patriarch during the 50th reunion year of his son Jack (’70), his family has generously increased the Urban L. Bergeron Scholarship Endowment to $1 million, continuing an affordable path to a Saint Michael’s education for 23 grateful past recipients and countless more in the future.

Urban L. Bergeron Scholarship Endowment Reaches One Million Dollars

As Urban ”Ben” L. Bergeron’s (1916-2003) Saint Michael’s Scholarship endowment reaches one million dollars, his family would like you to know a little about this generous, hard-working, self-made man and his loyalty to Saint Michael’s College.

Ben, who was a devout Catholic, also valued education as a way to improve one’s life and community. He wanted to help any motivated student afford higher education at St. Mike’s as he struggled to pay for his own. Ben established the Urban L. Bergeron Scholarship Endowment Fund in 1988 in observance of the 50th anniversary of his Class of 1939. Now, in the observance of his son John “Jack” J. Bergeron’s 50th anniversary of his class of 1970, Ben’s children agreed to increase the endowment to one million dollars.

Ben was born and brought up in Burlington, VT, a member of Saint Joseph’s parish. He was the first to survive surgery for a spinal fusion at the age of four (1920), and had to be in a full-body cast for a year. This never stopped Ben physically, and probably contributed to his becoming quite a scholar. He gave his high school (Saint Edmund’s Juniorate in Swanton, VT) valedictorian speech in Greek! It did stop him from being accepted in the military at the start of WWII, which was a great disappointment to Ben, but he completed pilot training in 1939 and served as a member of the Vermont Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

After graduation, Ben worked at the Burlington Free Press for 41 years, holding offices of controller, general manager, vice president, publisher and president. He was the first publisher who was not related to the Howe family! The Free Press debuted its Sunday edition under Ben’s direction in 1975, and he retired in 1979.

Ben continually contributed to his community, serving on many corporate, civic, charitable, social and Catholic organizations. Most noted, Ben was a founding member and served 17 years as director and treasurer of Cynosure Inc., a corporation formed to purchase land and construct buildings to foster industrial development (and more job opportunities) in Chittenden County.

He participated in the negotiations of the original lease that brought IBM to Essex Junction. As an alumnus and supporter of Saint Michael’s College, Ben served as Chairman of the Associate Trustees before 1971 and from 1971-1980 was a Trustee, thereafter holding the title of Trustee Emeritus until the time of his death. Ben was awarded Alumnus of the year in 1971, received an honorary degree from St. Mike’s in 1978, and was inducted into SMC Chapter of the National Catholic Honor Society, Delta Epsilon in 1980.

Ben cherished his lifelong friendships with the Society of Saint Edmund’s priests. Many plaques around campus honor Ben and his wife Pauline’s many contributions to St. Mike’s. Most noted, they were the principal endowing donors of the Bergeron Education Center (now the Bergeron Wellness Center), and they helped establish the  Journalism Department at Saint Michael’s College.

We are pleased that Ben and Pauline can continue to contribute to the education of Chittenden County students through the Urban L. Bergeron Scholarship, 32 years after its founding. We hope other alumni of Saint Michael’s College will consider scholarship donations in the future.

Jack Bergeron celebrates 50th reunion year with ongoing commitment to Saint Michael’s

It speaks highly of a father when his son follows in his footsteps, as Jack did by following his dad, Ben, to Saint Michael’s in the 1960s. Yet Jack has made his own lasting mark on campus over the decades, as an athlete, class officer and friend to so many of his classmates. Jack served as a longtime member of the Board of Trustees (2005-2014), an Alumni of the Year recipient (2015), a reunion co-chair, a member of the Career Advisory Network, and a member of the Heritage Circle for planned estate gifts. Jack’s service and generosity to Saint Michael’s have been unceasing.

Jack graduated from the Catholic University of America with his J.D. in 1973, and had a long career as a successful attorney and founding partner of his Burlington law office. Jack and his siblings run the Bergeron Family Foundation, which gives generously to numerous causes and organizations that the family holds dear.

A scholarship recipient’s heartfelt thanks

A word of gratitude from President Lorraine Sterritt

Lorraine Sterritt

“We are delighted to honor the lasting legacy and impact of the Bergeron family, in thanksgiving for their immense generosity and 85 consecutive years of involvement and devotion to Saint Michael’s College. From the 1930s when Ben first stepped on campus to Jack’s Golden Knight reunion year and beyond, we are inspired by their family, which so greatly values higher education and generously shares that opportunity with others.”

– President Lorraine Sterritt