Posthumous law degree given for Maine native

Posted May 23, 2010, at 9:11 p.m.

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt. — University of Maine graduate Erin Woolley was posthumously awarded a law degree Saturday at graduation exercises of Vermont Law School.

The Bangor native was in her second year at the Vermont school when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She died March 16.

Woolley was a member of the University of Maine’s swimming and diving team, graduating in 2006.

While she underwent chemotherapy, Woolley continued her classes and volunteer work, including shifts on the emergency hotline for Safeline, a domestic violence action network in Vermont. Woolley was the organization’s first law intern.

With members of her family in attendance at graduation, it was announced that the Erin Woolley Memorial Scholarship drive had broken records for fundraising at the school. The total was $83,600, and the fund, designed to help students facing such “unexpected life events” as Woolley endured, will be available next year.

Speaking at Saturday’s exercises, in which some 200 graduates were awarded degrees, were graduate Abel Russ of Portland, Maine, who delivered the student address, and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

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