The Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) is an independent non-partisan state commission dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women in Vermont.  Launched in 1964 in response to a nation-wide call to action from President Kennedy, VCW is made up of sixteen volunteer commissioners and an advisory council who guide VCW’s public education, coalition building, and advocacy efforts.  VCW:

  • Acts as advisor and information source for legislative and executive branches and other policy makers on issues affecting women

  • Serves as an educational resource by conducting research, producing publications and coordinating conferences and workshops

  • Brings together diverse groups and engages in partnerships to consider issues of interest to women and take action

  • Provides the most local and most appropriate information and referrals to the public on matters related to women and families

(7/28/14) It is with great sadness that we share this message regarding the death of Cheryl Hanna.  Our talented colleague and trusted friend, she was a truly a leader in the battle for equal justice for women in Vermont.    

Cheryl’s work with the Vermont Commission on Women included gathering and overseeing a group of work-study students at Vermont Law School (VLS) to update our handbook, The Legal Rights of Women in Vermont; gathering people to celebrate the confirmation of Christina Reiss as the first woman in Vermont to serve on the district court; leading a panel discussion for Women’s History Month on  "Women in Law: Making Strides in Women’s Legal Rights in the 70s and 80s"; working with VLS students to craft an Amicus brief clearly presenting reasons why the state’s Equal Pay Act is important, why and how wage discrimination continues to take place, and how this legal remedy should function for Vermont women.   

Cheryl was a gifted teacher and storyteller who touched and inspired so many of us, young and old, imparting her deep knowledge of constitutional law while sharing personal insight into the “real life” impacts on women and girls.  We will miss her intelligence, her voice and her power at our table. 

Vermont Law School Mourns Professor Cheryl Hanna


CONTACT: Maryellen Apelquist, Director of Media Relations, Vermont Law School

office: 802-831-1228, cell: 802-299-5593,

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., July 28, 2014–– It is with the most profound sorrow that we announce the untimely death of our dear colleague Professor Cheryl Hanna.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Professor Hanna was an expert in constitutional law, the United States Supreme Court, and women and the law. Her scholarship has been published in leading journals, including the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Michigan Journal of Gender and the Law. Professor Hanna was also a frequent media commentator, including on Vermont Public Radio and WCAX-TV 3.

She consulted on constitutional cases and represented public interest organizations through the filing of amicus briefs in cases before state and federal courts. This included the amicus brief she and Vermont Law School students wrote on behalf of the Vermont Commission on Women in Dreves v. Hudson, the first case implicating Vermont’s Equal Pay Act. The book she co-authored, Domestic Violence and the Law: Theory and Practice, was the leading casebook on violence against women.

She is survived by her husband and two children.

Professor Hanna was a beloved teacher and role model to many within and beyond the Vermont Law School community. It is with heartache that we share this loss. She will be deeply missed by our faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

A memorial service for Professor Hanna will be held at a later date. Details will be announced as plans are finalized.


VCW celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.