MADELEINE M. KUNIN was born in Zurich, Switzerland. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1956 and received a master's degree from Columbia University in 1957. She earned another master's degree from the University of Vermont, and worked as a journalist, author, and college professor. She was first elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1972, and was selected Democratic Whip in her second term. In her third term, she chaired the Appropriations Committee. She was elected lieutenant governor in 1978 and won reelection in 1980. During the spring of 1983, she taught at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Governor Kunin also taught at Middlebury College and St. Michael's College. She was elected the first woman governor of Vermont in 1984. During her tenure, she focused on education and the environment and chaired the New England Governors' Association. She founded the Institute for Sustainable Communities and served as its first board chair from 1991 to 1993. During the presidential administration of Bill Clinton, she served as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. From 1996 to 1999, she was U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland. Kunin went on to become a Distinguishing Visiting Professor at the University of Vermont and St. Michael's College.
Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories, National Governors Association, 1985.