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New Yorker Cartoonist Draws Former Dean Shields

August 1, 2012

Jeff Shields, who retired July 31 after eight years as president and dean of Vermont Law School, left his mark on VLS in many ways, from its academic programs, buildings and faculty to its national reputation.

Image of Koren Shields portrait

New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren (left) with former VLS Dean Jeff Shields.

But Shields' presence will be felt long after his departure in another way: Noted cartoonist and Vermont resident Ed Koren captured Shields in a portrait that was recently hung in the Cornell Library's newspaper room.

Koren has been an illustrator of children's books and political cartoons for five decades, most notably in The New Yorker, where his hairy, endearing characters are noted for their wit and social commentary.

In his iconic, whimsical style, Koren drew Shields in his trademark bow tie and hiking boots, carrying his distinctive walking stick and wearing a tweed suit as he leads first-year students on a hike to Kent's Ledge during Orientation, a tradition that Shields established at VLS.

In June, marking the 50th anniversary of Koren's debut in The New Yorker, where his work now totals 1,043 cartoons and 28 covers, the magazine said "his images and captions are both inimitable and unfungible.... The Koren prototype is a figure made endearing by a fearlessly honest embrace of emotion, poetry, earnest foolishness, and foolish earnestness."

Koren's portrait of Shields was given by Dr. Michael and Susan Epstein and Dr. Mark and Nikki Shields.

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