Kress Foundation to Fund Five Language School Fellowships

I have just spent two years in Germany (Heidelberg) researching and writing my dissertation, and I have secured a prestigious fellowship at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles for next year…. I can honestly say that none of this would have been possible without the training in German I received at Middlebury.
It was by far the best language course I have ever taken and really jump-started my German skills.

Allison Stielau, 2011 Kress Fellow in the German School
and Ph.D. candidate at Yale University

The Samuel H. Kress Foundation of New York has awarded Middlebury a grant of $283,250 to fund five fellowships at the Language Schools each summer for the next five years. The grant extends a Kress Fellowship program that began in 2010 and has already enabled 26 exceptional students to attend the Language Schools. 

The Kress Fellowships are offered competitively to graduate students or advanced undergraduates studying European art history. Candidates must demonstrate an appropriate background and future plans that necessitate the use of their chosen language in the field of art history. They may attend either the French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish schools.

In the past, the Kress Fellowships have been funded year to year, but the new grant ensures funding for the next five years. “In each of the past five years our efforts to recruit Fellows could not begin until we had received notification of support from the Kress Foundation,” explains Middlebury vice president Michael Geisler, who oversees the Language Schools and Schools Abroad. “As a result, we have had a narrow window for marketing and recruitment. This grant is important because it gives Middlebury more time to advertise the availability of the fellowships, and it also means that outstanding graduate students of art history can apply to take advantage of this opportunity when it will be most beneficial to their studies.”

Fluency in foreign languages is important for history-of-art scholars because they have to conduct research and publish articles in the languages associated with their particular areas of expertise. “Typically, advanced study in European art history requires a minimum fluency in at least two, if not three, languages,” Geisler says. “European history-of-art scholars have generally had an advantage over their American peers because of the language education offered in their native countries. The Kress Fellowships have helped to level the playing field for U.S. graduate students.”

The new funding from the Kress Foundation extends the fellowship program through the summer of 2018.

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