Jane Choate Beck '63
Vermont State folklorist
In 1978, the Vermont Council on the Arts appointed Jane Beck as Vermont's first State Folklorist. Since then, it has been her charge to untangle the web of folklore, folk life and folk art and discern their relationship to contemporary culture. True to this mission, she has since amassed a significant collection of myths, beliefs, stories and songs about the people, places and things that make up life in Vermont. One of her productions, seen throughout Vermont and featured on the CBS show Sunday Morning, was the widely acclaimed collection of Vermont folk art and traditional culture entitled Always in Season. She spent almost three years researching, collecting and selecting the 160 objects that were part of the exhibit. Her knowledge and interest in folklore, however, go far beyond the hills of New England. Her book, To Windward of the Land, published in 1979, deals with the occult traditions of the West Indies as told by a native master of black magic. Mrs. Beck, majored in American literature while at Middlebury.
Middlebury Magazine, Winter 1984 pg. 44
1932 - 1993
From 1975 to 1980, Art Bass served as president and chief operating officer of Federal Express. In just five years, he transformed a small, money-losing operation with limited capital into a company whose 1980 pre-tax earnings totaled $51 million. Fortune Magazine identified Federal Express as one of the ten best managed companies of the decade (1970-1980), a true testament to Mr. Bass's diligent work and accomplishments. Art Bass went on to serve as the chairman and chief executive of Midway Airlines, based in Chicago.
Adapted from Middlebury Magazine, Winter 1984 pg.44
Ronald H. Brown '62
1941 - 1996
Attorney, 1988 chairman of National Democratic Party, U. S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown loomed large on the national scene - including roles as a cabinet member and chair of the Democratic National Committee - similarly, he played a major role at his alma mater. From 1988 until his death he served on Middlebury's Board of Trustees, helping guide the College as it changed, just as he had helped guide the nation. When he began his work as Secretary of Commerce, Brown informed President John McCardell that he was relinquishing all of his board memberships except two - one was Middlebury.
Adapted from an article in Middlebury Magazine, Spring 1996, pg. 7;Middlebury Magazine, Winter 1989 pgs. 22-27 and
Middlebury Magazine, Winter 1984 pg. 44
Janice Eldredge Day '41
1919 - 1997
Founder, past chairman of JAFRA cosmetics
In 1954, without venture capital or corporate sponsorship, Jan Day and her husband Frank started a direct sale cosmetics firm they called Jafra (from Jan and Frank) Cosmetics, which grew at a staggering rate. Using a formula for a skin cleansing and moisturizing cream designed for Southern California's climate, the company built a reputation for quality that spread through California and, despite efforts to control the size of the company, eventually to the entire country. Today, there are more than 100,000 people involved in the "Jafra concept," in every state and in 24 foreign countries. In 1976, Jafra became a subsidiary of The Gillette Company, but Jan Day continued as chairman, guiding spirit and chief philosopher. She also operated the Jan and Frank Day Scholarship Fund, begun in 1972, which in 1983 provided financial support to 60 students from Jafra families. Mrs. Day majored in English at Middlebury.
Adapted from Middlebury Magazine, Winter 1984, pg. 45 and
Middlebury Magazine, Fall 1995, pg. 38
Melvyn H. Gussow '55
Mel Gussow was set on his career path before stepping out of Middlebury. With the editorship of the Campus and graduate study at the Columbia University Journalism School behind him, he served as editor of an Army newspaper in Heidelberg and then joined the staff of Newsweek, where he became an associate editor. Today, he is one of this country's leading critics and commentators on the theatre. As drama critic for The New York Times since 1970, he has helped to enhance the public understanding of new drama as few critics have. While he is at home on the Great White Way, it is in the off- and off-off-Broadway houses that he seems to find his greatest pleasure. Mr. Gussow was honored for his perception with the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism in 1979, and with a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship that same year. He is the author of Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking: A Biography of Darryl F. Zanuck, and his articles and reviews appear in many national magazines. Mr. Gussow was an American literature major at Middlebury.
Adapted from Middlebury Magazine,Winter 1984 pg. 45 and Middlebury Magazine, Winter 1999, pg. 16