A World of Thanks

One Program. One College. Thousands of Reasons to Be Grateful.

When asked about the best part of being a Davis United World College Scholar at Middlebury, the group of impressive young men and women attending the annual reception in May responded, unsurprisingly, with answers as diverse and vibrant as they are. It's not difficult to coax Davis UWC Scholars to express their gratitude. They overflow with thanks and insights into how their educational odyssey transformed their lives and opened unexpected opportunities. In this video, we captured their thoughts on their favorite aspects of the Davis UWC experience at Middlebury College, made possible by the philanthropy of Shelby Davis.

Global Perspective(s)

A list of students in this video, in order of appearance.

Savant Shrestha ’13, Nepal

Hai Do ’14, Viet Nam

Gabriela Juncosa ’13, Ecuador

Anil Menon ’13, India

Naina Qayyum ’15, Pakistan

Muhammad Jaweed Ahmadi ’15, Afganistan

Taran Veerman ’15, Netherlands

Daphnee Tuzlak ’14, Canada

Aminata Deme ’15, Senegal

Goran Simic ’14, Croatia

Madeleine Dai ’14, New Zealand

Joaquin Marandino Peregalli ’13, Uruguay

Rufus Nikolai Raghunath ’15, Germany

Rafael Manyari ’15, Peru

Thomas Lu ’16, USA

Paula Bogutyn ’13, Poland

Charles Archambeau ’16, France

Irene Gonzalez ’15, Spain

Juan Sebastian Munoz ’13, Colombia

Andres Chamorro ’16, Nicaragua

Savant Shrestha ’13 spoke for all of his peers when he conveyed his gratitude to Davis United World College Scholars Program founders Shelby Davis and Dr. Philip O. Geier: “Thank you so much for trusting in us and sharing with us your vision for a transformed world and a transformed future.” Though the sentiment was universal at the reception, each scholar offered his or her personal reasons for appreciating the generosity of the program.

Reflecting on their time at Middlebury, the scholars mentioned the joy of applying the lessons learned at their UWC. As Andres Chamorro ’16 explained, “I think that international experience adds a lot to the classrooms, to life with my roommate, to every single aspect of my life here at Middlebury.” Naina Qayyum ’15 likewise spoke about transplanting UWC values, which “really helped me to contribute to a lot of discussions that go on at Middlebury and to understand behaviors and differences that people present in daily conversations. I feel very confident because of being a Davis UWC scholar that I can appreciate these differences.”

Several scholars observed that the transition from their United World College to Middlebury went particularly smoothly. Aminata Deme ’15 noted, “I chose this school because it has such as strong emphasis on internationalism. Middlebury is really in line with the UWC ideology. It creates this climate of comfort, a support system.” Cherishing the support and encouragement from their fellow Davis UWC Scholars—which several referred to as a “family”—the group also fondly mentioned the abundance of new friends they made on campus.

Discussing the College in particular, scholars like Irene Gonzales praised “the great opportunities that we have, from accessing a wide variety of resources to being in classes of 15 to being able to talk to our professors.”

Madeleine Dai ’14 mentioned how her interactions with faculty helped her refine her plans for the future: “I had a professor that definitely changed the trajectory of my academic career and what I was interested in.” For Anil Menon ’13, the ability to do independent work at the British Library during a study-abroad year in London stood out as a highlight.

As scholars enthusiastically shouted, “Thank you Shelby and Phil!” in one voice, young men and women from six continents and radically divergent backgrounds were united by a desire to serve the good of others and foster global understanding. Together, they represented a world of thanks.