MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-The Middlebury College Language Schools will hold commencement for the 89th summer session in Mead Memorial Chapel on Friday, Aug. 15, at 8 p.m. In honor of graduation, Middlebury College Carillonneur George Matthew Jr. will perform a recital prior to the ceremony at 7 p.m. that will also take place in Mead Chapel. The recital will include pieces from all the countries represented by the Language Schools. Mead Chapel is on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). Both events are free and open to the public.
Middlebury College President John M. McCardell Jr. and Dean of the Language Schools and Schools Abroad Michael Katz will award degrees to nearly 150 master of arts candidates in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. Two candidates will receive a doctorate in modern languages. Awards for distinguished study will also be given to select students in the schools of Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese.
Ray Clifford, chancellor of the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, Calif., the largest foreign language instruction program in the world, will deliver the commencement address. Clifford began his academic career in 1965 as a German language teacher in an intensive language program for missionaries. He has taught German at the elementary, secondary and university levels. Prior to accepting his position at the DLI, Clifford served as chief of the Slavic and Germanic languages department at the Central Intelligence Agency Language School.
During his government service, Clifford has received numerous awards for excellent performance, including the Department of the Army Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service. He remains active in the language teaching profession through his work on national task forces and boards, and has written numerous articles on such topics as teacher development and language proficiency testing assessment.
Following his address, an honorary Doctor of Letters degree will be conferred upon Clifford, Italian author Dacia Maraini, and writer and former Canada Arts Council director Naïm Kattan.
Maraini's first novel, "The Vacation," was published in 1962, and the second, "The Age of Discontent," won the International Publishers' Formentor Prize in 1963 and has been translated into 12 languages. She has subsequently written eight more novels, plays, screenplays, and collections of poetry, essays and short stories. Maraini has been an active feminist, as a commentator for newspapers and magazines and as the founder of a feminist experimental theatre in Rome in 1973.
Born in Baghdad in 1928, fiction writer and essayist Kattan is the author of 30 volumes published in many languages. Kattan left Baghdad to study at the Sorbonne in Paris and then immigrated to French-speaking Canada in 1954. Written in 1975 and translated into Arabic, his novel "Goodbye Babylon" is a narrative history of his childhood in Baghdad. Kattan has won numerous awards, including the military decorations of the Legion of Honor in 2002. He is an associate professor in the literature department at the University of Quebec at Montreal.
Middlebury College Professor Emeritus of Music Emory M. Fanning will accompany the commencement procession and recession on the Mead Chapel organ.
Middlebury College's first Language School, the German School, was founded in 1915, followed by the French and Spanish Schools in 1916 and 1917, respectively. Since then, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic programs have been added. This summer, a ninth program, the Portuguese School, opened. The language programs follow an immersion philosophy, at the heart of which is a language pledge-a formal commitment to speak, read and write only in the students' respective language of study for the duration of the summer session.
Middlebury also offers language programs at the C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad located in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Paris and Poitiers, France; Mainz and Berlin, Germany; Ferrara and Florence, Italy; Irkutsk, Moscow and Yaroslavl, Russia; Getafe, Logroño, Madrid and Segovia, Spain; and Montevideo, Uruguay.