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The medals were struck by Danforth Pewter of Middlebury.

Centennial Medals Honor Individuals for Advancing the Study of Languages and Cultures

July 27, 2015

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – In recognition of the Language Schools Centennial, Middlebury commissioned Danforth Pewter of Vermont to strike a series of Lilian Stroebe Centennial Recognition Medals.

The elegant medals were conferred during the Centennial celebration July 10-20 to individuals “who have supported the study of languages and cultures at Middlebury, or whose work advances global citizenship and the understanding of foreign cultures.”

During the Centennial there were 33 recipients of the medals, and Middlebury may confer more during this one-hundredth year of the Language Schools. The recipients included journalists, educators, philanthropists, alumni, and former administrators of the Language Schools.

The pewter medals honor the founder of the first Middlebury Language School, the German School, in 1915. Lilian Stroebe, then a professor of German at Vassar College, developed a method of language immersion that combined the study of language with a deep understanding of culture, thus – and probably for the first time anywhere – providing students with experiences akin to living in the country where the target language is spoken.

Stroebe’s pedagogy was so successful that Middlebury added a French School in 1916 and a Spanish School in 1917. Eight more schools were added in the decades that followed, and Middlebury now has 11 Language Schools.

Writing in "The Middlebury College Foreign Language Schools: The Story of a Unique Idea," published in 1975, Stephen Freeman said Lilian Stroebe's German Summer School "was the first advanced, specialized and isolated summer school of a modern language in any college in the country. It marked the beginning of Middlebury's international reputation in the teaching of modern languages, and of its specific contribution to the preparation of language teachers." In 1944 Middlebury conferred upon Stroebe an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree.

Each Stroebe Centennial medal measures 2-3/4 inches in diameter and weighs nearly four ounces.

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