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The procession into Mead Chapel at last year's Language Schools Commencement.

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Language Schools Will Award Master's, Doctoral Degrees at Commencement

August 7, 2015

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Commencement exercises in Vermont for the Middlebury Language Schools will be held on Friday, August 14, for the recipients of master’s and doctoral degrees in languages. The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. in Mead Chapel.

Now celebrating its 100th year, the Language Schools also has a West Coast campus at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., which opened in 2009. The Commencement at Mills was held on August 6 for students in the Arabic and Italian Schools.

Historian David Stameshkin delivered the Commencement Address in California. The author of the seminal two-volume history of Middlebury College, Stameshkin has written a new history of the Middlebury Language Schools, which is due out later this year.

Middlebury conferred 20 Master of Arts (MA) degrees – 13 in Italian, seven in Arabic –  and four Doctor of Modern Languages (DML) degrees at the graduation held inside Littlefield Concert Hall at Mills College.

In Vermont on August 14, President Laurie L. Patton, Vice President Michael E. Geisler, and Dean Stephen B. Snyder will officiate for the 109 students who have earned MA degrees and three who have earned DML degrees. (The DML, which is unique to Middlebury, combines proficiency in two foreign languages with mastery of the literature, linguistics, and culture associated with both languages.)

Sixty-three MAs will be awarded to students in the Spanish School, 27 in French, 10 in Chinese, five in Russian, 3 in German, and 1 in Mediterranean Studies.

Middlebury will also confer four honorary doctoral degrees at Commencement on August 14 to Edward C. Knox, Jessica K. Liebowitz, Ronald D. Liebowitz, and Helene Zimmer-Loew.

Knox, the College Professor of French emeritus, taught at Middlebury from 1969 to 2005. From 1982 to 1993 he was vice president for foreign languages, where he was responsible for both Language Schools and Schools Abroad. His service to Middlebury also includes terms as acting president of the College, vice president for academic affairs, director of the School in France, director of the French School, and director of the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters.

Jessica Liebowitz served in an advisory role to the chair of the Middlebury Board of Trustees during the tenure of her husband’s presidency. She provided assistance to programs of the undergraduate college, guidance for president-house programming and presidential events, and support for the continued excellence of Middlebury’s undergraduate, graduate, and nondegree programs, including fundraising on their behalf. She will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Ronald Liebowitz was Middlebury’s 16th president from 2004 through June 30, 2015. Under his leadership, Middlebury expanded the range and depth of its academic programs and provided myriad opportunities for students to apply their educations in ways that prepare them to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. During his presidency, Middlebury added 120 endowed student scholarships and 16 endowed faculty positions, acquired the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and created the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the Program on Creativity and Innovation, the School of Hebrew and the School of Korean. The Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad added 23 new sites during his presidency. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Zimmer-Loew, a leading advocate for foreign language education, was the executive director of the American Association of the Teachers of German for 27 years. She also served terms as president of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; chair of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; president of the Joint National Committee for Language; and president of the National Federation of Modern Foreign Language Teacher Associations. Zimmer-Loew was in the first graduating class of the Middlebury School in Germany. She will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters.

The Commencement Address on August 14 will be delivered by Ronald Liebowitz.

Also at Commencement in Vermont, Middlebury will present Awards for Distinguished Study to this summer’s outstanding students in the Language Schools. The ceremony will be preceded by an outdoor carillon concert performed by George Matthew Jr., the college carilloneur. Middlebury’s carillon is a 48-bell Paccard instrument located high atop Mead Chapel.

Emory M. Fanning, professor emeritus of music, will perform the prelude and accompany the processional and recessional at his 48th Language Schools Commencement. Jianhua Bai, director of the Chinese School, and Bettina Matthias, the director of the German School and a member of the German department at Middlebury College, will serve as marshals and lead the Commencement procession into Mead Chapel.