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Bread Loaf graduates walk in procession to Commencement exercises in the Burgess Meredith Little Theater.

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Ray, Sarah C.
(802) 443-5794

Bread Loaf School of English Commencement, August 12

August 8, 2017

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English, now in its 98th summer, will confer a total of 69 master’s degrees and two honorary doctorates at 2017 Commencement exercises on its three campuses.

The Ripton, Vt., and Oxford (U.K.) University ceremonies will occur on Saturday, August 12, and at Santa Fe, N.M., the Commencement took place on August 5.

The ceremonies are tailored to the traditions of each locale. In Santa Fe, for example, the event takes place under the expansive New Mexico skies; at Oxford the graduation occurs inside Lincoln College’s 17th-century chapel; and at Bread Loaf in Ripton, where the graduate school was founded in 1920, Commencement is conducted in the Burgess Meredith Little Theater.

Sixty-nine students are expected to earn their master’s degrees in English this summer: 47 Master of Arts (M.A.) and four Master of Letters (M.Litt.) degrees at Ripton; 15 M.A. degrees at Oxford; and 3 M.A.s at Santa Fe. Candidates for the master’s degree typically take courses for four or five summers, and students are free to decide which of the three campuses they wish to attend in any given summer.

With Director Emily Bartels presiding, two honorary Doctor of Letters degrees will be conferred at the Ripton, Vt., ceremony this year. The recipients are: Richard Brodhead, president emeritus of Duke University, and Martín Espada, a poet who teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  

Brodhead, a scholar of 19th-century American literature, served 13 years at the helm of Duke and 20 years before that as dean of Yale College. The Brooklyn-born Espada, who is also an essayist, translator, editor, and attorney, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 2006 with his The Republic of Poetry.  

On all three campuses, the graduates choose an admired faculty member to deliver an address and a member of the faculty or staff to place the master’s hoods on each graduate. Tradition also holds that the class president at each campus delivers remarks and presents the class gift to the school.

The School of English is one of Middlebury’s summer residential graduate programs offering courses in literature and the related fields of literacy and pedagogy, creative writing, and theater arts. Students, most of whom are K-12 English or language arts teachers, come from across the United States and beyond for one or more summers of intensive continuing education.

For more information about the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English, consult the website or contact the administrative offices at (802) 443-5418 or

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