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The Middlebury Language Schools will celebrate commencement on August 18 at Robison Hall in Middlebury.

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Language Schools To Confer Master's, Doctoral Degrees on August 18

August 9, 2017

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Commencement exercises for the Middlebury Language Schools will be held on Friday, August 18, at 4 p.m. for 100 master’s and doctoral degree candidates in foreign languages. The ceremony will take place in Robison Hall at the Mahaney Center for the Arts.

Now in its 103rd consecutive summer of operation, the Language Schools also has a West Coast campus at Mills College in Oakland, Calif. The Commencement at Mills for students in the Arabic, Italian, and Korean Schools was held on August 3. 

At Oakland, Elizabeth Bernhardt of Stanford University, a professor of German studies and director of the Stanford Language Center, delivered the Commencement address. Middlebury conferred 14 Master of Arts degrees: 11 in Italian and three in Arabic at the ceremony conducted in Littlefield Concert Hall at Mills College.

In Vermont on August 18, President Laurie L. Patton and Dean of Language Schools Stephen B. Snyder will officiate for the 96 students who have earned MA degrees and the four who have earned Doctor of Modern Languages 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.)

Forty-three MAs will be awarded to students in the Spanish School, 25 in French, 11 in Chinese, eight in Hebrew, six in Russian, and three in German. Among the DML recipients, the candidates’ primary/secondary language combinations are French/Spanish, French/German, Russian/German, and Spanish/Italian.

Elena Poniatowska Amor gained fame in Mexico for her chronicles of social injustice and government repression.

Elena Poniatowska Amor, the French-born Mexican novelist and investigative journalist, will deliver the 2017 Language Schools Commencement address. The author (in Spanish) of novels, short stories, and essays, she is an officer of the French Foreign Legion and the winner of the Mary Moors Cabot Prize for journalism from Columbia University. The recipient of numerous literary prizes and honorary degrees, Poniatowska Amor declined in protest the 1970 Xavier Villaurrutia Prize for her book La Noche de Tlatelolco (Massacre in Mexico).

The Language Schools will confer upon Poniatowska Amor an honorary Doctor of Letters degree following her address to the graduates. It will mark the author’s second appearance in the Language Schools this summer; in July she delivered the annual Guarnaccia Lecture in honor of the Spanish School Centennial.

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 carillonneur, on Middlebury's 48-bell instrument atop Mead Chapel.

Students and faculty in the Language Schools will perform musical selections during the ceremony. Middlebury resident Kevin Parizo will play the piano in Robison Hall for the processional and recessional, which will be led by marshals Cecilia Chang, the director-designate of the Chinese School, and Per Urlaub, associate dean of the Language Schools.  

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