MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Clarissa Ward, the CBS News foreign correspondent who has been reporting this year from Egypt and Syria, will deliver the commencement address marking the end of the Middlebury Language Schools’ 99th summer session on Friday, Aug. 16, at 8 p.m. in Mead Chapel.
With President Ronald D. Liebowitz and Vice President of Language Schools, Schools Abroad and Graduate Programs Michael E. Geisler presiding, the college is scheduled to confer 118 Master of Arts degrees and seven Doctor of Modern Languages degrees at the ceremony.
In addition, Middlebury College will present an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree to journalist Ward, who is fluent in French and Italian, and has a command of Arabic, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish.
Ward is familiar with serving in embattled regions of the world. While working as an ABC News correspondent in Asia, Ward was embedded with the U.S. Marines and reported from Afghanistan’s dangerous Helmand Province. Also for ABC, she was one of the first network journalists to broadcast from the most severely damaged area of Japan immediately after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
She previously served as ABC News’ Moscow correspondent covering the 2007 Russian presidential elections and reported from inside Georgia during the Russian incursion. Her work on the global food crisis, part of a series of reports on “World News with Charles Gibson,” received an Emmy Award for business and financial reporting.
Since moving to CBS, the Yale University graduate has reported for most CBS News programs, including an exclusive segment for “60 Minutes” filmed inside Aleppo, Syria, last fall. More recently she has filed stories on clashes between pro-Morsi protesters and Egyptian security forces, hardships endured by Syrian refugees in Jordan, and life inside war-torn sections of Syria.
Clarissa Ward’s work at CBS has been recognized with the Peabody Award, the DuPont Award and the David Bloom Award, and she has been nominated for three Emmy Awards this year, two of them for her “60 Minutes” segment entitled “Aleppo.”
Also at the Language Schools’ commencement, the college 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, recessional and the evening’s guest musical performers on the college’s magnificent Gress-Miles organ. Grace Weber ’79, a student in the Italian School, will lead the gathering in “Gamaliel Painter’s Cane,” a spirited sing-along about one of the founders of the college and his famed walking stick.
In the week leading up to the Aug. 16 event, the Language Schools will confer its first-ever Master of Arts degree in Arabic on Aug. 8 to a candidate attending the Language Schools' second location at Mills College in Oakland, Calif. Additionally, the Language Schools will present an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree on Aug. 10 to the prominent Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura on the Middlebury campus.
Since 1915, more than 40,000 students from all walks of life have attended one or more of the 10 Language Schools, and over 11,000 have earned advanced degrees in languages from Middlebury. The Language Schools currently offer instruction from beginning through advanced levels in these languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. More information is available on the Language Schools’ web site.