MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury alumni flocked to campus October 16–18 for a Homecoming weekend that will long be remembered for its peak foliage, variable weather, and conversations with the new president, Laurie L. Patton.
Fond memories were also kindled on the playing fields where the Panthers were victorious in all five of the weekend’s home varsity contests, including a 36-14 win over rival Williams College in football on Saturday afternoon. The field hockey team prevailed in both of its matches, and the men’s and women’s soccer teams triumphed too.
President Patton spoke to a breakfast meeting of alumni in Atwater Dining Hall and told the gathering how, through a series of unexpected “Middlebury moments” in 2014, she realized that seeking the presidency was the right choice for her. She had discovered that “every single value that [she] hold[s] deepest,” as a writer, as a teacher, as a language person, and as a human being, were embodied at Middlebury.
She also revealed that “Monterey was a difference maker for me in whether I’d come to Middlebury.”
|Homecoming Slide Show|
The East Asian religion scholar talked about her ideals for higher education in the 21st century within the context of “integration, adaptation, and innovation.” Middlebury needs to “help students find a role for their knowledge in the world”; its students should “learn to adapt and adapt quickly” and do so “in ways that they haven’t even thought about before”; and graduates need to be innovative “in ways that are deeply rooted in tradition.”
Patton took questions from the audience about science education, gender balance, the influences of government on education, student stress, the tension between education and training, and her vision for the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
"The alumni were wowed by Laurie," said Meg Storey Groves ’85, associate vice president for alumni relations and annual giving. “They were so impressed by her intelligence, her warmth, and her vision for Middlebury.”
The Office of Advancement also conducted the 39th Alumni Leadership Conference during Homecoming. A record 175 volunteers attended the conference, ranging from members of the class of 1946, here to help plan their 70th reunion, to alumni of the class of 2015. The Middlebury College Alumni Association Board and Annual Fund Executive Committee held their fall meetings, and members of classes of 1966 and 1991 gathered to make preparations for their milestone 50th and 25th reunions.
Also during Homecoming, there were a cappella performances by the Bobolinks and Mamajamas, an all-alumni reception at Kirk Alumni Center, student activity board-sponsored food trucks, an evening of storytelling called “Cocoon,” and a surprise appearance by the pep band at halftime of the football game.
"It was a quintessential Homecoming Weekend," Groves said. "It is one of our favorite weekends on the College calendar because it means a lot to alumni and our students really seem to enjoy it too.”
– Photos by Todd Balfour and Teddy Anderson '13.5; featured video by Ben Savard '14
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