August 6, 1997

Diane Ravitch To Speak at Middlebury Language Schools Commencement

The Middlebury College Language Schools will hold commencement ceremonies on August 15 at 8:00 p.m. in Mead Memorial Chapel. The ceremonies will be preceded by a carillon recital by Middlebury College Carrillonneur George Matthew, Jr. beginning at 7:00 p.m. An honorary Doctor of Letters degree will be awarded to historian, educator, author, and government official Diane Ravitch, who will also deliver the commencement address.

Graduate degrees will be awarded to 150 graduates of Middlebury's language programs. Degrees awarded include the Doctor of Modern Languages degree and the Master of Arts degree. Awards will be presented for outstanding achievement in the study of Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese.

Speaker Diane Ravitch is senior research scholar at New York University, non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, and fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Ms. Ravitch served in the U.S. Department of Education from 1991 to 1993. She was assistant secretary and counselor to the secretary of education and held responsibility for the department's Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Ms. Ravitch is the author of several books including National Standards in American Education: A Citizen's Guide; What Do Our 17-Year-Olds Know?; The Schools We Deserve; and The Great School Wars: New York City, 1805-1973. Ms. Ravitch is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds the Ph.D. in history from Columbia University.

Middlebury's first language school - the German School - was founded in 1915, followed by the French and Spanish schools in 1916 and 1917, respectively. Subsequently, programs were added in Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic. Middlebury also offers language programs in Paris, Madrid, Mainz, Florence, and Moscow. Over 30,000 students have attended the Language Schools, of which 10,970 have obtained advanced degrees in one or more of languages offered.