April 30, 1997

Middlebury College to Celebrate 197th Commencement

Robert Brustein, artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre, will deliver the 1997 commencement address at Middlebury College on May 25. As founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theatres, Mr. Brustein has supervised 210 productions, directing 12, including his own adaptations of Ghosts, The Changeling, The Father, and the trilogy of Pirandello works. His most recent theatrical work includes the klezmer musical adaptation of Schlemiel the First, by I. B. Singer, and the play Demons. He is author of 10 books on theatre and society, including Who Needs Theatre; a collection of reviews and essays; and a memoir of his years as dean of Yale's Drama School. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Mr. Brustein will receive the honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Middlebury College.

Seven distinguished leaders in a variety of fields will also be recognized with honorary doctorates at the commencement ceremonies. Receiving the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters is Curt C. Silberman. In 1994, Mr. Silberman and his wife established a fund to provide the initial underwriting for the Curt C. and Else Silberman Chair in Jewish Studies. The scope of the chair includes aspects of Jewish history, ethics and philosophy, and examines the lessons of the Holocaust, the Diaspora, the modern events in the Middle East, the establishment of Israel, and other aspects of Jewish life in a multi-cultural world.

Barbara Snelling, who is presently the Chittenden County state senator in Vermont, will receive a Doctor of Laws degree. She was lieutenant governor of the State of Vermont for two terms and has served as chairman of the board of the Chittenden Bank Corporation. She was vice president for external affairs at the University of Vermont, and president of her firm Snelling and Kolb. She is a trustee of the Shelburne Museum.

Thelma Adair, past national president of Church Women United in the U.S.A., will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. As president, she was the major spokesperson for Church Women United, a national ecumenical women's movement uniting Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian women in fellowship and action through some 1,900 units across the United States. She is past national president of Black Presbyterians United.

A Doctor of Letters degree will be bestowed on Wendy Reid Crisp, who is national director of the National Association for Female Executives. She is author of Do As I Say, Not As I Did: Perfect Advice from an Imperfect Mother; 10 Things I'm Not Going To Do Now That I'm Over 50, and other books and columns. She has held positions as publisher, editor, and producer, and has been keynote speaker on issues of leadership, citizenship, the personal/professional life balance, and the challenge of change.

Jane Garrett, who has served as editor and senior editor of Alfred A. Knopf, and has been active with the Episcopal Church, both in the Diocese of Vermont and at the national level, will receive the Doctor of Letters degree. At Knopf, Ms. Garrett has been involved in the publication of books that have won Pulitzer Prizes, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Bancroft Prize, the Parkman Prize, and many other prizes and awards.

Bob Keeshan, also known to millions as Captain Kangaroo, will receive a Doctor of Letters degree. Mr. Keeshan started the "Howdy Doody" television show with Bob Smith, and created the character, Clarabell the Clown. Leaving "Howdy Doody," he worked with children's programming in New York City, resulting in the first Captain Kangaroo on CBS-TV in 1955. The program continued on CBS for 30 years, making it the longest running children's program. "Captain Kangaroo" won six Emmy Awards, three Gabriels, and two Peabody Awards.

Receiving the Doctor of Letters degree is William von Dreele. After graduating from Middlebury College, he worked with IBM in magazine writing and executive speech writing, and began contributing to William F. Buckley's National Review. He was invited to appear in The New York Observer and was commissioned by Mr. Buckley to write new verse interludes to Saint Saens' "Carnival of the Animals," with original verse by Ogden Nash. This was performed in Stamford, Connecticut, with Mr. Buckley reading.

Weather permitting, ceremonies will be held behind Forest West at 10:00 a.m.

Communications Office