August 21, 1998

Bicentennial Run Launches Celebration of Origins of Middlebury College

Retraces Historic Route from New Haven, Conn., to Middlebury, Vt.

Middlebury College will begin a month-long celebration of its founding on Friday, Sept. 11 at 1:30 p.m. in New Haven, Conn.

A relay-run will retrace the route taken in September 1798 by Timothy Dwight, the president of Yale College, as he traveled by horseback from New Haven, Conn., to Middlebury, Vt. Dwight passed through the town of Middlebury and while there discussed establishing a new college with town leaders, who were considering the possibility of amending the charter they received for the Addison County Grammar School to include post secondary or collegiate education. They conferred with Dwight to determine the feasibility of establishing a college at Middlebury to provide a convenient location for higher education. With Dwight's counsel and encouragement, Middlebury College was founded in 1800.

On three successive weekends, beginning with the launch of the run at the New Haven town green, small groups of two to four runners consisting of alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the College will run five-mile legs along the route as documented in Dwight's journals. On Saturday, Sept. 12 runners will pass through the Connecticut towns of Woodbridge, Bethany, Middlebury, Litchfield, Goshen, and South Canaan on their way to Sheffield, Mass. On Sunday, Sept. 13 runners will pass through Massachusetts towns of Sheffield, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lenox, Lanesboro, New Ashford and Williamstown to Pownal, Vt.

The run will continue on Saturday, Sept. 19, passing through the Vermont towns of Pownal, Shaftsbury, Manchester, Danby, and South Wallingford to Wallingford and, on Sunday, Sept. 21, Wallingford, North Clarendon, Rutland, Pittsford, Brandon, and Leicester to Salisbury. During each leg, runners will carry a replica of a cane used by Gamaliel Painter, principal founder of the town of Middlebury and Middlebury College.

On Sept. 26 the last leg of the run will begin in Salisbury, Vt., at the site of Painter's original homestead. The runners will continue to the Middlebury village green to be greeted by town officials, then eventually proceed to Middlebury College's Alumni Stadium where the Middlebury Panthers football team will be playing against Wesleyan University. A half-time ceremony will take place in honor of the College's Bicentennial, which the school will celebrate through the year 2000.

The Bicentennial Run threads through a series of weekend events marking the 200th anniversary of Dwight's journey.

Schedule of Events Free and Open to the Public:

Sept. 18-19 The Nicholas R. Clifford Symposium: The Liberal Arts in the 21st Century. Speakers: Leon Botstein, Leon Levy Professor of Arts and Humanities and president of Bard College (Friday, at 4:30 p.m.); Roger Schank, John Evans Professor of Computer Science, Psychology, Education and Social Policy, and director of the Institute for the Learning Science at Northwestern University (Friday, at 8:00 p.m.); and Richard Brodhead, professor of English language and literature, and dean at Yale University's Yale College (Saturday, at 10 a.m., followed by a panel discussion). All symposium events will be held at the Middlebury College Center for the Arts on South Main Street (Route 30).

Sept. 24 Almost Perfect: Timothy Dwight and the Founding of Middlebury College, a lecture by Middlebury Associate Professor of American Literature and Civilization Timothy Spears, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Twilight Hall on College Street.

Sept. 25 Jaroslav Pelikan, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Yale University and immediate past president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, will speak at 8 p.m at the Congregational Church on The College and the Mystic Chords of Memory, followed by a reception at the Community House. Both locations are on the village green in Middlebury.

Sept. 26 Ceremony at 10:30 a.m.on the Twilight Hall lawn on College Street to commemorate the completion of the Addison County Grammar School on the 200th anniversary of the occasion.

Sept. 26 Walking tour of early College history led by Middlebury Professor of History of Art and Architecture Glenn Andres, beginning at 11 a.m. on the Twilight Hall lawn off College Street (Route 125).

Sept. 27 Ecumenical service of local congregations, The Town's Churches and the Town's College, at 11:30 a.m. in Mead Memorial Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The service will involve clergy from churches in Middlebury. A community lunch will follow on the terrace of Proctor Hall on Hepburn Road.