Newsroom

May 8, 1998

Middlebury Legend Stephen A. Freeman To Observe 100th Birthday

Middlebury College President John M. McCardell, Jr. Presents Freeman with a Congratulatory Letter from Governor Dean

Professor Emeritus of French at Middlebury College, pioneer in the field of foreign language teaching, and long-time resident of Middlebury, Stephen A. Freeman will turn 100 years old on May 9. Earlier in the week, on May 7, Middlebury College President John M. McCardell, Jr. joined Dr. Freeman at Shard Villa in Salisbury, where Freeman now lives, and presented the distinguished educator with a framed congratulatory letter from Governor Howard Dean. Bob Youngman, a College trustee; Edward C. Knox, French professor and former Middlebury Language Schools director; and several other College representatives also were present.

The gathering at Shard Villa was held both in honor of Freeman's birthday and in recognition of Freeman's critical role-spanning more than six decades-in the life and academic affairs of Middlebury College, and in the Middlebury community.

A loyal citizen of Middlebury for many years, Freeman has volunteered his time as a member of the Addison County Grammar School Corporation, moderator of the elementary school district, village moderator and president of the Friends of the Ilsley Library. He is also a long-time member of the Middlebury Rotary Club and the Middlebury Congregational Church.

A World War I veteran, Freeman served in the U.S. Navy as an aviator, training flyers in Massachusetts, Florida and New York. He has led Middlebury's parade for many years on Memorial Day, fitting perfectly into the aviator's uniform he wore decades ago.

Freeman joined the Middlebury College faculty in 1925 as professor of French and dean at the fledgling French School, the second of Middlebury's summer Language Schools. In 1943, he was named the College's first vice president for foreign languages and assumed the additional duties of director of the Language Schools in 1946. In 1949, he established the first of Middlebury College's Language Schools abroad in Paris.

He served on the faculty for 45 years, occupying more academic and administrative appointments than any other individual in the history of the College. During three academic years between 1940 and 1953, he led the College as interim president.

Freeman was president of the American Association of Teachers of French from 1940 to 1944. He also led the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations from 1948 to 1954.

The recipient of five honorary degrees, he was decorated twice by the French government with the title of Chevalier in the Legion of Honor and Commander of L'Ordre Des Palmes Académiques. He also received the Bicentennial Award of the National Education Association. For 25 years he was president of the Middlebury College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

In 1993, the Middlebury College board of trustees voted to name the College's international center in Freeman's honor.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1919 from Harvard. He also received a master's and doctorate from Harvard and did additional graduate work at the Universities of Paris and Lyon. Before coming to Middlebury, Freeman taught for two years at Brown University.

Dr. Freeman has enjoyed the birthday visits, congratulations and warm wishes of family, friends and former colleagues during this memorable birthday week in Middlebury.