Newsroom

July 30, 1998

Ceremonies Mark Middlebury College's 1998 Language Schools Commencement--Oscar-winning Film Director Giuseppe Tornatore and Foreign Language Pioneer Claire Kramsch to receive Honorary Degrees

The Middlebury College Language Schools will hold commencement ceremonies on Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. in Middlebury College's Mead Memorial Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The ceremonies will be preceded by a carillon recital by Middlebury College Carillonneur George Matthew, Jr. beginning at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Claire Kramsch, a pioneer in the field of foreign languages, will be the evening's commencement speaker, and will receive an honorary degree.

Degrees will be awarded to 147 graduates of Middlebury's language programs. The degrees include the bachelor and master of arts degrees, and the doctor of modern languages degree. Awards will be presented for outstanding achievement in the study of Arabic, Chinese and Japanese.

In a separate ceremony on Aug. 7 at 3 p.m., Oscar-winning Italian movie director Giuseppe Tornatore will receive an honorary doctor of arts degree, and will give remarks. The ceremony will take place at Middlebury College's Kirk Alumni House Conference Center on Golf Course Road off South Main Street (Route 30).

Known for his internationally acclaimed film "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso" (Cinema Paradiso), which won both an Oscar in 1990 for best foreign film and the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Tornatore has directed several other award-winning movies. Among them are "Stanno tutti bene" (Everybody's Fine), which was nominated in 1990 for an Oscar for best foreign film; "Una pura formalita'" (A Mere Formality); and "L'uomo delle stell" (The Star Maker), which also was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film in 1995 and won the prestigious Italian award, the Davide-Donatello, for best film and best director.

Preceding the Language Schools commencement, Tornatore will lecture at the 1998 Italian School on Italian cinema, the present status of cinematographic production in Italy, and his most significant works as seen in the context of the Italian as well as the foreign cinema of today.

Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient Claire Kramsch's area of research is applied linguistics and second language acquisition, as well as language pedagogy. She is the director of the Berkeley Language Center at the University of California at Berkeley. A former member of the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association (MLA), she currently serves on the National Foreign Language Center Advisory Board.

Kramsch's writings discuss the acquisition of language in discourse, language and culture, and a wide range of approaches to language learning. Her book, Context and Culture in Language Teachers, a pioneering attempt to reconceptualize the teaching of foreign languages as the crossing of cultural boundaries, won the MLA's Kenneth Mildenberger Prize for Outstanding Research Publication in the Field of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Middlebury College'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 in Russia in Moscow, Voronezh and Yaroslavl. More than 35,000 students have attended the Language Schools in an 83-year history, of which more than 11,000 have obtained advanced degrees in one or more of the languages offered.

The public is invited to attend.