August 13, 1999

Middlebury College Class of 2003 to Begin Orientation September 6 --

Class is First to Include Middlebury Posse Scholarship Students

The 540 expected members of the Middlebury College class of 2003 will begin arriving on campus on Sept. 5. Coming from 32 countries, 44 states and the District of Columbia, the students will bring a wide range of experiences with them as they undergo a week of orientation activities and trips from Sept. 6-12.

"The class of 2003 is an outstanding group of talented young people," said Mike Schoenfeld, dean of enrollment planning. "One member of the class, Bryan Roberts, has conducted cancer research in conjunction with college professors in his hometown in Pennsylvania, and his work has been published in a science journal. Another, Katherine Hoeschler, is already a two-time world champion birler or log roller who has appeared on "ABC Wide World of Sports" and ESPN. And these are just two of the interesting stories this class has to tell."

The class of 2003 will also include the first Middlebury "posse," a group of 10 students from New York City public high schools who were initially identified as candidates for the New York City-based Posse Foundation's scholarship program by their high school guidance counselors.

Since 1989, the Posse Foundation has provided full scholarships to 175 such students to a number of colleges and universities around the country. The selection process emphasizes self-confidence and ambition as much as it does academic achievements. The mission of the program is to provide a foundation for city kids of all races and backgrounds to rely on once they reach college, decreasing the chance that homesickness, poor grades, money or other problems result in dropping out. Posse students meet regularly before college and after their arrival, becoming a close-knit group of cross-racial friends. Once on campus, the posse becomes an example of how students from different backgrounds can find a basis for understanding.

With the theme "Middlebury: Mountains of Home," orientation week for the new class begins Sept. 6 with a focus on academic activities, such as meetings with faculty advisors and an introduction to computer facilities.

Several gatherings will introduce new students to the commons system, which divides the campus into five groups of dorms housing approximately 400 students each. Students play key leadership roles in the commons, contributing to the cultural and intellectual life of the College community by organizing and hosting a variety of events.

Social opportunities, ranging from a barbecue hosted by Middlebury's president to a nighttime square dance, encourage students to get to know their new classmates.

On Sunday, Sept. 12, students will line up for the traditional convocation procession from Old Chapel to Mead Chapel. After the ceremony, which formally marks the class's entrance into the College, students will gather for a photo.

Late in orientation week, activities scheduled for Sept. 9-11 will relieve the stress students encounter as they make the transition to college. The events give them another opportunity to get to know their fellow classmates and experience life beyond campusboth in the local Middlebury community and beyond. Prior to their arrival, students choose between three options: MOO, or Middlebury Outdoor Orientation, "This is Vermont," and "Volunteer Preview."

Now in its 12th year, MOO is a student organization that was founded by members of the Middlebury College Mountain Club. MOO leads student groups in outdoor activities such as hiking and biking, developing among the new class an immediate appreciation for Vermont's beautiful countryside. This year, for the first time, fly fishing will also be offered. The trips also allow students to form friendships in a relaxed setting and gain useful wilderness skills.

Prior to their departure, MOO student leaders will attend a presentation on conservation in Vermont by a representative of the Green Mountain Club.

"This is Vermont" offers students who wish to become familiar with the Green Mountain state the chance to experience local culture and sites. Beginning with an overnight stay, storytelling, music and a traditional New England barbecue at Middlebury's Bread Loaf campus, the program continues with a day exploring Burlington and cruising Lake Champlain on the "Spirit of Ethan Allen II."

Those participating in "Volunteer Preview" work on daily community service projects, such as trail work with the U.S. Forest Service or home renovation for affordable housing. With about half of all Middlebury students volunteering at some time during their college career, "Volunteer Preview" offers an early glimpse into the real world concerns of Addison County.

Upcoming Campus Events

Sept. 5 First-year students begin arriving

Sept. 6-12 Orientation for first-year students

Sept. 13 Classes begin

Sept. 17-19 Alumni Leadership Conference on Bread Loaf campus

Oct. 1-3 Fall Family Weekend I

Oct. 15-17 Homecoming

Oct. 21-22 Mid-term recess

Oct. 29-31 Fall Family Weekend II