August 5, 1999

Ceremonies to Mark Middlebury College 1999 Language Schools Commencement on Aug. 13 -- Carillon Concert and Ceremonies Open to the Public

The Middlebury College Language Schools will conduct commencement exercises on Friday, Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. 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 the recital and the commencement exercises. Both events will be held in Middlebury College's Mead Memorial Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125).

Degrees will be awarded to 153 master of arts candidates in French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish, and to seven candidates for the degree of doctor of modern languages. Four bachelor's degrees will also be conferred. The ceremony will include an awards presentation for outstanding achievement in the study of Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese languages, and for French literary studies.

The commencement address will be delivered by Raymond E. Benson, the director of the Russian program for the Salzburg Seminar's Universities Project. The Salzburg Seminar, a center for intellectual exchange, is an international forum that brings together rising leaders from around the world. A career diplomat and public affairs officer, Benson served in the United States Embassies in Russia, Turkey, and Yugoslavia. He also was an adjunct professor of Russian studies at Middlebury College from 1987 through 1996.

Benson will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters from Middlebury College. Honorary degrees also will be conferred upon Shirley Benson, a Russian translator who served at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the Library of Congress, and the State Department; Jean Berger, a music critic and composer of choral works who taught at Middlebury College from 1948 to 1959; and Ta Chun Hsu, president of The C.V. Starr Foundation until earlier this year.

Middlebury College's first language school, the German School, was founded in 1915, followed by the French and Spanish Schools in 1916 and 1921, respectively. Subsequently, programs were added in Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic.

Middlebury also offers language programs at the C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad located in France (Paris), Germany (Mainz), Italy (Florence), Russia (Irkutsk, Moscow, Voronezh, and Yaroslavl), and Spain (Getafe, LogroƱo, Madrid, and Segovia). More than 30,000 students have attended the Language Schools in their 83-year history, of which 11,000 have obtained advanced degrees in one or more of the eight foreign languages offered.