Newsroom

May 12, 1999

U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Madeleine Kunin to be Middlebury College Bicentennial Fellow-in-Residence -- Two-Year Appointment to Begin in September

Middlebury College officials announced today that Madeleine Kunin, United States ambassador to Switzerland and former governor of Vermont, will be a Middlebury College Bicentennial Fellow-in-Residence beginning Sept. 1, 1999. Middlebury established the residency in honor of its upcoming 200-year anniversary in the year 2000.

Kunin, who is leaving her post as ambassador in August, will be in residence at the College three days a week during her two-year appointment.

Kunin will have a wide range of responsibilities while at Middlebury. She will present one to two public lectures each semester; advise students on their theses and independent work; facilitate internship opportunities in environmental and international areas; guest lecture in classes; collaborate with faculty on projects; and possibly co-teach courses. Students will have the opportunity to assist Kunin as interns while she works on her next book.

Commenting on her residency at the College, Kunin said, "I am excited about coming to Middlebury and looking forward to working with students and faculty of this outstanding academic community."

According to Ronald D. Liebowitz, provost and executive vice president of the College, Kunin will be a resource to students, faculty, and staff across a wide range of issues.

"Madeleine Kunin was often referred to as the 'environmental governor,' and I know she looks forward to working with students and faculty in our environmental studies program. Her experience as ambassador to Switzerland will translate into contributions to our international studies program. The non-profit Institute for Sustainable Communities, which she founded in 1991 to support environmental education and management in the then newly independent Central and East European states, might lead to internships for our students who study in Europe," said Liebowitz.

"We are honored to have Madeleine Kunin with us," he added.

A native of Zurich, Kunin emigrated with her family from Switzerland to the U.S. as a six-year-old, and has through the years continued to maintain significant ties with the country of her birth. She speaks Swiss German and French.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Columbia University, and the University of Vermont, Kunin was the first woman elected to be governor of Vermont. She held that office for three terms from 1985 to 1991-the only woman to have served three terms as governor of a state. Before becoming governor, she served as lieutenant governor and as a representative to the Vermont State General Assembly.

In 1993 she was called to Washington to become President Clinton's deputy secretary of education. In this position, she played a principal role in the president's educational reform efforts, which led to legislation on higher education and public education.

A journalist and educator as well as a politician and government leader, Kunin has authored numerous publications, including a memoir, "Living a Political Life" (1994), and a guide book, "The Big Green Book" (1978). She has written articles for publications as varied as The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Christian Science Monitor, as well as for the Vermont media.