Newsroom

July 12, 1999

Stephen A. Freeman Dies

Professor Emeritus of French at Middlebury College, pioneer in the field of foreign language teaching, and long-time resident of Middlebury, Stephen A. Freeman died at Shard Villa Community Care Home in Salisbury, Vt. on Saturday, July 10. Professor Freeman was 101 years old on May 9.

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.

Freeman served in the U.S. Navy as an aviator during World War I, training flyers in Massachusetts, Florida and New York. For many years on Memorial Day, he led Middlebury's parade, 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 undergraduate 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.