March 2, 2001

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards
grant to Middlebury College for environmental studies

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—The Andrew W.
Mellon Foundation has awarded a $284,500 grant to Middlebury College
for the purpose of supporting its interdisciplinary environmental
studies program. The College will use the funds to strengthen a
required capstone course taken by senior environmental studies
majors, present results of student research on local environmental
issues to the community, improve the science component of the
curriculum, expand student research, and create internship
opportunities for environmental studies students abroad.

Nan Jenks-Jay, Middlebury College
director of environmental affairs, said, "Among academic
institutions, Middlebury has established itself as a leader among
liberal arts colleges in its curricular and co-curricular approach to
teaching about the environment. This grant will help us strengthen
our academic program and share with the larger community—in town
and across the state—what our students and faculty learn about
environmental issues and sustainable practices in real-life

In 1965, Middlebury became the first
undergraduate liberal arts college in the country to offer a major in
environmental studies. In 1994 President John McCardell identified
the study and awareness of the environment as a peak of excellence
for which Middlebury would seek national leadership in undergraduate
education. Middlebury operates composting and recycling programs, and
has adopted environmentally sensitive construction

Environmental studies is now the
fourth largest major on campus—an average of 50 students
graduate each year with a degree in this field, which represents, on
average, nine percent of the senior class.

According to Chris Klyza, professor
of political science and environmental studies, students often
complete research projects in their senior seminar that are of
significant interest to the community. However, at the end of the
course, students graduate or move on to other courses, faculty teach
other classes, and the results of the projects are not shared with
local residents. "We’re excited that this grant gives the
College the funds to rectify this situation," he said.

The beauty, quality and diversity of
the Vermont landscape that surrounds the College provide an excellent
location for learning about the environment and conducting research.
We’re fortunate to be in these surroundings, " said

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