August 3, 2001

Contact: Sarah Ray
Posted: August 3, 2001

MIDDLEBURY, VT - The Middlebury College Language Schools will conduct commencement exercises on Friday, Aug. 10, at 8 p.m. in Mead Memorial Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The public is cordially invited to attend.

President John M. McCardell, Jr. and Dean of the Language Schools and Schools Abroad Michael R. Katz will award degrees to 140 Master of Arts candidates in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. They also will award degrees to three doctor of modern languages candidates. The ceremony will include the presentation of outstanding achievement awards in the study of Arabic, Chinese and Japanese languages, and for French literary studies.

The commencement address will be delivered by the Hon. Madeleine M. Kunin, former United States ambassador to Switzerland (1996-1999) and three-term governor of Vermont (1985-1991). Most recently she served as Bicentennial fellow-in-residence at Middlebury College. An author of books, publications and articles, the Zurich-born Kunin also served as deputy secretary of education for three years during the Clinton administration.

An honorary Doctor of Laws degree will be conferred upon Hans G. Hachmann, president of the Max Kade Foundation and an advocate for German language education in the United States. Hachmann is an avid supporter of the Middlebury College German School and German department.

A second honored guest, Vladimir N. Voinovich, will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. He is a hero of the Russian dissident movement and author of "The Life and Extraordinary Times of Private Chonkin" and "Pretender to the Throne." Exiled in 1980, Voinovich continues to champion human rights throughout the West, most recently as writer-in-residence at the current session of the Middlebury College Russian School.

Middlebury College Professor Emeritus of Music Emory M. Fanning will accompany the commencement procession and recession on the Mead Chapel organ.

Middlebury College's first language school, the German School, was founded in 1915, followed by the French and Spanish Schools in 1916 and 1917, respectively. Subsequently, programs were added in Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. At the heart of the Language Schools' immersion programs is the Language Pledge, a formal commitment to speak the language of study and no other for the entire summer session.

Middlebury also offers language programs at the C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad located in France (Paris), Germany (Mainz), Italy (Ferrara and Florence), Russia (Irkutsk, Moscow, Voronezh, and Yaroslavl), and Spain (Getafe, LogroƱo, Madrid, and Segovia). In the fall of 2002 Middlebury plans to open new sites in Berlin, Germany, and Poitier, France.

More than 36,000 students have attended the Language Schools since 1915, of which over 11,000 have obtained advanced degrees in one or more of the eight foreign languages offered at Middlebury College.