July 13, 2002

Contact: Travis Fahey
Posted: July 12, 2002

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-- Dr. P. Christian Hauswedell, Boston's general consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, presented Middlebury College Language School German School Director Jochen Richter with the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on July 11. The award, presented on behalf of German President Johannes Rau, is given to those who further German culture and language abroad.

The award was presented during Middlebury College's annual Zernik Lecture, which explores German issues for students in the German School and members of the community. The lecture is presented in German for the students in the summer program, who take a pledge not to communicate in English during the length of the course.

This year's Zernik lecture explored the topic of failed German-Jewish symbiosis and the current state of German-Jewish relations in Germany, Israel and the United States. Hauswedell, who served as chief foreign policy advisor to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl for 10 years, gave the lecture before presenting the award in English for non-German speaking members of the College community in attendance.

Richter is one of several Middlebury College German School directors that have received the award, the most recent of whom was Konrad Kenkel, who received the award in 1996. Kenkel teaches German in the foreign study program at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. He received the award for his work there and at Middlebury.

Richter, who has taught at and recently took directorship for the German School for 26 years, is a professor of modern languages at Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn. Richter received his master's degree and doctorate in German literature from Syracuse University. Since then, he has penned three books on German literature and 11 research papers on German writers and the influence of World War II and technology on German literature.