August 9, 2002

Contact: Travis Fahey
Posted: May 31, 2002

MIDDLEBURY, VT- The Middlebury College Language Schools will hold commencement for its 88th summer session in Mead Memorial Chapel on Friday, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. Mead Chapel is on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The public is invited to attend the event.

President John M. McCardell, Jr. and Dean of the Language Schools and Schools Abroad Michael Katz will award degrees to nearly 150 master of arts candidates in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. Ten candidates will receive a doctorate in modern languages. Awards for distinguished study will also be given to select students in the schools of Arabic, Chinese and Japanese.
Michele Forman, Middlebury Union High School (MUHS) teacher, Middlebury College honorary degree recipient and former Arabic student at Middlebury’s Language School, will deliver this year’s commencement address. Forman became Vermont’s first teacher to receive the National Teacher of the Year Award when President George W. Bush presented her with the honor last year. Forman has spent the last year speaking on education topics throughout the country and abroad as part of her duties as national teacher of the year. Among many other accomplishments, Forman recently started and will continue to teach a not-for-credit course in Arabic at MUHS to an average crowd of roughly a dozen students. The students, who go to the class at 6 a.m. once or twice a week, study Arabic culture out of personal interest. Forman teaches it on her own time. She said learning and teaching the Arabic language has provided her with a new historical and cultural perspective, which she incorporates into many of her classes at MUHS.

Following Forman’s address, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree will be conferred upon Raphael Confiant, associate professor of Creole at the University of Antilles-Guyanes in Martinique and a founding member of the literary Créolité movement.

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. Since then, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic programs have been added. Next summer, a ninth school, the Portuguese School, will open. The language programs follow an immersion philosophy, at the heart of which is the Language Pledge - a formal commitment to speak, read and write only in the students’ respective language of study for the duration of the summer session.

Middlebury also offers language programs at the C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad located in Buenos Aries, Argentina; Paris and Poitiers, France; Mainz and Berlin, Germany; Ferrara and Florence, Italy; Irkutsk, Moscow, Voronezh and Yaroslavl, Russia; Getafe, Logroño, Madrid and Segovia, Spain; and Montevideo, Uruguay.

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