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In the fall of 1976 Middlebury started its Chinese language program. The Language Schools had offered Chinese during the summer, but there was no instruction during the regular academic year. Middlebury recruited John Berninghausen and the late Gregory Chiang from UVM to establish Chinese language instruction as part of the regular curriculum. I had graduated from UVM several years earlier and had later studied Chinese at UVM with John and Greg. Owing to their excellent teaching methodology, as well as uncertainty about their replacements at UVM, I followed them down to Middlebury with the understanding that I would be able
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to continue my study of Chinese there. John sent me over to the administration building to inquire about registering for class as a non-matriculated student, paying tuition, etc. Whoever I ran into there was puzzled by my questions and directed me to talk to Olin Robison. Being new on campus, I had no idea he was Middlebury's president. I remember explaining my situation to him and his response: "Why do you want to pay for something that you already have? You already have B.A. Just sit in on the class. John's letter of recommendation will substitute for a transcript." During the year our paths would cross from time to time on campus and he always remembered me and would ask me how things were going. I guess things went more than okay as the Chinese program that John and Greg established went on to become one of the finest in the nation. I went on to earn my PhD in Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Washington. And Olin Robison’s understanding, kindness and helpfulness saved me more than a few bucks that would have otherwise been needlessly spent on tuition. Rest In Peace, President Robison.
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by Stuart V Aque (not verified)