As Middlebury College’s winter term came to an end this past weekend, 113 students celebrated the closing of their undergraduate college careers. The students will earn bachelor of arts degrees from Middlebury upon the mid-year completion of their academic requirements, officially on March 1.
The congratulatory weekend for the mid-year graduates began on Friday, Feb. 3, with a reception for them and their families hosted by Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Joining the president was Atwater Commons Dean Scott Barnicle, who offered remarks.
On Saturday morning, the mid-year graduates convened at Mead Chapel where Ross Brockway, a member of the graduating class, spoke and President Liebowitz delivered an address. Zachary Bourque, a 2001 graduate and current president of the alumni association, presented the customary replicas of Gamaliel Painter’s cane to the graduates. (Painter was one of the founders of the college.)
At noon, the graduates gathered at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl in Hancock for the annual “ski-down” procession in cap and gown.
Following the custom initiated by mid-year graduates more than two decades ago, many students – expert skiers, snowboarders and beginners alike – participated in the ski-down event, which is a festive procession on the slopes. Led by a Middlebury College standard-bearer, the mid-year graduates rode the chairlift or hiked up the mountain to make their way back down in a make-shift procession to be met by the cheers and congratulations of family, friends and college faculty and staff waiting below.
The college offers admission to students twice each year, in September and again in February. Since the 1970s, February admissions have allowed some first-year students to begin their college studies in the spring semester after high school graduation instead of starting immediately in the fall. As these “Febs” complete their undergraduate careers, the college honors their accomplishments at the mid-year celebration.
The graduates are invited to return later this spring, when they can join the class at the official commencement ceremony on the main campus on Sunday, May 27.