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Reporter Who Covered Pope Francis Will Speak at Middlebury on April 8

March 31, 2014

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — The European culture correspondent for the New York Times, Rachel Donadio, will deliver the Robert W. van de Velde ’75 Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, April 8, at 4:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium. Her topic will be “Notes From the Field: Reporting from Italy and Beyond.”

Donadio, who has filed stories in recent weeks from Paris, Berlin, Rome, London, and Davos on everything from film to theatre to art to what people are eating and drinking at the World Economic Forum, was the Times’ Rome bureau chief from 2008 until August of last year, which gave the journalist the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to report on the ascension of a new Pope.

She will discuss her experiences covering historic changes at the Vatican, the downfall of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and the political and social disarray in Greece.

Donadio joined the Times in 2004 as a reporter-editor at the Book Review, where she wrote essays on literary culture and contributed widely to other sections of the paper. She started her career in journalism at the ANSA news agency in Rome and The International Herald Tribune’s Italy Daily in Milan, and also wrote for The Forward and New York Observer.

Presenting the van de Velde Lecture represents a homecoming for Donadio, who grew up in Middlebury and studied Italian and French at the College while she was a student at Middlebury Union High School. (Her father, Stephen, is Fulton professor of humanites, and her mother, Emmie, is associate director of the Museum of Art.) She graduated from Yale University in 1996 with honors in humanities.

The annual Robert W. van de Velde Jr. ’75 Memorial Lecture was established in 1981 by van de Velde's parents, R.W. and Barbara van de Velde; his widow, Diana Mooney van de Velde; and other family members and friends. The lecture series provides an annual talk on the confluence of public affairs, both foreign and domestic, and journalism, particularly broadcast journalism.

Previous speakers in the series have included former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, Steve Kurwood of NPR, columnist and author Jane Bryant Quinn ’60, former Secretary of State James Baker, and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer David Moats. The 2014 guest speaker is one of several New York Times staffers to join the ranks of van de Velde guests; others were columnist Bob Herbert, executive editor Jill Abramson, and book editor Dwight Garner '88.

Admission to the van de Velde Lecture is free of charge and open to the public.