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Language Schools Will Confer Master's, Doctoral Degrees

August 6, 2014

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Middlebury Language Schools will conduct Commencement exercises for master’s and doctoral degree candidates on August 7 in California and on August 15 in Vermont.

Founded in 1915 at Middlebury College, the Language Schools opened a West Coast campus at Mills College in Oakland in 2009. This summer the Arabic and Italian Schools convened at Mills along with a portion of the Spanish School’s seven-week program, while the home campus hosted the Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish Schools.

The Commencement address in Oakland will be delivered by Albert Russell Ascoli, professor and chair of the Department of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Michael Geisler, vice president for Language Schools, Schools Abroad, and Graduate Programs, will preside as Middlebury College confers 18 Master of Arts degrees in Italian and two Doctor of Modern Languages degrees.

In Vermont on Friday, August 15, at 8 p.m., the College will conduct its traditional Language Schools Commencement in Mead Chapel. President Ronald D. Liebowitz and Vice President Geisler will officiate for the 101 students who have earned MA degrees and the five who have earned DML degrees. (The DML, which is unique to Middlebury College, combines proficiency in two foreign languages with mastery of the literature, linguistics, and culture associated with both languages.)

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Commencement speaker Frank Trommler

An Honorary Doctor of Letters will be conferred upon Frank Trommler, a member of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania since 1970. Trommler is a scholar of German language, literature, and culture of the 19th and 20th centuries who has written and/or edited 18 books and published more than 100 articles in scholarly journals. Born in Germany in 1939 and educated in Berlin, Vienna, and Munich, the professor emeritus will deliver a Commencement address to the graduates.

Also at Language Schools’ Commencement, the college will present Awards for Distinguished Study to this summer’s outstanding students in the Language Schools. The ceremony will be preceded by an outdoor carillon concert performed by George Matthew Jr., the college carilloneur. Middlebury’s carillon is a 48-bell Paccard instrument located high atop Mead Chapel.

Emory M. Fanning, professor emeritus of music, will perform the prelude and accompany the processional, recessional and the evening’s guest musical performers on the college’s magnificent Gress-Miles organ. Bettina Matthias, the director designate of the German School and a member of the German department at Middlebury College, and Philippe France, director designate of the French School, will serve as marshals and lead the Commencement procession.

Since its founding 99 years ago, more than 40,000 students from all walks of life have attended one or more of the 10 Language Schools, and over 11,000 have earned advanced degrees in languages from Middlebury. Next year the College will open the School of Korean, its 11th summer immersion program, as Middlebury observes the centennial of the Language Schools.