On the afternoon of May 12, a massive earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale ripped through southwest China, killing at least 70,000 people, leaving more than five million homeless, and incurring damage estimated at $20 billion.
Meg Young ’07, a staff consultant with the international development group ECOLOGIA, was with her colleague and classmate Kate Leyland ’07 in the Sichuan Province city of Chengdu, 80 kilometers southeast of the quake’s epicenter, meeting with bankers when the Earth shook.
In 2008, Ian Barrow published a book on Surveying and Mapping in Colonial Sri Lanka (Oxford University Press). It's the first in-depth account and assessment of the colonial survey department during the nineteenth century. My research for the book and developing interest in Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) has prompted me to offer a course on Sri Lankan history in Spring 2010. My book will probably be one of the texts.
Professor Ian Barrow's current research is for a book on 'assassination museums' -- museums in South Asia that are dedicated to recent leaders who have been assassinated. "As a historian, I am particularly interested in the ways the leaders' legacies are displayed and taught through the often macabre exhibits (e.g. bits of flesh or spots of blood or bullet holes are preserved in the museums, which are often the locations of the assassinations)," Barrow says. "But I'm also fascinated by what's left out, and what that means for our understanding of the leaders."
Pieter Broucke's student Nicole Conti '09, a history of art and architecture major, presented a paper on her thesis research on Hieronymus Bosch at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo. In her research, Conti provides a new interpretation for "The Temptation of Saint Antony" (c. 1500), one of Bosch's most enigmatic paintings. In addition, she identifies the monastery that commissioned the painting, in the process recreating its early history. Earlier this year, Conti published some preliminary findings of this research in the Collegiate Journal of Art.
Baylor University senior Alex Nix, a student at Middlebury's Portuguese School this summer (2009), is one five Baylor students who have been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. A Spanish major from Riesel, formerly of Waco, Nix will spend the 2010 academic year in Brazil, where she will assist with teaching English, while developing the study of American poetry as a way of encountering and understanding American culture.
Middlebury College has finished second in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup race for the second straight season. The Panthers earned their sixth consecutive top-five finish, including four second place finishes. Williams won the cup, followed by Middlebury, Amherst in third and Tufts in 10th place, to represent NESCAC schools. Points for the cup are awarded based on excellence in NCAA tournament play.
Middlebury College graduate Alexandra Braunstein of the class of 2009 has been awarded the Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) Philanthropic Engagement Fellowship.
Braunstein, from Providence, R.I., majored in English and American Literatures. While at Middlebury, she was a co-chair of the Middlebury College Relay for Life, the most successful youth relay in New England. She also spent time as an intern at the VCF and volunteered at local schools and libraries.
Three Middlebury College seniors have received recognition for their research projects from the Center for Research on Vermont at the University of Vermont. Elizabeth Kelley is the recipient of the 2009 Andrew E. Nuquist Award for Outstanding Student Research on a Vermont Topic. Gregory McDermott received the 2009 George B. Bryan Award for Excellence in Vermont Research. Benjamin Robins received special mention from the Nuquist Award committee. The awards were presented at the Center’s annual meeting on May 1.
Administrators of the Middlebury College Fellowships in Environmental Journalism recently announced 10 fellowship recipients for 2009. The program, in its third year, is designed to support intensive, year-long reporting about environmental issues by journalists at the start of their careers. According to Bill McKibben, scholar in residence in Environmental studies and program director, the pool this year included “a fiercely competitive field of applicants.”
“There were at least 30 proposals equally deserving,” said McKibben, author of “Deep Economy” (2007) and “The End of Nature” (1989). “But the range of stories allowed us to pick among the most immediate and pressing, the ones we felt most needed to be told and were least likely to be reported otherwise.”
Thirty-three Middlebury College undergraduates were selected from more than 131 applicants to receive Middlebury funding for unpaid internships with national and international organizations and companies this summer.
“Access to funding for unpaid internships provides our students with ‘real life’ experiences outside the classroom and supports our mission to help students better understand and practice the skills needed for success in today's global community,” said Susan Walker, associate director of career services. “Our students’ depth of involvement in these internships demonstrates again how Middlebury is a model for the liberal arts in the 21st century.”
Earlier this spring, the Donald E. Axinn ’51, Litt. D. ’89 Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Starr Library received a Sustainable Design Award from the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) and an Excellence in Architecture award from the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). Sustainability is an integral part of the culture at Middlebury College, which has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2016.
According to a news release from the building’s architects, Boston-based Childs Bertman Tseckares (CBT), the awards are an affirmation of the high quality planning, design and service efforts associated with the facility. The BSA is Boston’s local American Institute of Architects (AIA) chapter, and the SCUP award recognizes best practices and emerging trends related to planning in higher education.
Erik Bleich’s (Political Science) guest edited special issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies titled, “Muslims and the State in the Post-9/11 West,” was published in March 2009. In addition to his introduction, the issue also includes his article, “State Responses to ‘Muslim’ Violence: A Comparison of Six West European Countries” (JEMS, 35:3, 361-79). This special issue is the culmination of an April 2007 workshop of the same title held at Middlebury College, which brought together 20 scholars and policymakers from the United States and Europe thanks to funding from over a dozen campus sources, including departments, centers, commons, and student groups. Erik would like to thank everyone who supported this workshop and encourages anyone interested to access the table of contents and abstracts.
Three members of the Middlebury College faculty have been promoted from assistant professor to the rank of associate professor without limit of tenure: Noah Graham of the Physics Department; Bert Johnson from the Department of Political Science; and Amy Morsman of the History Department.
The board of trustees, at its meeting on May 6, accepted the recommendations of President Ronald D. Liebowitz and the board’s educational affairs committee in promoting the three faculty members. Their promotions take effect July 1, 2009.
Established in the fall of 2008, the Middlebury Fellowship in Narrative Journalism provided three exceptional students the opportunity to explore and apply their journalistic talents. Organizers of the program sought highly motivated and intellectually curious students from a pool of more than 50 applicants who were interested in creating digital portraits of the Middlebury student body. Co-directed by Middlebury College Scholar-in-Residence in English and American Literatures Sue Halpern and Matt Jennings, editor of Middlebury Magazine, the fellowship spanned the academic year and included training in interview techniques, basic photography and sound editing.
Selected fellows were seniors Aylie Baker and Mallory Falk, and sophomore Sarah Harris. They began their project last fall by questioning various peers about their individual journeys to Middlebury by asking the question, “How did you get here?”
On a typical Thursday evening, senior Christine Bachman is busy hosting students at the Queer Studies House, a residential academic interest house with a focus on queer studies. These evenings are called “Thursday Teas.” Sipping tea and eating cookies, Bachman and the four other residents of the house start informal conversations on a variety of topics related to queer studies, an emerging interdisciplinary field that critiques traditional norms of sexuality and gender. Sometimes, as many as 30 or 40 students stop by for these gatherings.
“Students get to know and relate to each other on a personal level that in turn enables a safe, open, varied discussion about issues of difference,” explains sophomore Catarina Campbell, who frequently attends these gatherings.
As co-president of the Middlebury Open-Queer Alliance (MOQA), Bachman was one of the three chief architects of the proposal for the Queer Studies House. The proposal was approved by Community Council last year.
Forty-seven Middlebury College students and two student organizations were honored for their volunteerism at the 16th annual Public Service Leadership Awards reception held April 29 at the McCullough Student Center.
The students were nominated by service agencies throughout Addison County, by local individuals, and by their peers. All of the nominees received certificates from President Ronald D. Liebowitz and recognition from the more than 100 students, faculty, staff, and community members in attendance at the dinner.
Middlebury defeated Georgetown in Friday's semifinal and Wisconsin in Saturday's national championship game, giving the Panthers their second Division II national title in three years.
In their third straight trip to the “Big Four,” Middlebury regained the title they last won in 2007 on the same field at Stanford University’s Steuber Stadium.
A start-up company founded by Middlebury Associate Professor of Computer Science Tim Huang and Bevan Barton, a junior computer science major from Oakland, Calif., has received a a grant for $50,000 through the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET). Barton and Huang founded the company Appstone to create products that will help aspiring software developers learn to make applications for the Apple iPhone.
Vermont Governor James Douglas announced the Appstone grant at the fourth annual Invention to Venture Conference on April 28 at the University of Vermont’s Davis Center. A second grant was presented to the company Hoozinga, which is comprised of students and faculty from Champlain College’s Gaming and Emergent Media Program.
Middlebury College seniors Walter “Tripp” Burwell of Raleigh, N.C., and Corinne Almquist of Randolph, N.J., have been selected from a national pool of nominees to receive the Compton Mentor Fellowship. The Compton Foundation, based in Redwood City, Calif., created the Mentor Fellowship Program to support the creativity and commitment of graduating seniors as they move beyond academics and into the world. The fellowship lasts for one year, with a stipend of $35,000, beginning and ending at the annual mid-June gathering of fellows held in the San Francisco area.
Aylie Baker, a senior from Yarmouth, Maine, is the latest Middlebury student to receive the prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which funds a year of post-undergraduate independent study outside the United States. She begins her travels in July and plans research visits to the Maldives, the Canaries, the Chiloé Archipelago and Palau, where she will record numerous audio interviews. She hopes the recordings will have value both for the communities she visits and for her own continued research at home.
Baker says growing up in Maine, with its more than 4,000 coastal islands, gave her a deep appreciation for island life and culture. She believes the rugged challenges faced by islanders, combined with inflated costs for goods, results in innovation by necessity.
Middlebury senior Carrie Bryant of Wellesley Hills, Mass., is one of 20 college students named to the elite USA Today College Academic First Team, which was announced by the McLean, Va., based newspaper on April 29. Now in its 20th year, the $2,500 award recognizes students for outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership.
A classics major with a 3.91 grade point average, Bryant has numerous honors and awards at Middlebury College including the 2009 Jason B. Fleishman Award; the Eaton Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Classics; and Charles A. Dana Scholar for academic achievement potential for leadership and accomplishment. She will begin graduate studies in Latin language and literature at Oxford University this fall.
For the third year in a row, a group of three Middlebury College students finished first in a computer programming contest held on April 24 at SUNY Plattsburgh in New York. The Middlebury team included juniors Toby Norden and Scott Wehrwein, and sophomore David Fouhey. The group was coached by Middlebury College Associate Professor of Computer Science Tim Huang and Associate Professor of Mathematics Frank Swenton.
The annual competition, conducted by the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Northeast Region (CCSCNE), tests students’ abilities to work collaboratively within a limited time to develop computer programs for specific problems.
LAST November, extremists on motorbikes opposed to education for women sprayed acid on a group of students from the Mirwais School for Girls in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Several young women were severely burned. Yet it did not take more than a few weeks for even the most cruelly disfigured girls to return to school. Like the crowds of women in Kabul this week who protested a new law that restricts their rights, the Mirwais students demonstrate unbending courage and resolve for progress. They don’t fear much — except that the world might abandon them.
That is why President Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan policy speech last month and his administration’s related white paper are worrisome: both avoided any reference to democracy in Afghanistan, while pointedly pushing democratic reforms in Pakistan.
On Friday, April 17, from 1-7 p.m., more than 100 Middlebury College students will showcase the results of their recent research efforts as part of the third annual Middlebury College Spring Student Symposium. The symposium will highlight student work through a mix of lectures, performances, posters, artwork and readings. The presentations will take place in the Great Hall and various classrooms of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125). All events are free and open to the public.
The facial expressions in Angela Evancie’s new photo exhibit range from placid to cheerful to anxious. The black and white portraits of Middlebury College Dining Service employees achieve much of what she had hoped for – a humanizing portrayal of a group of people who students often overlook in the daily rush of academic life. Her photos are on display at the college’s 51 Main through Saturday, May 2.
“The dining halls are social hubs,” Evancie says, “where people gather and catch up with each other three times each day. It was important to me in this project that the staff be removed from the context in which we normally see them, in uniforms, doing a specific task that they do every day.” She asked the staff to wear their street clothes and photographed them in front of a plain background. Approximately 20 staff members volunteered to be photographed for the project.
A dozen seventh grade girls excitedly kick off their snow boots and race one another to lace up their tennis shoes before entering the gym. As the door opens, the sound of basketballs bouncing up and down fills the room. A Middlebury College student sees the girls, puts the basketball she is holding under one arm, and beckons the seventh graders onto the court. The seventh graders grab balls and join the college players, ready for fun.
During the basketball season, the Middlebury College women’s basketball team and seventh graders from Middlebury Union Middle School participate in Sisters in Sport. The Middlebury students work with the seventh grade girls as both mentors and as basketball teammates.
Middlebury College students, faculty, and community partners were recognized as awardees and finalists for Vermont Campus Compact Statewide Awards at Vermont Campus Compact's Statewide Conference, Through a Civic Lens, on April 1.
Vermont Campus Compact (VCC) is a consortium of 22 college and universities aiming to catalyze the public missions of higher education. VCC seeks to transform campuses in ways that contribute to social, economic, and environmental sustainability while developing better informed, active citizen problem-solvers. VCC believes that campuses must be vital agents and architects of a flourishing democracy
The College Choir tour program is a collection of exciting, dramatic, though-provoking and fun music for a cappella chorus. Exquisite madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi and Thomas Morely are coupled with the tempestuous and playful French choruses from “The Lark,” by Leonard Bernstein. An ensemble committed to understanding between people of different cultures, College Choir sings sentimental, humorous, spiritual and celebratory music from folk traditions of the Americas, Europe and the Far East. A Spiritual arranged by Middlebury’s Francois Clemmons is prelude to two works by Kirke Mechem, “I Know What the Caged Bird Feels” and “Everyone Sang,” settings of poetry by Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Siegfried Sassoon that capture musically both the pain of persecution and the triumph of freedom.
Middlebury College men’s basketball player Ben Rudin (Scarsdale, N.Y.) has become the school’s first men’s basketball All-American. The senior earned second-team honors by the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches), after being a first-team All-Northeast District selection. Earlier this winter, Rudin was named the NESCAC Player of the Year while earning a spot on the league’s first-team. The point guard led the Panthers to their most successful season in school history, winning the NESCAC Championship with a school-best record of 24-4. The Panthers also advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.
Middlebury College has named Associate Professor of Geology David P. West as the recipient of the 2009 Perkins Award for Excellence in Teaching.
West, a field geologist whose students have commended him for being “a master at explaining concepts” and “incredibly organized and effective,” will be honored at a reception open to the college community on Tuesday, March 17, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 104 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall.
Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz presented Citizen’s Medals for distinguished service to the community to Margaret “Peg” Martin, G. Kenneth Perine, and Ann McGinley Ross at an awards ceremony on March 4.
Since the College’s bicentennial year in 2000, it has been customary for the College to confer Citizen’s Medals to area residents for their sustained service. The recipients are nominated by members of the community and are selected by a committee of College faculty and staff.
Monterey Institute President Sunder Ramaswamy announced the appointment of his new academic leadership team. Three new deans are at the center of the revamped academic management structure being put in place as part of the Institute’s ongoing reorganization.
The dean of the new Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation and Language Education (GSTILE) will be Renee Jourdenais, a longtime MIIS faculty leader and the current dean of the School of Language and Educational Linguistics. Yuwei Shi, a veteran of MBA programs from Monterey to Singapore and consultant to global Fortune 200 companies on three continents, will take on the role of dean of the new Graduate School of International Policy and Management (GSIPM). And the newly-created position of dean of Advising, Career and Student Services will be filled by Tate Miller, currently director of International Program Development at MIIS, and both a MIIS graduate and a former assistant dean in the policy studies program.
On Saturday, Feb. 21, a daylong series of one-hour workshops culminating in an evening concert will be presented by Philip Hamilton and members of the internationally-touring a cappella groups Cadence and Duwende at Middlebury College. The evening performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Mead Chapel, located on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). Tickets to the evening concert are $10 general admission, $8 for seniors and children; and $5 for Middlebury College students.
The Vermont A Cappella Summit is co-sponsored by Middlebury College’s “Dissipated 8 Alumni Association,” Office of the Dean of the College, the Music Department, and the Department of Library and Information Services.
More than 190 Middlebury students and several faculty and staff members will travel to Washington, D.C., this weekend to attend the 2009 Powershift conference, a youth climate gathering that organizers hope will draw as many as 10,000 students from across the country.
Many of the students will also attend Capitol Climate Action, co-organized by Middlebury Scholar in Residence Bill McKibben, which organizers expect to be the largest civil disobedience protest on climate change in history.
This is the second Powershift conference—the first was in November 2007—and is designed to give students the knowledge and training to become effective climate lobbyists. Students spend the first part of the weekend in workshops and lectures. Monday is a day of lobbying during which students descend on Capitol Hill to speak with legislators and their staff about issues related to climate change.
Jay Parini (English and American Literatures) has published a new book, Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America, by Doubleday. It has been the subject of wide discussion on radio and television and in print.
The 86th annual Middlebury College Winter Carnival, the oldest and largest student-run — and only carbon neutral — winter carnival in the country, will take place Thursday, Feb. 19, through Sunday, Feb. 22. The public is invited to attend the ice show, both Nordic and alpine ski competitions, and various outdoor events such as fireworks, broomball and snow sculpting.
Beginning on Thursday, Feb. 19, the public is invited to attend a bonfire and fireworks show on Battell Beach, located behind Battell Hall on College Street (Route 125). The bonfire will begin at 8 p.m., and the fireworks will take place around 8:45 p.m.
On Friday, Feb. 20, and Saturday, Feb. 21, snowsculpting and broomball games will take place throughout the day on McCullough Lawn outside McCullough Student Center, located on Old Chapel Road off College Street (Route 125).
Also on Friday and Saturday, some of the finest collegiate skiers will compete in Nordic and alpine races that are regional qualifying events for the NCAA. Competitions take place at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl in Hancock and the Rikert Ski Touring Center in Ripton, both located on Route 125.
At the end of Middlebury College’s winter term, many students celebrate the closing of their undergraduate college careers. About 120 students typically earn bachelor of arts degrees from Middlebury upon the mid-year completion of their academic requirements, officially on March 1. As part of a congratulatory weekend for these graduates, the annual “ski-down” procession in cap and gown takes place at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl in Hancock.
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 students complete their undergraduate careers, the college honors their accomplishments with a weekend-long mid-winter celebration.
51 Main in downtown Middlebury hosted an art exhibition entitled “The Sum is Greater,” featuring the artwork of students enrolled in the winter term course “Invoking the Third Mind: Conversations & Collaborations Between Artists,” co-taught by Louisa Conrad & Lucas Farrell. The title of the course paid tribute to William Burroughs, who argued that through the process of collaboration an anonymous, disembodied, and superior “third mind” is created. Students have researched and discussed a history of direct influence, pursued their own collaborative projects, and embraced the notion that art can emerge from dialogue, transcend the limits of an individual’s imagination, and have a social component.
Local artists are accustomed to painting on canvas or paper, but a new fund-raiser for the Addison County Parent/Child Center has them embellishing a different medium—Adirondack chairs.
Eighteen artists including painter Woody Jackson ’70 and woodcarver Gary Starr have donated their talents to the “Chairity for Children” live benefit auction that will take place Sunday, Feb. 1, at 4 p.m. in the McCullough Social Space at Middlebury College.
Middlebury College students observed Martin Luther King Day by getting up early on Saturday morning, Jan. 17, and digging in for a day of service to the community.
First the women’s tennis team rallied at 7:30 a.m. to work at the local food bank to assist the hungry.
Next, at 9 a.m. a group of students started preparing an enormous lasagna and salad luncheon for the region’s migrant farm workers and their families.
And by 10 a.m., more than 60 students and a handful of staff members were positioned around the region cooking, stacking, reading, baking, moving, delivering, and performing music with and for residents in connection with the College’s second annual MLK Day of Service.
Long one of the leading producers of Peace Corps volunteers among small colleges, Middlebury has risen to No. 3 in the rankings this year, with 21 alumni now serving as volunteers.
Also serving as Peace Corps volunteers this year are five alumni of programs at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a Middlebury College affiliate in Monterey, California.
In the small college category, for schools with fewer than 5,000 undergraduates, the University of Chicago led the way with 35 volunteers and St. Olaf College was second with 26. Middlebury moved from a tie for 16th place last year, with 17 volunteers, to a third-place tie this year, with Smith College and the University of Puget Sound. Since the founding of the Peace Corps 47 years ago, 443 Middlebury alumni have served as volunteers.
Check out the complete rankings for this year. [PDF]
Two additions to the Middlebury Web site for 2009 are designed to help visitors better understand the importance of diversity at the College, and to provide easier access to news items, videos and other online content.
At the Web site for the Office for Institutional Planning & Diversity (OIPD), you’ll find a link to a new Flash project that offers visitors — in particular, prospective students, faculty and staff — as well as current members of the community a look at what diversity really means at Middlebury. With words, images, video, music, and slide shows, the new site tells the story of the College’s efforts “to make Middlebury a model of what a 21st century liberal arts institution truly should be—a welcoming learning community—and to build and maintain a diverse and inclusive community.”
Also new for 2009 is an updated “News Headlines” page, accessible from the home page. The page includes not only the most recent headlines, but also links to event schedules, College-related videos, blogs by students, faculty and administrators, other online sources of news from on and off campus, and even the local weather.