Thank you for a lively, uplifting, and informative Reunion at Home 2021!  Our main events are available here to watch—or rewatch—at your convenience.

Alumni Achievement Award Winners

Heather Vuillet Lende ’81 Achievement Talk

- Hello everyone. This is Meg Storey Groves I’m just waiting for my friends, Heather and Annie to turn on their videos and join me. There’s Heather and there’s Annie. Awesome. So welcome everyone. It’s a really fun to kick off this alumni achievement award ceremony with the first of three tonight. And again, I’m I’m Meg Storey Groves. I’m Class of ‘85. I’m the AVP for alumni and parent programs at Middlebury. I wanna thank you for joining us for tonight’s event with Heather Vuillet Lende Class of 1981. You guys, I can’t hear you, but I know there’s a lot of whooping going on out there from the Class of 1981. Congratulations and welcome, Heather. It’s great to see you. I also wanna welcome Annie Hartmann Philbrick Class of ‘80 and the mother of Elma Class of 2013. A book lover, owner of three bookstores and a former member of the Middlebury Alumni Association Board. Annie will be moderating the Q&A after Heather’s talk. This is one of many Reunion at Home events and I hope you can join our next fall all class event tomorrow. A young alumni achievement interview with Shabana Basij-Rasikh Class of 2011, and that’s at 12:30 eastern time tomorrow. Before we get started, I have some housekeeping to cover. So this is a zoom webinar format, and that means that the audio and the video are off for the audience. You can control, whether you see subtitles by clicking on the closed captioning on your zoom control panel whether to show, turn subtitles on or turn them off. Please use the Q&A feature also in your zoom control panel to submit questions at any time during the talk. We will be closing down chat for the audience to minimize distractions as we get going here. All right, So the next thing I get to do it’s my honor, is to read the citation for Heather for this award. So bear with me I didn’t memorize it. For 30 years Heather Vuillet Lende Class of ‘81 has been chronicling the lives, the joys, sorrows, and challenges and sometimes the deaths of friends and neighbors in Haines, Alaska. Haines is a small coastal town in southeast Alaska with a population of 2,500. It lies on a Fjord at the top of the passage about 70 miles north of Juneau. Her intimate stories have gained Heather national recognition and many accolades, including most recently selection as Alaska state writer Laureate for 2021 to 2023. Heather has contributed essays and commentary to the Anchorage Daily News, National Public Radio, Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times. She’s a former contributing editor at Women’s Day Magazine, and for more than 20 years has written some 500 obituaries for the Chilkat valley news in Haines. She is the author of best-selling memoirs from Algonquin books. “Find The Good”, “If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name” “Take Good Care of the Garden And The Dogs.” And most recently “Of Bears And Ballots” and Alaskan adventure and small town politics. Published in 2020 “Of Bears and Ballots”. is a story of her experiences navigating the often fraught landscape of local government after winning a borough assembly seat. Heather often addresses the reader directly and personally and even those who have never met her feel they’re in conversation with a friend. In following Heather’s story, we come to know the colorful characters who are her neighbors and friends, and we become part for a time of the interdependent logging and fishing community where she and her husband Chip Class of ‘79 on a lumber yard and hardware store. Heather is actively involved in her community from the library and public radio, to sporting events and hospice care. She’s the recipient of the 2016 Alaska Governor’s Award for distinguished service to the humanities. And she’s also the recipient of the Episcopal Bishop of Alaska’s Bishop’s Cross Award. I’m trying to be, she said in a recent interview the kind of woman who says and believes that she can change the world through small acts in small places and have enough confidence or is the word wisdom to actually do it. It’s clear from Heather’s work in life and the testimony of her community that she has far succeeded. The Middlebury Alumni Association, alumni achievement award is presented to Heather Vuillet Lende Class of 81 in recognition of her personal achievements and the outstanding contributions she has made in her field. Her distinguished accomplishments bring great credit to the college. Congratulations, Heather, but wait President Patton could not be here tonight but she asked me to read this greeting. Heather, I send you my very best wishes and congratulations on being selected for the alumni achievement award. It’s a pleasure to see a fellow writer receive such well-deserved recognition. We share a love of stories and a belief in the power those stories have to change lives. I look forward to learning more about your life and work when you are next in Vermont. I just have to flash the award here because I get to see it first and then I’m gonna be mailing it to you, Heather. Now it’s my pleasure to turn it over to Heather.

- Thank you. I’m really honored and humbled and I’m kind of surprised and I’m a little nervous in a good way. This means a lot to me to be recognized for what I do so far away. It seems in many ways from Middlebury or my time there, but without Middlebury, I wouldn’t exist. My parents of Bob and Sally Smith Vuillet went to Middlebury and they met there. And so they had me. And then I also met, as you mentioned my husband Chip at Middlebury, and we got married shortly after I graduated 39 years ago and he wanted to go to Alaska and we’re still here. So, I mean really literally my DNA is all Middlebury both my parents and my children and my grandchildren are all part of this connection. I mean, I suppose you could say that in the grand scheme of things something else might’ve happened some way that we would have met, but I don’t know how. And so I really credit in many ways the Middlebury connection for the life I’ve led and thus the stories I have told. Also I really wanna thank the alumni association and president Patton and everybody who’s involved in this. Like I say, it was kind of a big surprise I had no idea that it was coming. So thank you and Meg and Annie for being here and all the other folks. And I also wish we could be there. It would really be pretty great to be on campus again and at the chapel and seeing everybody in person. So maybe next year, maybe the 45th reunion, I can’t believe we’re that old. I also wanna know before I go too far that I’m speaking to you from the land of the Tlingit native Alaskans, Tlingit Ani. And I want to just very gratefully acknowledge the past and future, present caretakers of this place, the Jilḵoot Ḵwáan and Jilḵoot Ḵwáan And as they say thank you. The other thing I wanna say is, I’ve learned a lot from my Alaskan native neighbors and when one of them gets a big award and I have several fairly well known artists and weavers and carvers and speakers here who’ve received big accolades in Alaska and around the world they never take the credit personally. They take it for a whole group of people. So it was really nice what president Patton said, because I think for the kind of work that I do to be honored by an institution like Middlebury I think should give courage to other people to write and tell their stories and to share them because it’s really important that not only the stories from sort of far corners of the world and lives that people might not normally know about like mine, but from all kinds of backgrounds and all kinds of situations. And I hope that holding me up will raise up other people that maybe have had less of an opportunity to have their voices heard and their stories read. So I appreciate that. Also since some of you may not be actually familiar with what I write and how I do it. I thought I would read you something if that’s okay from “Find The Good.” But before I do I just wanted to explain a little… It’s the last chapter. So you need to know what “Find The Good” came from and what happened was a there was a librarian called me and wanted me to write like a sentence or a little paragraph of wise advice I would give to my grandchildren. And I mean, honestly, and then she said something like if you weren’t here anymore what would you want them to know? And it’s like, I mean I can’t do that in a sentence or a paragraph. And she kept sending me these notes, come on, Heather, come up with something. And it’s way easier for me to write like a kitchen sink full and especially advice to my grandchildren. I want them to know so much, right? I mean, wear a helmet, get a dog, play outside, ice skate. My first date with Chip was ice skating on Lake Dunmore and we’re still ice skating in Alaska. The last time we skated was just last winter, but so what do you say to the kids? It was just, it was too much. And it was a terrible assignment in the first place and I was failing very badly. And finally she said to me, look, Heather give me three words, just give us something. It’s just not that big a deal. And so I kind of just blurted out find the good. ‘Cause I figured that’s something I do when I write obituaries. As Meg said the obituaries for the local paper here in Haines. You know, when I go into a home where people are grieving a recent death and I have to start asking questions about the the life of the person that died, it’s hard. And so before I go in, I always say to myself, well, it’s good that I’m here. It’s good that I’m the one walking in here and then I try to make it so. Do something that will at least not make it worse, right? And then I talked to them and when I’m talking to them the whole time, my focus is on how can I help them to remember the good stories? The things that made the the person who’s passed, someone that they loved, that they’ll miss, what that person loved, what they loved about them. And so I figured that same kind of focus, that same attention, that same practice. Is also something that if my grandchildren did that or if anybody does that, it’ll lead to all the kinds of things that I’d like them to have. The big picture would fix the specifics so to speak. Anyway, so I ended up calling the book. Actually, I wanted to call the book, finding the good because I’m not necessarily that great at declarative for sure, but find the good it is. And this is the last chapter of it. And I think this will explain a lot about where I live and what I do and why I think it’s important to share these stories. So I hope it’s okay to read a story here but it’s called Make Your Own Good Weather. And that’s saying that a friend of mine used to use to say and he died skiing on Chilkoot Lake is his heart stopped and he died on a beautiful warm spring skiing kind of a day. But he always used to say if you want good weather make your own high pressure system. And that fits from Vermont to Alaska to wherever you are, I think. Anyway so that’s where the title comes from. And here’s the story. And I think is a good example of the kind of the work that I do and also the stories that I think are important to share. “My husband is reading a book “about a man adrift in a life draft, “which got us talking about “being stranded on a desert island. “Chip asked if I could only bring five things “to eat on the island, what would they be? “I said, coffee, cream, raspberries, “brown rice, and red wine. “Pretty soon we were choosing what device, “which author and which musician “we would need to to have along with us “to survive the ordeal emotionally. “I said, my phone, Mary Oliver, “or maybe Emily Dickinson and book. “You never listened to classical music. “Chip pointed out. “You like country songs. “This would be an opportunity for growth I said, “thinking that I should also expand my appreciation “for poets beyond new England women. “Then he inquired in his logical left brain way. “How would I charge the phone? “I started to say, that’s not the point. “This is just pretend. “I mean, don’t those phones have “GPS tracking systems anyway, “instead sounding snippier than I intended. “I said, can I pack a little more and stay for six weeks? “It was almost 10 and I was tired. “My days and nights have been revolving “around a 17-month-old. “Our granddaughter Lonnie is staying with us temporarily. “Her parents are an Anchorage 800 miles away “waiting for her little sister to arrive. “Labor began a week ago, too early at 33 weeks. “It has stopped now “but doctors are doing their best to keep the baby “inside the womb and Stoli near “the neonatal intensive care unit “for at least three more weeks.” We don’t have a hospital in Haines and even in a Juneau, there’s no neonatal intensive care. So it’s Anchorage or Seattle if something like this happens. “It could be a longer stay “because term is about 40 weeks. “Today Lonnie’s cousins, Ivy and Caroline “spent the afternoon with us. “The floor is sticky, “there’s a pack and play in the living room “a high chair in the kitchen, “and I’ve sprained my ankle again stepping on a block. “The dog Pearl is having a grand time “pulling the stuffing out of a plush moss. “It’s also mid-August, one of the busiest months “and Chip’s busiest season. “From April to September, “my husband’s lumberyard “earns our family’s income for the year. “So he can’t help out as much as he’d like. “If anyone dies right now “someone else may have to write the obituary. “It’s impossible to type with a child on my lap. “I’ve tried, but I’m singing a lot “Lonnie likes row, row, row your boat. “It’s a fine tune. “My plan is to distract her “into forgetting her fear of water. “She is filthy. “We dug potatoes today. “Lonnie cheered each time we found one “and then she dropped it in our pail. “She was so impressed by this ordinary wonder “that I furtively rebury the spuds I found “so she could pull them from the soil herself. “Afterward when she refused to sit in the bath water, “even with the song, “and I worried she’d slip and fall “standing in the soapy tub. “I stripped down and climbed in with her “to her surprise and mine, it worked. “I had to dry and dress her first “so she wouldn’t catch a cold. “And before I know how it happened “I found myself standing at the desk “turn changing table and the den turned nursery naked. “Thank God my life is not a reality TV show. “Even though my over arching guideline “for grandchild care is would I want their mothers “to see this on videotape? “I have since hung a robe in the bathroom, “I’m caring for this baby with every fiber of my being, “hoping that by keeping little Lonnie safe, “healthy, and content, “the sun will shine on her mother and her soon to be sister. “we opened Lonnie’s curtains each morning. “And know if it is fair or stormy, clear or foggy. “If the tide is high or low “I tell her there’s no such thing as bad weather. “Thanks to her rain gear and rubber boots. “We listened for the roosters and pearls “jingling collar tags. “We never watch cartoons. “We stare at the drifting clouds, “the waves and the ants in the sand.” “There’s a lot of ants. “It was just one walking right across the wall behind you “we’re on the beach. “We read stories. “Lonnie won’t sleep at night without “Good Night Moon.” “The story reminds me of an obituary “I wrote for a 20-year-old who died of complications “from congenital cerebral palsy. “Jeremy talked with a voice output device “by dialing up digital recordings of sentiments “he wished to express. “The school superintendent recorded. “Hey dude, step aside, I’m coming through. “And Jeremy replayed it as he guided “his motorized wheelchair down the hallway between classes. “Jeremy had a terrific outlook on life, “the superintendent told me. “He was certainly a great example for all of us he said, “when Jeremy died his mother was so devastated “that she could not speak to me. “She requested that we correspond in writing “for the obituary. “I slipped my initial questions through her vestibule door. “How did he die? “I wrote. “She wrote back, the cat came and clawed at my bed. “I woke up out of a dream “in which I was reading Goodnight Moon to Jeremy. “Got up, stoke the wood stove went to check on Jeremy. “He had just departed. “Goodnight moon and sun and stars. “My last note from Sherry about Jeremy “arrived after the obituary had been published. “She thanked me for exchanging notes the past week or so “Heather, you were part of this too, she wrote. “She wrote this, but I read life, love, loss, us. “This is why I insist on finding the good “because I know some truths “which had been shared with me “by people at their most vulnerable “when their hearts are so exposed and raw “that it takes all their energy to compose a few lines “and pass a note under a closed door “into my waiting hand. “As an obituary writer, “it’s my job to be part of Jeremy’s death “and to help his mother remember her son’s life. “But as a human being “I know that once hands are classed, “it doesn’t matter who did the reaching and who responded. “The comfort is in the pressure of Palm on Palm “of heart to heart. “The same day our daughter, “the same day our daughter and her husband announced “that the child who would be called Caroline “my first grandchild was on the way. “I met with the family of a teenager “who had drowned while canoeing. “It was mother’s day. “The parents had split up a few months earlier “and the boy’s mother was moving away. “The father sat on the couch “holding his new girlfriend’s hand. “The living room was full of boxes, “filled with clothes and household items “and sacks for the salvation army and the dump. “Photos of the son were scattered across the table “and were being selected by his sister “for a poster at the memorial service. “Each time I asked a question, “either the father answered “and the mother contradicted him “or the mother answered and the father said, “no, that wasn’t correct. “I don’t think they even agreed on his date of birth. “My questions became shorter, “their answers briefer. “Then it was quiet. “I’d only been there about 20 minutes “but I stood up to leave saying I was so sorry again. “That’s when and a silver haired old woman “came from the kitchen with mugs of tea “and a plate of cookies “and insisted I stay. “Everyone sipped and crunched. “Then the old woman said, the boy had played the piano, “that he had a dog and parents nodded and wept “and remembered enough to fill obituary. “This is what I do. “Rocking Lonnie back to sleep at 2:00 AM. “I feel her heart beating against mine, “recall my own baby’s snuffling warmth, “and I’m hit by a blue wave. “The undertone of time is strong. “I’ll never float this way again. “Neither will any of us, “it’s make believe at all, is it? “So what are you planning to take “on your one-way trip to the desert island? “Who do you want rowing with you in that life raft? “I know I don’t wanna be cast away “with someone who talks all day long “about the hazards of falling overboard “eating raw fish and skin cancer, “who asks why didn’t you pack sunscreen instead of red wine “that will not be helpful. “There’s a reason the band continued to play “as the Titanic sank. “And I think it has been much maligned. “I hope that when my time comes “I can go down with the horn section swinging. “Also, I’ve decided that wherever I’m going from here “I’d really rather not be in an open raft on an endless sea “even with plenty of coffee and raspberries. “Is it okay if I change the raft “to my grandmother’s dream boat of a vintage Chrysler “there are wide bench seats “along with plenty of leg room “and an AM radio with the baseball game on “she was a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. “I’ve already got the window rolled down “and I’m pointing out all the good things “I can see from here. “And I’m not driving, “something bigger than me is steering this rig. “Pearl is on the floor “with her soft head and a grandchild’s lap, “I’m wedged in the back too. “I made the car seats singing “about the big rock candy mountain, “changing cigarette trees to cinnamon trees “and just one more gray hair away “from ditching my baseball cap and backpack “and buying a wide brimmed red straw hat “and matching alligator bag, “which I will stock with dog and teething biscuits, “bright, shiny objects of distraction “curiously strong peppermints, “and a huge first aid kit. “If I were to die tomorrow “would my grandchildren recall anything “I’ve shown them about love and happiness. “Would they even know what find the good means? “They’re too young for me to explain that yet, “but I wonder, I wonder if somewhere inside their brand new “silly putty hearts “there’s an imprint of what I wish for them “that will endure. “Maybe that’s a lot to ask. “It is plenty good that one loves the stars “in the night sky. “The other pulls open the curtains and greets the day “as soon as she wakes. “And a third has learned to unlatch the gate “and run ahead of me to the ocean. “Even if they won’t recall one funny line “from a story we read together “or that warm egg we carried so carefully from the chicken coop to the kitchen. “I bet they’ll remember the fake front tooth “that is our little secret. “And now it’s everyone’s little secret. “This is something strange about the work that I do. “my sisters have never seen me smile without it. “And don’t worry you’re not gonna either, “but when I pop it out it does make all the babies laugh. “And though I wish I still had the original tooth. “What’s not good about that. “So I will wake up early to work while the house is quiet. “When baby Lonnie calls from her crib “I’ll help her let the morning sun in singing. ♪ Oh, what a beautiful morning ♪ ♪ Oh, what a beautiful day ♪ “I will change her diaper “and find a dress her mother packed for her. “It’s just you and me kid I’ll say as I pin back “her curly black hair “and to the dog out of the diaper pail. “Looking for the good, maybe part nature, “but it can be nurtured. “I believe that with my whole heart “I’ve learned it by writing obituaries, “raising a family and living in a small town. “Find the good, praise the good and do good “because you were still able to. “And because what moves your heart “will remain long after you’re gone “and turn up in the most unexpected places. “Maybe even clutch tightly in the dirty little hand “of a child running along an Alaskan beach. “Everyone has heard of hearts turning to stone “but stones can turn into hearts too. “I know because I’ve gratefully accepted “those heart-shaped rocks, “dusted them off, put them in my pocket “and carried them home.” So thanks. And I guess now maybe we’re gonna answer some questions.

- Yup, here we are Heather.

- Hi Annie.

- Hi,

- Thank you very much for being here. Thanks for doing this.

- Yeah, no problem. No problem. So there’s a couple of questions on here. Someone wants to know if you really write on that typewriter that’s next to you and where do we get the new ribbons?

- This typewriter right here is, I’ve got a couple of them but this one, I don’t write like books on it, but I I like to write notes on it. I like to write letters on it. My grandkids like to play. This is a reconditioned Olivetti Lettera 32. So it was made in like 1960, somewhere around 63, I think. And it came from a guy named Mr. Typewriter, Dan Puls is his name in Missouri and he’s very eccentric. And he also sends ribbons for it. He’s got everything. If you Google Mr. Typewriter, you can find anything you wanna know. But be aware it’s addictive. I think I have five now That’s great.

- I got two from him. That’s great.

- But they’re really fun to write on and I like to write little haikus on them. I just… it’s just cool. I like it.

- That’s great. That’s great. That’s great. There’s another question from Robert Bossy. I’m sorry for pronouncing your last name wrong. It says Heather small town Vermont, small town Alaska. Have you had a big city experience? If so, how did it go from fellow Hepburn freshmen and fellow Mary Oliver?

- Well, I guess big city experiences. I don’t know quite how to go there. I mean, I grew up on Long Island and so I’ve spent time in Manhattan, in New York. I get to go to Anchorage sometimes which we can sort of consider a big city. One of my daughters took me to to Florence and to Venice and to Rome a couple of years ago. So I’ve had that big city experience. So I guess even though I live in a small place, I can do the big city. And probably because I just assume that people are pretty nice wherever we are. I don’t know if that answered the question but don’t spent a lot of time in big cities ‘cause basically I don’t have the clothes for it.

- Right, well it kind of leads into a question you and I talked about it seems like your books living in Alaska is part of your much of your inspiration for your books. And do you think you would still be a writer if you were say still living in New Jersey or on Long Island?

- I’ve thought about that a lot. I mean, cause I’m so inspired by this life and maybe ‘cause it was new to me, I was like, I gotta tell you about this, but I think probably so. And I actually think it might’ve come out of my Middlebury experience because I took this acting class, theater class, and we had to walk around the room. And the first day everybody was walking around the room there might have been, I don’t know, 30 people in this class and we’re walking around and the professor said, stop. And then he said, how many women, how many men? Who’s wearing sneakers? What are the colors of the person standing to your… What are the colors of the clothing on the person in front of you and behind you? But your eyes would have to be shut now. And it’s like, I didn’t know. I’m like nobody in the room did we were also in sorbed in ourselves. And then after that, he just, he said pay attention, pay attention all the time ears drops on conversations, watch what’s going on around you, watch what’s happening out the window, listen to sights and sounds. And that’s what I do. I mean, that’s what writers do. Like look for the stories everywhere is kind of what happened. And so I’d like to think that I hope I would be. The one blessing of being in Haines was that I really couldn’t get another job except working in a lumberyard. So it was a natural thing to be able to do from home.

- Right, and so one of the questions I’m gonna sort of morph into a bigger question was how did you start writing the obituaries, which you talked about a little bit, but can you tell us a little bit about how you started your writing and you’re a little bit of your process?

- Yeah, I started writing cause again, this sort of goes back to Middlebury ‘cause I volunteered a little bit at WMC at Middlebury just ripping and reading the old AP wire. And when we moved to Haines I walked over and thought I could volunteer at the radio station here. And I ended up working there. And as part of that, they asked me to do these little sort of slice of life commentaries on Friday afternoon. So that the news department, the guy, one person news department, didn’t have to work too hard on the weekend and there’d be at least something on Monday morning. And so I started writing those and then those went like statewide and farther away. And eventually ended up with a book an editor at Algonquin heard one and then called me up. So that way that was… but then concurrently the Anchorage Daily News I ended up writing a column for them ‘cause they had heard some of these. And then the local paper, a woman wrote a little column called “Duly Noted.” You know, like the social column like Heather Lende got an award at Middlebury, whatever. Maybe it’ll be a bigger news than that but that kind of thing. And with bold face names, preschool sale, the softball scores, whatever, and her husband died and I made the mistake or had the good fortune to say, what can I do for you? And she handed me her little notebook and she said, here you can write duly noted. So I started writing duly noted for the paper and then a friend of mine’s mom was dying and she was old and knew she was dying and was very opinionated. And she didn’t like a new reporter that they’d hired at the paper. I mean, this is an eight page paper, a weekly circulation to thousands, one reporter if somebody doesn’t like them, they’re in trouble. So anyway, she didn’t like it. And so then the editor said, well, Heather you write about live people, you can write about dead people. So that was my first obituary. And then nobody else really wanted to do them and the obituaries and the valley news are like, profiles a little bit. They’re kind of a hybrid of obituary form, normal stuff, survive bys and proceeded in death. And this is when the services and quotes about, the person’s life from their friends and neighbors. And so I don’t write them all the paper does a lot. I’m trying actually to write less now of them cause it’s just too hard. There’s just too many people that I’ve written and someone else needs to learn how to do it. And it’s not really the writing, it’s the, like that story that I read, it’s the it’s the experience of doing it and the relationships and what you learn about life and important things-

- Right.

- So that’s kinda how I ended up writing. And the most, I just I wrote an obituary I think the most recent one was two weeks ago. So I’m still doing that as well, but it’s really those I mean, that it really influenced my whole world. I mean, like it would for anybody, you all know that when you go to a funeral, you’ll leave and think, wow, I know I either I wish I knew that person or I admired what they were saying, or, gosh I don’t have much time. I better go home and love my children and quit, working so hard or whatever it is. I mean, that happens to me like once a month. And so it kind of, I mean, there’d be something wrong with me if I didn’t look at the world different.

- Right, and it’s a small town, I mean you live in a town of like 2,500 people. So you like, know everybody.

- Yeah, you either know them. I mean, they’re personal friends or their parents or children, God forbid friends, but you know who they are anyway, always.

- Right. So Linda Feldman sent question early before we started this. And she says as I recall, Heather got hit by a truck or some equally large vehicle and live to tell the tale thankfully, how has that experience affected your life in your writing service since after the physical healing, she says, I hope you fully recovered. So that was an I’ve read all of Heather’s books. And that was in “Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs” where you also talk about the passing of your mom. But we talked a little bit about this before everybody came on, but can you talk about that bike accident? Yeah, I mean, I’m still riding my bike and actually this morning I was a little nervous cause this was coming up today. And so this morning, Chip and I were riding our bikes. We still ride every morning, rode bikes. We rode 30 miles this morning and six o’clock in the morning we were coming home and Kevin shoved the guy who ran me over, was turning. He was turning and that’s kind of what happened. How I got run over. It was, but he waited and we went by and it was still on the same truck that he ran me over with. And then Chip turned to me and said, well, today is gonna be good. Kevin, didn’t run you over this time. I know, it sounds like now it can be funny. It was-

- I know probably wasn’t funny.

- No and it was actually, I think it was very formative because what happened was I was hit by this truck by Kevin, who I know the managers of grocery stores, total accident, broad daylight. He stopped at a stop sign. I was coming down a hill, just tootling near my house. I wasn’t riding fast. I was on my way to go for a bike ride, kind of the little warm up through the neighborhood. And I was coming down and he looked at a stop sign looked both ways either didn’t see me or thought I could go in front of me. And I tried to stop and I went under the truck and it ran me over. It’s Chevy three quarter ton pickup truck. And broke my pelvis and had a bunch of other injuries. And medivac to Seattle, like I said we didn’t have a hospital, took about a year to really be back on, you know, we’ll walk again. Another maybe year and a half before I wrote a bike again, my kids still aren’t so sure that I should ride a bike, but I love it. And it changed me hugely because first of all it happened a month before if you lived here my first book came out. So I thought oh, I’m like on top of the world, I’m publishing a book. I’m a big shot. This is gonna be great. My life’s gonna change. And I got the first copy of the book in a nursing home in Seattle where I had to stay ‘cause I couldn’t move for 12 weeks. And then there was this long rehab. And so I didn’t have the book tour, I didn’t have any of it. It was like, I hardly, I was on morphine the whole time that was all happening. And so then I was kind of afraid what would happen when the next book came out? And I mean, even this time that “Bears and Ballots” came out during COVID, a year ago. So it’s made me not lean so much on those externals ‘cause I’m never quite sure if it’s good or are not good. And it also of course made me when I was 45 and running marathons and riding all the time and had these kids, these five kids and was living this great life, I thought I was like invincible. And then something like that happens and you just realized God, all kinds of things happen to all kinds of people. And we’re really like all a step away from the emergency room rather proverbially or metaphorically. And the other thing that made me realize was that mine was so public and it was so outward and yet, Oh, so many people have really much tougher things happen to them that is inside. A child in jail or, a cancer or a debilitating illness that they know is degenerative that they don’t really wanna talk about, depression. You know, you have all these things that people have that aren’t as open as being hit by a truck and recovering so publicly. And I just changed me. I mean, I became much nicer. We’re grateful, empathetic. I slowed down a lot in terms of working that hard and always trying to kind of, I had more time. I think it changed my family because my children all stayed relatively close ‘cause there was, two were in college and three were in a high school and junior high when it happened. And so there was that like, wow, that can happen to mom it can happen to anybody and just, you know there but for the grace of God go all of us. So that was a big thing for me. And as it should be. I mean, as any facing your immortality, that brush death is big and how do you wanna live? And of course, as time went by I’m not as focused as I was the first few years on changing everything, but it did definitely change me and it changed my writing. I think more vulnerable, less sure of everything.

- Well, and you had to go, I read in the book you talked about how it was Thanksgiving and you had to go to the grocery store and get a Turkey. And it was the only the grocery store that had the Turkey.

- It was where Kevin worked

- And there was, there were some older woman, if I remember correctly, who just said, Heather, just go to the grocery store and get the Turkey, and it was like you didn’t have to do that stuff.

- And I was pretending like we could just have pizza and we pretend this is our new thing. It’s like, really? I just didn’t wanna see Kevin. And it wasn’t his fault. I just didn’t wanna be reminded again. And there still that PTSD but yeah, he just said just do it, just go in. And then of course, when I went in and he saw me and like he hugged me and then he’s like, how are you? How are the broken bones? I was just like, but those are all lessons and forgiveness, humility small town connections, everything’s right in your face all the time.

- Right, so you began this with a land acknowledgement which I think is really important. I mean, where I live in Connecticut it’s often done the same way ‘cause we’re with the and then I’m trying to figure out how to add… So you live in a small community that has a strong Alaska native presence. And then you also wrote this book Of Bears and Ballots which is a lot centered around politics and small town and the election. And was there a difference between the Alaska native community and the small town of how that book was presented or your struggles with the sort of local politics? Or is it divisive or is it just a small town politics doesn’t matter.

- Well, both you know, I think a lot of the events of the last year, the discussions of inequity, of historical trauma, of race have have kind of changed at least the way a lot of white privileged people feel about even the stories that we tell ourselves, like in our community it’s always the stories is always oh, the local natives that gave the Presbyterians the town site, you know when you think now I was like, Hmm, probably not so much. And then the stories now that, the horrific stories that are coming out about the native boarding schools that we know here, I mean, I’ve written obituaries for people who were in those schools. And there was one in Haines and the local former sort of local myth was that, oh, this was a good thing in some ways but native people will say, no, that’s not true. So the local politics so in Haines it’s mixed. I mean, our mayor was for many years in Alaska native woman. So there’s usually a Alaska native on the assembly or more, or people that are part native. And so there’s a blend there, but there’s still ways to go in terms of reconciliation and even doing the land acknowledgement. I do it, but it’s not done at Burleigh assembly meetings or at public events in Haines yet. It is an Anchorage and bigger towns, but here it isn’t. And you can only think, well, why is that? And the answer probably isn’t a good one even though from a distance, we all look very blended. And for instance, even one of my daughters is married to an Alaska native man. I have native grandchildren. My sister is, my niece is a tribal enrollee. So there’s a blend, but there’s also some historical trauma and inequities that need to be addressed. And the local politics are part of that. Cause we have several governments, we have the Haines borough assembly, but then we have the Chilkoot Indian association the and then the Chilkat Indian village. And some of those times they’re not always in sync. For instance, there’s a mining issue here where the Chilkat Indian village is absolutely opposed.

- Right.

- And yet the, the government of the Haines borough, it’s a very divisive issue.

- Yeah.

- it’s not, they’re not necessarily… They’re not siding with the village and they might sometime, but it’s a fight and that’s too bad.

- Well, when we spoke last summer about when we talked about this book on a on a zoom author call with you, I brought up also the whole pebble mine issue, which is people coming in wanting to mine in crystal bay and these native lands. And anyway, we could go on forever but I’m gonna wrap this up with one sort of last question that people who are on might be interested is just what kind of advice do you have for any aspiring writers or people who feel like they have a story and then that they want to tell from your experience do you have any words of wisdom for that?

- Yeah, do it. I mean, have courage, I think that’s… it takes courage to tell the story and that’s sometimes hard to come by. The courage and the confidence in one way I do it, and it might be why my writing often sounds personal to one person is when in doubt I’m telling my story to someone who thinks I’m terrific. That really likes me, that I know wants to hear the story. when I’m writing in my head and when I’m at my desk, I’m not talking to my critics. If I did, I would never be able to write a word if I did that. And so I think, and that’s a really, it’s a neat trick if you know, think very specifically about who you’re telling the story to and know that they’re gonna like it, they’re gonna be glad you told it. They wanna hear it and that will help you to at least generate the material. And then after that, it’s just a lot of work. Just reading it out loud, editing it, perseverance, I think in many ways, people like you, or like me or like teachers at Middlebury, it’s up to us to realize that people whose voices might not being recognized or heard to encourage that, to be very careful about saying things well, that’s not how you write an essay. It has to be this and this and this where culturally or community or appropriately that might not be the way they write or tell a story. And I think in the past a lot of times then people have been shut down by that and instead lift it up and say, Hey, that’s a cool way to tell a story. Let’s do it this way, go ahead

- Right.

- Or this is a book I’m gonna put in the front of the store, you know? Okay, It’s, self-published, it’s not from anywhere, but I like it and we’re holding it up and good on you write another one.

- Right, and I think in this time, there’s a lot of voices from Black Lives Matter that are coming out that have been suppressed. And also with the Me Too movement that you’re kind of writing as a woman is also giving other women a way to tell their story and the courage and the strength to tell their own story. You know, it’s just, oh, Heather told this story, you know these very personal stories but I need to tell my story and whatever the story is, it’s your story. It’s important to be told, so-

- And absolutely. And to also, you know, and this is a weird thing about this that probably most readers know, but the oddest thing happens that the more personally you are the more you the more it connects on a heart to heart level. And so I would avoid any of the trying to explain or whatever, just go right in and then people will understand you and that will change the world. It’s true. I mean it does like one person at a time, one book at a time.

- Yeah, yeah. Well hope you’ll be able to change the world of some people, hopefully more and more people, but-

- If I can do it anybody can.

- Yeah, well, I’ve read all your books and I’ve enjoyed them all. And I actually painted or stenciled find the good in our house in Vermont, just because I love that book. And I love that just find the good, you know, it’s like, duh I mean, you know, you just find the good in people and it makes your outlook on life just be that much more positive. So thank you, Heather. I think we’re gonna wrap this up. Meg just joined in, but you know, this is great. So thank you for including me.

- Well, that was incredible. Thank you, Heather so much. What a treat for you to read to us you could have gone on for another four hours. I would have just sat here listening. And I did like Goodnight Moon too but this was really great. So again, thank you and congratulations. And Annie, I wanna thank you for doing such a great job with the making it very, very, a really fun conversation and the questions from the audience were really, really drew you out even further Heather, so again, thank you. Thank you to everyone. We have another event tomorrow at 12:30 for achievement. So I hope a lot of you can join us. And my big takeaways are obviously find the good make your own good weather, and wear your bike helmet. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- Wear your helmet.

- All right, good night, everyone.

- All right, thanks everybody, yep.

- Bye.

- Bye.

- Thank you very much.

- Yep, bye.

Shabana Basij-Rasikh ’11 Achievement Talk

- We’re gonna get started with this Young Alumni Achievement Award with Shabana Basij-Rasikh Class of 2011. And I just wanna say welcome, Shabana. It’s great to see you, great to be able to honor you today. And I also wanna welcome Janine Hetherington Class of ‘95, and parent to James who’s Class of 2024. Janine is the President of the Middlebury Alumni Association Board. And she will be interviewing Shabana and then we’ll go into a Q&A. And so please, if you look down on your Zoom controls, use the Q&A feature and submit questions at any time. We’ve had chat going for a little bit. We’re gonna turn that off to just sort of minimize the distractions and just really rely on the Q&A which you’ll see in your Zoom control. You’ll also notice that live transcript close captioning is turned on. You can control that on your end whether you want to see the subtitles or not. So please do as you please there. And I want to point out that we do have another Reunion Week event today. It’s tonight at 7:30 eastern time. And it’s our Moth Story Hour moderated by a true Moth pro, Casey Donahue Class of 2010.5, and she will be working with six incredible alumni who’ve joined to tell their stories. So that’s at 7:30 tonight. I just wanna make that plug. So I think I’m ready to turn it over. Oh, I should say I’m Meg Storey Groves, AVP for Alumni and Parent Programs at Middlebury, Class of ‘85. Sorry, I should have said that in the beginning. Anyways, I’m gonna now turn it over to Janine, and she’s gonna start with reading the citation for Shabana for the Young Alumni Achievement Award. Thank you.

- Thank you very much, Meg. Shabana, assalamu alaikum. It is an honor and a true pleasure to present this award to you. So I’m gonna start. The 2021 Young Alumni Achievement Award for Shabana Basij-Rasikh Class of 2011. In 2008, while still a teenager and student at Middlebury, Shabana Basij-Rasikh founded a school for girls in her hometown of Kabul, Afghanistan. Today the School of Leadership, Afghanistan, or SOLA meaning peace in Pashto, is an Afghan-led private boarding school for girls, the first of its kind in Afghanistan. SOLA’s mission is to provide Afghan girls with a rigorous education that promotes critical thinking, a sense of purpose, and respect for self and others. Shabana’s determination to create opportunities for girls grew out of her own experience as a child. In 1996 the Taliban banned girls’ education and any movement by girls without a chaperone, and soon secret schools for girls began to open. Shabana, dressed as a boy, and her sister risked their lives daily as they walked Kabul streets to one of these schools. Shabana has never forgotten what her father told her during those years, “You can lose everything you own in your life,” he said, “but the one thing that will always remain with you is what’s in your head. Your education is the biggest investment of your life.” Today as president of SOLA, Shabana is creating paths for others to invest in their own education. SOLA enrolls nearly 100 students in pre through sixth grade middle school and high school programs. And ultimately the school aims to empower students to return to their communities, to break down the barriers to women’s visibility and to lead Afghanistan into a prosperous and peaceful future. “The most effective antidote to extremism is to create the best educated generation in Afghanistan’s history,” Shabana says. “Our girls today, who are the women of tomorrow, will make that happen.” Shabana knows the need is great, in Afghanistan 66 percent of girls ages 12 to 15 are out of school. 63 percent of adolescent girls are illiterate, and there are not enough women teachers, and girls are at risk of violent assault as they walk to school every day. Since Middlebury, Shabana has received a Masters in Public Policy from Oxford University, and Honorary Degrees from SOAS University of London and Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania. She was named one of CNN International’s Leading Women of 2014, and a National Geographic 2014 Emerging Explorer. Shabana is a global ambassador for Girl Rising, a call to action seeking investment in girls’ education worldwide. In 2018, she received the Malalai Medal, one of Afghanistan’s highest national honors, and in 2019, she was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in the social entrepreneurship sector. The Middlebury Alumni Association Alumni Achievement Award is presented to Shabana Basij-Rasikh in recognition of her personal achievements and the outstanding contribution she has made to her country. Her distinguished accomplishments bring great credit to the college, we are so proud. Congratulations Shabana.

- Thank you so much, Janine, thank you.

- You are welcome. And I have one more message. President Patton couldn’t be with us today although she very much wanted to be, so she asked me to read a greeting to you as well. She says, “Shabana I send you my very best wishes and congratulations on being selected for the Alumni Achievement Award. It is a joy to see you recognized. I’m grateful for your ongoing commitment to Middlebury in the midst of all you are accomplishing in Afghanistan, and particularly for the opportunity you created for our bold scholars to mentor and learn from your students. Alumni may not be aware, but Middlebury is a host institution of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, which seeks to address challenging social issues by building women’s leadership on college campuses. Shabana through SOLA, you too are creating change one young woman at a time. Thank you for your vision, your dedication and your courage.” That’s from Laurie.

- That’s very, very kind. Please do pass my sincere gratitude to her for her kind words as well.

- Absolutely. So I’m so happy to be here with you today. We go back a long time. I first met you when you were still in high school, and I remember being struck back then by your poise and grace, and your conviction and confidence, and I also remember thinking, “This girl is going to change the world.” So I wanted to thank you for proving me right, because at a very young age you started doing that early and you continue to do that now.

- Thank you.

- I have a bunch of questions that I’d like to ask you so we can get to know you and get to know your work, and once we get through some of those then we will open it up to audience Q&A. So sound good?

- Great, sounds great.

- Are you ready?

- But before you start, I do wanna thank you. I do remember your words of wisdom but also your encouragement even when I was in high school. I hope you understand that people like you, and especially you Janine, have had a great impact on shaping me and who I’ve become. So thank you for that. And knowing that it always came from you, I think I’ve picked up a love for reading because you always surrounded yourself with books and always talked about how much you loved reading books. So thank you for that.

- You are very welcome. Okay, so today is June 10th, 2021. We’re all gathered here virtually for a 10 year reunion, we wish we could be on campus, but happy to be celebrating in the Zoom room. With that in mind Shabana, can you take me back 10 years and tell us what you were doing on June 10th of 2011?

- I think I was sleeping or rather catching up on sleep. I had such an incredible four years at Middlebury, and especially my senior year was incredibly intense with both my studies, writing theses, and helping my siblings get into high school and college in the US. And just generally, my co-founder and I were thinking about the trajectory of SOLA at that time as focus was slowly shifting away from Afghanistan to Iraq at that time more and more, and what that meant for SOLA as an organization. And I was actively raising funds to build a school in my father’s village in Eastern Afghanistan. So there was a lot going on leading up to June, 2011, and I think it took me a good month to recover. It was graduation where I really needed to rest. So I think that’s most likely what I was doing. It wasn’t something grand, it was simply catching up on sleep.

- It certainly sounds like you’re from a lot of grand things and grand plans. So you created SOLA when you were a freshmen at Middlebury, can you take us through how that happened, and then maybe more importantly, why it happened?

- Absolutely. Janine, you know, you and I have been in touch and you have most likely heard me talk about that really key role Middlebury and my involvement as a member of the communities played in the shaping of SOLA and even the creation of SOLA. And I think it’s a couple of things, and for me, being at Middlebury as a freshman was kind of the last straw that led to the creation of SOLA. But two events in my life that I… actually three, third one being a freshmen at Middlebury, the two prior to that was March, 2002, when I found myself attending a public school in Kabul for the first time ever. And this was immediately after 9/11 girls were able to go back to school, not start school for the first time, but go back to school. And because the Taliban had burned records for female students, it meant the only choice girls had were to take a placement test. And a lot of girls poured into the closest public school near them and took a placement test into whatever grade they felt comfortable placing into. When the class assignments were done and all the clusters were put together, and they decided to assign students who had scored the highest in these exams, especially in science and math, to become class representatives, and I was chosen as one. So they were making these announcements in front of all the students to introduce the class representatives. And it was key in the beginning, because the schools were still trying to recruit teachers, especially female teachers, so there were several hours in our day when we wouldn’t have a teacher show up and so we had to really figure it out, and often the responsibility was on the class representative to lead a class session. And when my teacher called my name and I went to the front of the line, I for the first time recognized what my parents had done for me under the Taliban regime, which was the risk they took to educate me and my sisters. During most of that time I thought my parents were unkind, I thought they were cruel, and how could they risk our lives just for an education. But that day when I stood there, I saw how the majority of my classmates were at least six years older than I was. And it was quite easy to see that difference. And that is when I realized how lucky I was, how fortunate I was, and what the risk that my parents took meant for me as a young Afghan girl. I felt very lucky, but I also felt so ashamed that I didn’t see the value sooner. And so that day I made a promise to myself that I was going to use my education to live a life of purpose, just the way my parents always preached to us. In all honesty, I never understood anything other than a life of purpose of being associated with education until I left Afghanistan and learned about the different reasons why people receive a certain kind of education and et cetera. But for me, it was always, you know, you receive an education in order to serve people who haven’t had the same access. Then my second kind of really pivotal moment in my life was when I was 15, and I came to the United States as a high school exchange student. And for the first time I found myself living in a society where girls didn’t have this looming threat over their heads that they were going to lose their access to education. And that was so beautiful. The way I experienced it, I kept on wanting to figure out at what point will these American girls that I came to know, share with me their fears that one day they will not be able to go to school, and that never happened. And so I found that so beautiful. I found it beautiful that girls could take their education for granted. And even at that young age, I knew that when Afghanistan gets to a place where girls don’t have this looming threat over their heads that they could lose their access to education, then we have made the kind of progress that can never be undone. And I wanted that progress for Afghanistan. So when I came to Middlebury, and my freshman year at that time, President Liebowitz during orientation, said something along the lines of how we were some of the luckiest people in the world to be at Middlebury, to be spending our next four years there, and how less than 2 or 3% of Americans have access to this level of education. And as I was sitting in the audience, I was starting to look around and see if other people were listening to this for the first time as I was. And everyone was quite normal. But for me it was like, “Oh my God, where am I? Where have I ended up? What is this place?” you know. I didn’t apply to Middlebury because of what Middlebury was, I applied to Middlebury at that time because my co-founder before we started SOLA together, he encouraged me very strongly that I apply to Middlebury, that it would be a perfect place for me, and that he knew me and he knew a place like Middlebury, and it would be a great place for me. So when I came to realize that, as you can imagine, I really couldn’t do the math for myself coming from Afghanistan. The UN published a report the same year that said only 6% of women in Afghanistan have a college degree. So I spent most of my freshman year of college feeling incredibly overwhelmed by how lucky I was to be there. I felt so privileged. I felt so lucky, but I also felt so guilty. And, you know, I had my advisors and professors, who I was very fortunate to be able to call by first name, who would say, you know, “Don’t think about this Shee, you know, you’re great and you deserve to be here.” But for me I couldn’t escape the questions, “What next? What do I do with this?” You know, “What if I fail? I’m not just gonna be failing me, I’m gonna be failing on behalf of Afghan women and Afghan girls, or any other person who didn’t get this chance that I did.” So I was constantly wrestling with that. And by the end of my freshman year, it felt really appropriate, and in a way I felt very happy to be doing something that, you know, I open access for other young girls to have the same kinds of opportunities like I did, and that felt great. And so the idea in the beginning behind SOLA, was to be a scholarship program and to bring young Afghan students to the US to at least study two, three years of high school before they go on to college and university and then go back to Afghanistan. But then we later evolved as an organization, which I’m happy to talk about, but that was really the beginning of why SOLA and why it was so important at that critical time.

- That’s so interesting that you first talk about your sense of purpose and understanding it at a very, very early age, but then naming being overwhelmed and a sense of guilt for having so much privilege as a motivator to give back and to do better and do more. And there’s an enormous weight of that to take on as a young person. So you did create SOLA while you were a freshmen, so we wanna know, tell us everything about SOLA. What do you do there? Who are your students? How has your mission evolved? Help us get to know the school and your community.

- Absolutely. I will quickly tell you about SOLA but I wanna focus a lot more on our students because the girls at SOLA, you know, without a shadow of doubt, they’re some of the bravest, funniest, smartest people, not just girls, I’ve ever met. And you will soon know and believe why. So, when we started SOLA, like I said, it was a scholarship program, but we transitioned it to a boarding school for several reasons. One, instead of sending young Afghans outside of Afghanistan to access quality education, we wanted to bring a quality education to Afghans in Afghanistan. And it felt very important that it was critical that young Afghans had access to quality education in their own home country. And that it was important that they spend their formative years in Afghanistan, which would mean that they would be more likely to return to Afghanistan and see a future and be part of a future in Afghanistan. So in the process of evolving SOLA from a scholarship program to a boarding school, which took us a few years, because it was very important to get it right, we realized that we were establishing the very first, and unfortunately still the only all-girls boarding school in the country. It took us a few years for several reasons, but one of the most important one was realizing that when initially we wanted to be a high school 9th-12th grade, girls coming to us from rural parts of Afghanistan, at ninth grade it was already too late. They were performing academically at an elementary school level. And we really couldn’t really say that we are a school open to students from all over the country and know how incredibly challenging it is going to be for ninth graders from provinces to study at SOLA. And honestly, in a way it reminded me of my own struggles. When I first came to Middlebury, I spent my first two months, this may surprise you, but I spent my first two months trying to encourage my advisor to help me take two years off from Middlebury so that I could go to a private school. Because I would look around and pretty much a lot of the international students that I met, with some exception, they went to this thing called UWC that I didn’t know about before. And a lot of the American students that I met they went to some sort of a private school, so I somehow convinced myself that I needed to get me that experience in order to do well at Middlebury. And, you know, fortunately with a lot of support, a small community, and being able to really connect with my professors easily, I had a great four years, but in the beginning I was incredibly overwhelmed, and I felt like I’d lacked a lot of academic foundation coming from a place like Afghanistan on top of it feeling so betrayed by the Afghan education system, because that system recognized me as the top and the best student in the country, and here I came to the US and I didn’t feel fully prepared. So I could relate to the to the pain in a way of students coming from provinces at ninth grade and not doing well. So we went through a strategic planning process at a board level and came to the decision that we wanted to start the SOLA experience at sixth grade level. This is a time when girls are roughly 10 to 12 years old, and in Afghanistan girls at this age are still seen as girls and not women. So it’s easier to convince their families to let them board. Academically, it allowed us time to address the student’s academic gaps before they reach high school, so that then we could pursue a world-class curriculum. And then, as you know it’s developmentally an exciting time to work with young girls, and especially young girls coming of age and at a time when they are told to lower their voice and hide and cover, and, you know, we engage in programs where they celebrate themselves and their bodies, and they’re participating in mandatory exercise hour, every day they do yoga, et cetera. And so we finally were able to admit our very first cohort in 2016, and those girls, the very first cohort, they’re currently finishing their first semester of 11th grade. And next year they will be our very first class that will graduate SOLA High School. So since then we have admitted a new cohort at SOLA. therefore we’ve gradually moved up. We have nearly 100 students representing 28 of the 34 provinces, which is huge, it is significant.

- That’s amazing. So that is about SOLA and SOLA’s evolution, but the girls and their families, they are truly remarkable. I have families who accept at the very least, some sort of negative commentary from neighbors or relatives or their villagers, for making the decision allowing their daughters to attend SOLA, fathers who stand up to that kind of comments. And in some severe cases, we’ve had fathers of our students who have nearly missed being killed by a bomb blast because they have allowed their daughter to go to Kabul to study. The girls themselves, they’re remarkable, they’re incredibly brave. I mean, even to this day as they move between Kabul and provinces, they pass through incredibly insecure areas, they pass through front lines of war between the Afghan security forces, and in some cases, the US security forces and the Taliban. And, you know, in other cases these girls make these trips on their own to come to SOLA. While most of their families are incredibly supportive especially fathers and brothers, we have students who go on hunger strikes to be allowed to come to SOLA, and this is stories that we hear later on about how do they get to SOLA, how do they hear about us, or how did they convince their families to let them come to SOLA? And I occasionally hear these stories of girls saying, “You know, once I was admitted, my father said, ‘No, you can’t go to Kabul to study.’ So I went on a hunger strike until he said, ‘Fine, you can go.’” And these are young girls, I’m talking about 10, 11, 12-year-olds who make these decisions. These girls… Oh, I think I need to stop because I can go on and on and tell you more and more stories. But please, if you have time at the end, ask me more, I will happily tell you more stories about what they do between their short breaks and long breaks in their communities. There are some remarkable stories there as well.

- So I’d love you to tell us that SOLA story. Can you share a story from campus that might surprise us? Although I think a lot of this might surprise us here in the audience, so.

- Oh yes. Well, actually one of the things I failed to mention which I should have at the very beginning, one thing that I have borrowed from Middlebury is the language pledge. So when our sixth graders join us, we give them a few weeks to get over homesickness and, you know, they’re from all over the country. You know, they have no prior examples in their families of anyone attending a boarding school. So it’s very new as an experience for them and their families. And so we give them a few weeks and then they sign a language pledge to speak English at all times in the residential campus. And what that does is it really… One, the girls come from different parts of Afghanistan so most often they don’t even have a common language, so it gives them a common language, it gives them a common challenge that is to learn to speak English. But it also accelerates their ability to access more quality education beyond what is available in Afghanistan. So by the end of their first year with us, so starting seventh grade, you know, they can pick up more, and by eighth grade they’re connected to e-tutors, these are virtual tutors that connect with our students and then starting in ninth grade they take a good portion of their classes which we license from US education companies here for algebra, for biology, for history, et cetera, and they do really well. But it also allows them to connect with classrooms across the US and across the world. And they engage in really meaningful discussions with students in the US and other countries, either on a more regular basis or on a one off conversations that they hold. And they do really remarkably well in this.

- Thank you. Okay, next question. The statistics on women’s achievements and progress in Afghanistan can seem pretty contradictory. For example, women hold 27% percent of the seats in Afghanistan’s parliament, which is the same percentage of seats held by women in the United States Congress, and yet we also see statistics that say three million girls are out of school, and that more than 60% of Afghan teenage girls are illiterate. So it seems like two very different stories. How do you make sense of those two narratives? What one might consider as progress at the national level and then the educational gap?

- Yeah, actually, that’s a great question. And something I get asked a lot about how do you make sense of this progress of Afghan woman that you want us to believe but there’s so much that still needs to be done. I think my quickest explanation is it’s very, very simple. When you create that space you just watch what women can and girls can do with the opportunities given to them, or in a way when you remove the hurdles that is placed in there. So when we initially had the chorus put in place for women to be able to take these representative seats in our parliament, in the very beginning, you had more and more people reminding us that we didn’t have qualified women filling up these positions. And now your female representatives in the Afghan parliament are some of the most active and outspoken representatives we have. And they’re not just speaking on behalf of girls and women but they are chairing the Security Committee, National Security Committee. They’re talking about economic opportunities for people, they’re talking about a meaningful and long lasting peace process. And not just one that is a political settlement for a short-term. And so that is one. And in a way similar to SOLA. At SOLA, I can’t take credit for the amazing girls that come to us. The only thing I take credit for is the space that we create for these girls to flourish into themselves. And they are remarkable, they’re brave. Some of them have quiet determination but it’s there, and it all speaks to once we are able to either create space or remove hurdles to allow women to create space for themselves and others, remarkable things happen. And that’s really the quickest and easiest explanation. The other one, which I hope will inspire you and everyone listening here is, it speaks to the resilience and the grit and determination of Afghan woman. And it’s not something to romanticize. It’s not something of the recent 20 or 40 years. It has been there historically. I always remind people, especially these days, that when I, you asked me what I was doing 10 years ago today, 20 years ago today, I was dressing up as a boy secretly entering someone’s house to study. And that brave woman, she decided to bring risk to her family and educate us. That education had a real cost to her and to her family, but she did it because she genuinely and strongly believe that educating girls was the right thing to do. And that tradition has carried forward. Even to this day. You have, you will not hear about the amazing woman the unsung heroes of Afghanistan, who and these are one particular woman that comes to mind who can be an example of thousands of other woman. Who’s a lawyer defending women’s cases who switches her phone number on weekly basis, but switches her home moves, from her home to another home every few months to avoid being killed. And yet she does not stop doing what she does. And so it’s simple. In the west, the misconception is that women and girls in Afghanistan don’t go to school because of traditional beliefs and religious beliefs. And they’re all there. You have people who believe that or who are misinformed about religion but the number one reason why girls don’t go to school is logistical in nature. It’s shortage of teacher and teachers but especially shortage of female teachers and lack of water and sanitation facilities in more than 60% of schools across our Afghanistan. So it’s important to keep that in mind, because once we simplify it to, yes, it is a logistical issue then we can actually engage and take action to try to solve it.

- So so you name the fact that you’re creating space, but I also think you take credit for. You’re also creating these role models. And for these, I know it, I think it’s very important for girls and other modular marginalized populations. If you can, you can be it. There’s something important about that. And so I imagine what these women who serve as representatives with the women who serve at SOLA as principal and teachers, and you as the leader that’s got to be inspiring as as role models for these really young girls.

- Hugely, I actually, we make an very strong effort to invite in young Afghan woman in government, in private sector but just prominent Afghan woman to come in. Artists were the first graffiti, first female graffiti artist has come into SOLA and spoken with our girls. Deputy Ministers of Education, who’ve come in to campus. And they have actually been connected to the students on a very human level. Talking about their own challenges of and opportunities that they have had and how they have dealt with them and connecting with our students. And it does that powerful thing of role modeling and also helping our students to recognize that they’re not alone. And that they’re part of a network of educated Afghan, soon to be, you know educated Afghan woman who fight for all of Afghanistan not just for girls and women. And it is hugely inspiring for our girls. They all come to us at the beginning of the sixth grade telling me that they wanna become a doctor. Even though when I press them that I know that’s what your parents want you to be but what do you want to be? They’re like I want to be what my parents want to want me to be. And then they often, after their first year with us you asked the same question and then we have the astronauts and the shoe designer and the parliamentarian and the photographer. And we have many, many of young girls who wanna be female presidents of Afghanistan. So yes, their dreams and aspirations also evolve. And yes, it is thanks to the role modeling and also the people who come in and speak with them. Afghan women, who they see and follow.

- Right, thank you. Okay, so you left for Middlebury and returned to Afghanistan in 2011 as a young, highly educated woman. And since then, you’ve earned master’s degree from Oxford, multiple honorary doctorates, and you are known around the world as an educator and an outspoken advocate for girl’s education and a social entrepreneur. How so, one in two things. How do Afghan men in general respond to a woman like you and how do Afghan women respond to a woman like yourself?

- Yeah, you know, I would only, I think it’s very fair that I speak very truthfully about my experience and it is my experience only. So it can be seen as my experience and there is a lot that could contribute to it. But it may come across as surprising that it’s a very favorably, you know. If there are any kind of a negative response maybe it’s the environment that I create or whatever it is. I don’t see it. But I have traveled across Afghanistan and I sit down in circles of religious men. I sit down with educated men with a lot of different groups of men, and they’re very respectful towards towards me and what I do and the unrecognized the fact that I could have stayed in the United States and turn my back on Afghanistan and lived a comfortable life but I’ve chosen to come back to Afghanistan. And a lot of them joined forces me, actually. I have several mullahs. These are religious Afghanistan men. When I go to provinces they accompany me from school to school, some of whose daughters are at SOLA studying and they advocate very, very openly about their daughters studying a SOLA and how great of an environment SOLA is and how important it is. So I also think that the fact that I am working in education, that probably helps. So that’s why I’m saying it’s a very personal experience. I can’t imagine let’s say what people’s experience would have been or how I would have been received by people in Afghanistan in general if I had a different profession. So that I have to keep in mind. And I want everyone listening to this keep in mind that it’s a very personal experience. And I also am personally very careful to make sure that I am well-received in Afghanistan so that it opens up opportunities for young girls. I always make an active effort on that because for me the most important thing is to be able to get open access for girls from the most conservative communities which is not easy for them to then get access to education. And in order for me to do that, I need to be, I need to come across as an Afghan educated woman, that opens doors, not closes doors. And so even my work of negotiating let’s say patriarchy is very much a negotiation from within not from outside. I don’t push back in a way that shuts conversations. I listen, and I try to respect and honor perspectives from the other side, which I may strongly disagree with but I don’t fixate on that. Instead, I try to listen and understand what is the issue and then work with it to. I guess to put it in a more of an example might be helpful. A few years ago, we admitted a student who was in eighth grade in a province but we told her that she needed to repeat sixth grade. We don’t admit students in any grade, but sixth grade. And in provinces, like I said because the quality of education is so terrible. It’s often, I mean, they wouldn’t be wasting time. They actually would be learning things they would be still challenged even if they repeat two grades. So at this particular student has a sister already studying at SOLA. So the family is familiar with us. But her uncle decided that she should not come to SOLA. And so the older sister came to me. She was initially happy that her sister had been admitted to SOLA, but then was crying that her uncle wouldn’t let the sister come in. These two sisters happened to be orphans. So the uncle is their legal guardian. And I said, “Let me speak with your uncle. I’ll talk to him.” And she said, “No, my uncle’s no is no. He’s never changed his mind once he says no.” And so she was just hopeless. I said, “No, let me, just give me his phone, let me call him.” So I called him. I introduced myself and he immediately knew who I was and he was very kind, you know, he started thanking me for you know, having the oldest of the two sisters on at SOLA. And I said, “No, the issues is actually, I want the younger sister to come but I hear you don’t agree.” He said, “Well, you know, I heard that you want her to repeat two grades and by the time she finishes high school she would be too old to get married.” And this is, he’s talking about by the time she finishes high school. And when I calculate in my head she would be 20 years old by the time she finishes high school. And so I mean, I see that that could be a challenging thing for any parent to accept, particularly in Afghanistan. And then he said something that was so interesting for me. He said, and besides if, he said “It’s my moral obligation to make sure she gets married on time, especially now that my brother’s not alive. And besides if I make sure that she gets married on time, God will grant me a garden in heaven.” And something that really was interesting. I had never heard that, but even the concept of doing something religiously, upright and appropriate then God gives you gardens in heaven. And so I said to him, I said, “Do you think that because of the work I do God has created gardens in heaven for me?” And he said, “Oh, absolutely, there is no doubt.” And then he launched another thing about how great I am and that the work I do, and God will bless me. And I have many gardens. And I said, “If you really believe that,” and I said, “you know, that God is above us, I promise you my garden in heaven if you let her come to SOLA.” And he laughed and then he listened. He was like, “Okay.” And I said, “Look, I’m not joking, I’m serious.” I said, “I really mean it. And if we meet one day after this life, you can have my garden, but let her come to SOLA.” And I said, “Besides don’t you think that your brother will be more proud when his daughter can have a job in the future? Let’s say, because she learns English at SOLA, she can even get a job as she graduates high school?” And I said, ” In this economy, a lot of men don’t have jobs. And when she gets married and she’s able to get a job and when her husband is not employed and then she’s able to provide for her family, don’t you think that your brother would be happy with the decision you made?” He said, “Okay, fine, let me think.” He said, “Let me think to myself and I’ll be in touch.” Two days later, the older sister walked into my office and she gave me the biggest hug. And she was jumping up and down and she said, “My uncle agreed.” And that sister is in our graduating class. And so next year she will graduate high school as a 20-year-old.

- Amazing and an amazing intersection of reason and religious belief, that’s lovely coming together. That’s quite impressive. Well, all right, well, so let’s see, where are we gonna go from here? So we know, many of us here in the United States see the headlines from Afghanistan and they are challenging. And if someone asked us to describe your country using three words, those three words might not be so helpful. But let’s rewrite the script. So can you give me three words that describe the country that you know?

- Yeah, I think three words that more specifically that would describe Afghans who’ve been living in Afghanistan for all these years, which I genuinely believe. And I say this without any kind of romanticizing people in Afghanistan because we have gone through a lot of suffering, I would say, resilient. If you want to know and understand what resilience means comes to Afghanistan and meet people. On May 8th, an all girls public school was bombed 100 girls died more than a 100 and some got injured. The next day, one of the girls injured from the hospital bed said, “I will go to school as soon as I’m out of here. Even if I’m attacked again. No one will stop me from gaining knowledge.” So I don’t romanticize it, I mean, it. If you wanna know people who are resilient come meet people in Afghanistan. Second thing I would say is, people who are thirsty for peace. There are people who lose their family members in war. They’re not out seeking revenge. They say, I don’t even wish this on my enemy. Let’s just bring peace, let’s work towards peace. This call for peace is coming from all across Afghanistan. Hungry for knowledge and I already gave you examples. My God, the way people in Afghanistan understand and value education. I don’t think anyone else around the world does. It is unbelievable, I mean, I lived with it. During the most difficult time in my childhood. When my parents had to choose between feeding me a meal or paying my school fee, they chose very easily to pay my school fee. And we understood and honored that. And it’s not one, it’s a very, very personal example but it’s not the only example. You will see this happening in all of Afghanistan people understanding the value of education.

- Thank you, all right. One last question and then we will open it up to audience Q&A. So if anybody has a question to ask please use the Q&A button down at the bottom of your screen and type in your question. So we started this by looking back 10 years in time and I’d like to finish up by jumping forward 10 years in time and imagining we are hanging out on June 10th, 2031. And it’s your 20th reunion at Middlebury. So tell me, what’s been happening over those past, those 10 years for you, for SOLA and for Afghanistan.

- So this is extremely exciting. And I’ll try to do this in a way without getting emotional, because it’s—

- It’s okay to get emotional.

- It’s something I think about every single day. And in the most difficult times, it’s thinking about this that gets me through the most difficult and harsh of circumstances. In 10 years, first of all, I know that we will have a robust campus, a safe, secure campus in Kabul. A piece of Kabul that will be permanently of SOLA and girls. It will be a home for girls from all over Afghanistan especially from the most remote parts of Afghanistan. Our graduates, who are already leaders in their communities and in how they, what they do when they go home whether they tutor girls, whether they volunteer to teach or educate a woman in their community, about women’s health and hygiene and whatever they do. I know that they will be national level leaders. There is no doubt that you will be seeing and hearing about SOLA alums and graduates and their influence whether it’s in the public sector or private sector. And they will be highly respected and recognized. I hope that there will be similar schools like SOLA all across Afghanistan, and that SOLA would not be the only unique boarding school for girls in Kabul. It’s time for us to have a community and network of schools like SOLA, so there shouldn’t be anything really unique or special about SOLA. And I think about the financial health of SOLA a lot. I hope that in 10 years we will be in a place where I won’t have to raise funds every year to sustain SOLA’s operations. So I’m looking at setting up or rather building our endowment to a point where SOLA will be a forever institution in the true sense, and continuing to keep bringing girls from the most remote parts of Afghanistan as it’s true focus. That I want that to be a forever focus for SOLA. And beyond that, I do I’m really itching to do more and get more involved. I wanna open women’s access to the gig economy. There is no reason why women from Afghanistan from the comfort of their homes can work for some of the international corporations and bring income to their families and supporting their families and their communities. And making sure that the next wave of illiteracy in Afghanistan is not that of a digital illiteracy. So I know that I will be probably even more focused on that moving forward.

- Those are big plans. I can’t wait to see you and tell, well, I’ll see you before then but I’m looking forward to hearing how it’s going and in 10 years.

- Wouldn’t that be fun? That would be great. Most definitely, I’m hoping it would be in person and not another pandemic—

- Absolutely, we’ll have a better end.

- Yeah.

- So audience, do we have any questions? I do have, I have a comment from friend of mine in . And he’s thanking you for all that you do saying it is inspiring and such important work. If anybody else has a question for Shabana, please put it in the Q&A and we can get to that. I always have more questions for you. I’m really interested to hear how you think about fear and what tools you use and what tools your girls use in the face of true violent threat to their families and their own bodies. Like what do you use to navigate that in your work and your day-to-day life? Especially as you are, you know, given your public role and you’re such an outspoken advocate for girl’s education. How do you face that? How do you think about it?

- Oh yeah. I think the shortest way I can answer this and I think maybe you and I can talk about this more in person, but the shortest way I can answer this is that, in face of your, the best thing anyone can do is to focus on things that you can control. And then and make sure that you do that very, very well. I wish I could speak more about some of the examples from SOLA, but again, for security reasons and making sure if I don’t wanna give out too much of a detail on our security detail, but I think that is, you know focusing on things that you can control. So let’s say we are on campus and there’s a bomb blast nearby, the girls focus on their studies. And they have learned to really gracefully do that. It’s so beautiful to watch. It is so heartbreaking to watch. It makes me so angry that when there’s a nearby attack and SOLA building shakes and we don’t know who the target is. And yet the thing that girls focused on is praying to get some calm and comfort but also opening their books and doing their homework. And it’s I have to say, it’s an incredible thing to witness in that moment of fear. It’s amazing how that can get you through even the most life-threatening situation that you must feel. But I guess as a word of advice, focusing on things that you can control is the best way to navigate through here. Any kind of fear in life.

- Yeah, thank you. Okay, we have a couple questions. So we have, this is, I am a fundraiser and have been for decades. I love this kind of question from an anonymous attendee. Are financial donations the best way to help at this point help SOLA at this point or are there other ways to help like donations of supplies, refurbished computers, iPads, et cetera.

- Yes and yes. We currently have a significant matching grant that we are fundraising for through the end of this year. So right now financial support is one of the best ways especially as we’re trying to build a campus, have an emergency fund that will allow us to activate any of our different kinds of plans that we’re currency planning for in the face of what’s happening in Afghanistan. But yes the trick with donations of computers and other items, is if people take responsibility to ship it to Afghanistan, we gladly take it. But sometimes the shipment cost is much higher than the item itself. And so it becomes easier to use the funds to buy new computers, for instance, in Kabul as opposed to getting used computers. So it really depends. People can sign up to become tutors. Yes, as a fundraiser, Janine I know you appreciate that. You know, financial support is always such such great relief and allow us to focus on really what we wanna focus on which is the operation of the school. But, you know there are other ways to get involved and getting each. I think one of the best ways is to talk about SOLA and talk about our mission and vision in Afghanistan with your friends and with your family and with your network. And get in touch if you think that other people want to hear more about SOLA. Please get in touch with us. There are many ways that you can actually directly link with me. There’s a email address on our website at info or even president at SOLA. I get those all the time. My colleagues send me emails that are addressed to me to read. So yeah, please get in touch if you have ideas.

- Yeah, my idea, so I’m a huge supporter of SOLA. I make monthly, I do recurring gifts, which again as a fundraiser, and actually I think as a philanthropist, I think this is one very easy way to support the things you think are really important and making an impact in the world. And SOLA most certainly is and Shabana you are most certainly are so.

- Thank you so much for that. I didn’t exactly acknowledge that publicly, but hank you so much, now that you’ve mentioned, thank you.

- You are welcomed. It makes me feel good every single month to know that that is going to good. And because of the challenge grant now is a good moment. And somebody else asked in the chat, if we can post the link to the giving page and where the match is. And so we will have that posted in the chat. And then I have one last question because we are getting, wait, do I have any last questions? I do not, I don’t have any last questions. So my last question for you, Shabana as we’re leaving tell me something that brings you joy, that brings you joy and hope on a regular basis.

- Oh my gosh, there are a lot of things. I’m a very happy fulfilled person. I think maybe it’s comes with the territory of the work I do, I have chosen to do. It brings me so much fulfillment and I say, on different days, it can be different things that bring me joy. But one of the things that consistently without a doubt brings me a lot of joy and a lot of hope and positivity is when I talk to our young students and listen to them, talk about their future plans, it is so uplifting. When I look at Afghanistan’s future through lens of these young girls at SOLA and their dreams and aspirations, I only see a bright, bright future ahead of Afghanistan. And that’s honestly what gets me working and feeling determined for it so, so, so strongly. Yeah, I mean, it guides my life and my lifestyle. My husband and I remained engaged for close to five years because we kept on postponing our plans and it had a lot to do with SOLA and how things were working out with SOLA. But that really brings me joy. And I think there are also other things that bring me joy. And, you know, even when I speak with people outside of Afghanistan about SOLA and how they respond to it and how they take the message in and how seeing other people feel inspired makes me, actually makes me in return inspired even more. There’s good in the world, it’s well and alive.

- Good, thank you. Okay, if we have time for one more question, I do. One more with good Meg.

- We probably should wrap it up ‘cause it’s after 1:30

- We’re running into the end from here we are.

- But SOLA is reachable. So if you have more questions, I encourage you to reach out to all the good people that are working at SOLA. And I just wanna say, wow, and thank you. Shabana congratulations for the incredible work you’re doing and how you’re doing it. I think to say that you’re an inspiration is such an understatement and just, you know, wanna, we’re so proud of you talk about wanting to cry. You could do that, right? You’re just such a role model. And Janine, you did this interview beautifully. What a fabulous conversation between the two of you. I thank you for that. And I thank everyone that joined us today and we recorded this. So those who didn’t catch it are going to love it also. So thank you everyone and—

- Happy 10th reunion reunion!

- Happy 10th reunion.

- Happy reunion everyone.

- Thank you, I do wanna say my absolute heartfelt and sincere thanks for this recognition. I really feel really honored and humbled by this and almost in a way I feel like I don’t deserve this. But with this recognition, I wanna say that I don’t feel like I’m getting this alone. I remember spending four of my years connecting with the people in town. And I know that every person who’s been part of SOLA’s journey from Middlebury community and beyond are being recognized with me and I wanna take this moment for whoever listens and is listening in the future to this, to thank everyone for being such strong and committed members of this global village that is behind SOLA and what has made it possible. So thank you. Thank you so much for this recognition.

- Thank you everyone.

Brad Corrigan ’96 Achievement Talk

- All right, we’re gonna get started. I know some people are gonna be rolling in, they’ll catch us when they catch us. And we have a fun hour ahead of us. I’m Meg Storey Groves, from the Class of ‘85 and I’m the associate vice president for alumni and parent programs at Middlebury. And I wanna welcome everyone to tonight’s alumni achievement talk, or why should say, storytelling and song with Brad Corrigan Class of ‘96. Welcome, Brad. It’s great to see you. And I also wanna welcome Erin Quinn Class of ‘86 who is director of athletics at Middlebury and he’s going to be joining Brad in some of the storytelling. I have two reminders actually for tomorrow, just for reunion at home events, we have President Laurie Patton at 11:00 eastern time giving a talk. And we also are going to be releasing a mini concert from the alumni band, The Grift that’ll be at 7:00 eastern time PM tomorrow. So I hope you can catch those. And there are some other class specific events going on too. So, I’m just gonna give a little housekeeping. This is a Zoom webinar format. So the audience audio and video are turned off and we have chat on briefly. We’re gonna turn that off too to just minimize distractions. And we do have live transcript and closed captioning turned on. If you look at your Zoom panel, control panel you can choose whether to have subtitles on or off. And we have a very full evening of entertainment. So we will not have the Q&A part of the program. We’re gonna just have storytelling and song. It’s gonna be great. So, that’s my housekeeping. Now, I have the honor of reading the award citation for Brad. So, musician, storyteller, activist, and philanthropist Brad Corrigan Class of ‘96 has made a mark in many fields since he graduated from Middlebury with a degree in music. But music is the thread that connects all of them. In 1995, Brad and his two friends, Pete Heimbold, Class of ‘99 and Chad Urmston Class of ‘98 they became the College’s first rock stars, a remarkable do it yourself success story. When they decided they needed a break in 2004, they found a spectacular way to say goodbye with a free show in Boston, at the Hatch Shell which drew more than 110,000 people from 29 countries. When they came together again in 2007 it was for a cause, Dispatch: Zimbabwe. A three nights series of benefit concerts with the African children’s choir with all proceeds going to organizations fighting disease, famine and social injustice in that African nation. In the process of staging those shows Dispatch made history. They became the first independent rock band to sell out Madison Square Garden. The band years and miles from their humble beginnings on the Middlebury campus played to 60,000 people over the course of a single weekend. And they did it again in 2015 playing to sell out crowds at the garden. The band’s decision in 2007 to give all proceeds from the garden shows to NGOs helping Zimbabwe and to start the Dispatch Foundation reflected in large part Brad’s desire to combine purpose with platform wherever he could. That same year, he founded Love Light and Melody after a life altering experience meeting a young girl named Ileana who was living and working in a trash dump in Managua, Nicaragua. Two years later as a former member of the Middlebury lacrosse team and through his platform in the trash dump community with Love Light and Melody, he co-founded Lacrosse the Nations using the sport to help connect vulnerable kids with education first in the Nicaraguan trash dump and later around the world. “My heart breaks for kids that don’t have the love and protection and encouragement of a family,” he says. “And as an athlete and musician I have always wanted to use sports and art to inspire kids to have fun and dream again.” Right now, Brad is focused on two Love Light and Melody projects. Ileana School of Hope and a documentary film titled “Ileana’s Smile.” Ileana’s School of Hope will be a grade school serving up to 400 students in the community that’s grown up around the trash dump. It will offer preschool through grade six education with hopes of expanding to offer high school education in the future. Middlebury is proud to have such an accomplished alumnus and we are pleased to honor him today. Congratulations, Brad. President Patton couldn’t be here tonight but she asked me to read this greeting. Brad, I send you my very best wishes and congratulations on being selected for the Alumni Achievement Award. It’s a great pleasure to see you recognized for your complements as a musician, humanitarian and social justice advocate. I remember well your stellar performance at my inauguration. I look forward to seeing and hearing you again now that you and your fellow Dispatch alumni will be on the road, starting in September sharing your music with your many fans. Congratulations, Brad. I’ll now turn it over to you and Erin.

- Wow, thank you so much. The first thing I would say is what an honor it is to receive the award alongside Shabana and Heather and also to just say like, this is case in point that we only go as far as we’re encouraged and Middlebury, the community at Middlebury has had a huge place in my life just saying, go, go, go. So it’s incredible to receive that honor. And to think that it all started with the smile of a little girl who didn’t even know me in a trash dump in Central America, and to see how her smile can circle so many of us back together. So, thank you. Thank you so much for the honor, bestowing that award and to open things up a little bit musically one of the first songs I wrote was inspired by the Middlebury Falls. So this is a song called “Past the Falls.” ♪ The wind blew and her hair stood still ♪ ♪ He sits beneath her window still ♪ ♪ She awaits the magic in his hands ♪ ♪ Whoa, oh, whoa, oh ♪ ♪ He walks her out into the light ♪ ♪ And takes her in a different light ♪ ♪ Her eyes divert to the water beneath his feet ♪ ♪ Oh, the water beneath his feet ♪ ♪ Oh, the water beneath his feet ♪ ♪ Boy wakes up and runs outside ♪ ♪ To find that all his fears have died ♪ ♪ And although shells lay upon the sand ♪ ♪ Lay upon the sand, oh ♪ ♪ She kicks a rock along that road ♪ ♪ And stood still while the story was told ♪ ♪ Do you believe in me he said ♪ ♪ Can you believe in me ♪ ♪ You believe in me ♪ ♪ Whoa, oh, oh, yeah ♪ ♪ You believe in me ♪ ♪ I will only go as far as you believe in me, oh ♪ ♪ Won’t you come and fill this space ♪ ♪ You already filling the space ♪ ♪ Won’t you come, won’t you come and fill this space ♪ ♪ Oh, the light and the love ♪ ♪ That flows from your hand over me ♪ ♪ Won’t you come, won’t you come and fill this space ♪ ♪ The wind blew and her hair stood still ♪ ♪ He sits beneath her window still ♪ ♪ She awaits the magic in his hands ♪ ♪ Whoa, oh, oh ♪ ♪ He walks her out into the light ♪ ♪ And takes her in a different light ♪ ♪ Her eyes divert to the water beneath his feet ♪ ♪ Oh, to the water beneath his feet ♪ ♪ Yeah, you believe in me ♪ ♪ Whoa, oh, yeah ♪ ♪ Water beneath his feet ♪

- All right, thanks, Brad. That’s a great way to get this kicked off. So, first congratulations on the recognition. Very well deserved. Hearing “Past the Falls” definitely evokes Middlebury and your experience here. And I’m mindful that not everybody on the Zoom tonight went to school with you. It’s not just a ‘96 Zoom. There are a number of classes out there. So, since we started off with “Past the Falls” and went back to Middlebury, this is a Middlebury reunion weekend. Can you just take maybe a couple of minutes, we’re gonna get into some more recent stuff in a little bit more detail just to kind of reflect on some highlights of your experience at Middlebury a little bit. I know my relationship with Brad is that I recruited him to come to Middlebury. I was the lacrosse coach at the time and was Brad’s lacrosse coach for four years. Our relationship went much deeper with Brad becoming really close with myself and my wife, Pam, who was a Class of ‘88 and followed his music career through Middlebury culminating with, as a music major, his senior performance. So, a lot of those threads of your sport and your music at Middlebury carried on throughout your career and into this day. So, maybe just a little minute or two reflection on your time at Middlebury, Brad.

- Yeah it was an amazing experience because I had never traveled from Colorado to the Northeast before. And the entire experience has so many little divine points of connection for me to even arrive at Middlebury and then to find this confluence of, okay, so I can play lacrosse, but I also through you and the coaching and the culture of Middlebury sports program, I also could like pursue music and the other things that I was really passionate for. And I think it was such an interesting place where over four years growing as a lacrosse player I thought maybe after two years of taking music classes I would sort of not be able to continue on, not reading music. So I thought, well, I love music. I’m passionate for it, but I’m more or less illiterate when it comes to writing music or reading it. And gratefully Su Lian Tan was a professor that became like a coach or an advisor for me. And she said, “This is what you love. There’s a way to study it and to write. We’ll teach you how to write even if you’re gonna continue to play by ear.” So I believe there were only six of us that were music majors that year when I graduated. So, to think I had such deep encouragement from Su to really like to embrace my heartbeat for music. And then also encouragement from you, Coach Ritter, Coach Heinecken, I feel like half of our lacrosse team and Peter Khon were all in the art center for my senior performance. So, a really amazing experience that I’m so grateful for where I didn’t feel like I had to choose between passions instead, they could be woven together.

- Yeah, that’s great. And I mean, that’s how I experienced it with you in that being in the Rubenstein Hall for your senior performance was this sort of culminating moment and these two worlds colliding in really beautiful ways to have so many lacrosse people there but then your music professor and fellow students and listening to your music, it was great. Yeah. So we’re gonna fast forward through a bunch of stuff quickly here tonight ‘cause we have a lot to get in. We have a lifetime that’s filled with interesting stories and achievements here to get in. So, post Middlebury, you brought a lot of that experience with you. We heard that while you’re at Middlebury you formed the band that became Dispatch. You might’ve been One Fell Swoop when you were at Middlebury and I think we have One Fell Swoop posters upstairs. We’ve got Dispatch posters but we do have at least one One Fell Swoop.

- We were even Woodriver Bandits.

- I have a Woodriver—

- In ‘96, we were at the first show in we were Woodriver Bandits.

- Yes. And I have a Woodriver Bandits cassette, Pam and I have, so we’ve got it all. So take us through kind of the arc of Dispatch in your life post Middlebury. And I personally think of it as sort of this arc, you know, the way the Quinn family experienced it is right out of Middlebury, you guys were doing some touring around and you had your van, Wimpy and Wimpy was parked in our driveway and we were feeding you and you were playing some free shows at the middle school or high school, wherever elementary school I guess Pam was working at at the time. The next time you just went through Middlebury I asked if you needed to park Wimpy in the driveway and stay here and you said, no, we’ve got a tour bus and I was sick but Pam and the kids visited your tour bus and they were very impressed with the TVs and the beds. And we sort of said, wow, like they’ve really kinda made it. And then fast forward to 2004 the Hatch Shell that Meg mentioned before and Wimpy to the tour bus to 115,000 plus fans at an amazing show outside. So, and then I know there were twists and turns with the band and following that as well and ups and downs and from the outside, it looks like just a straight line up, but it’s really twisting and turns, lots of twists and turns. So take us through that, if you will maybe that first eight to 10 years or so after Middlebury.

- Yeah, I think we were super grateful that we could make music on Middlebury’s campus whether it was like, you know Stuart Pit or the Allen Lounge. I remember Chad and Pete and I met in the Allen stairway and there was this reverb in the stairs where we sang our first harmonies and like whoa. And to move from that moment to like practicing and playing anywhere five or 10 people would listen while they were studying, it was a really cool experience to craft songs and kind of learn about how to knit a team out of a shared love for playing guitar and songwriting. I think since we were nestled in the Northeast, it made it, Dartmouth was our first official gig like on the road we went and played a lounge there and then Chad’s sister went to Duke. And so on a spring break we went all the way down in North Carolina. But I think the key for us is we would just play anywhere we could. And we wanted to play in such a way where you got there a little early to meet people and you stayed a little late and we’re so enamored that someone would come and spend time to listen to you play. So, I think the earliest foundation of what we did was it was really it was passion-driven to play music but it was really relational hoping that a community of friends would develop. And if they would let us sleep on their floor and if we could get food and gas out of it whether it was an elementary school at eight in the morning for an assembly, or playing at the Cosmic Cantina, this burrito shop in North Carolina that fed us with these huge double Chipotle burritos we felt like we were pursuing our passion. The cool thing is that we focused in on Boston and New York when we started to play out a little bit. And we had a sense that if we just build in one or two cities and see, can we actually get 50 to 100, to 200, to 500 people, like maybe we can open this thing up. And so gratefully, instead of going all over the country and being spread super thin, we went deep in a few areas built up our fan base over a number of years. I mean, it takes a long time to play and play and play and have people follow your name and know where you’re gonna play again. And then gosh, around in the year 2000, Napster hit and file sharing. And since we were an independent band and weren’t on a record label, our music really hadn’t ever had a shot at being played on the radio. So, Napster and file sharing all of a sudden without us even realizing that our music spread throughout the country and then internationally too, it was a neat feeling to hear from people that they had a friend of mine in the Northeast sent me an email that this song, was this song, was this song. And to feel like now there was underground radio where our music could percolate. The downside, I think of pursuing our dream so fully is that the cost, personally the cost on each of our communities and feeling like we were grounded somewhere living in a van though it’s romantic at first the van gets pretty small and starts to smell pretty bad and sharing a microphone, three singer songwriters, three people who are developing their voices, Chad and Pete and I went from closest of friends to tired and exhausted and wondering like, is this, should we pursue this all the way or do we need to think about where we are relationally? So gratefully, we took a break in 2002 right before our friendships I think would have fallen apart and then decided to play a show in 2004 that you guys came to and Peter Khon and my gosh that Boston show there was that international component of 29 different countries emailing us saying we’re coming. And we met all those fans backstage and we didn’t know if it was gonna be 5,000 people or 50, you know, that was what we thought. And then it was this perfect sunny day and 100,000 plus people showed up. And we played our farewell concert thinking like surely our relationships are more important than continuing to pursue this idea of success when inside we were just really exhausted and kind of at odds with each other and even ourselves, we weren’t totally sure that the, our definition of success was right.

- Thanks, and I will dig into this a little bit later. You’re gonna do another song for us here in a minute or two, but those couple of years after the Boston concert, and then before your 10th reunion a lot of soul searching yourself after that. And you know, that couple of years were pretty important in terms of your next steps. And we’ll get into that in a little bit more detail later but do you wanna talk a little bit about kind of the where you started heading after that show?

- Yeah. In 2002, Chad and Pete, and I knew kind of internally the writing was on the wall that we wouldn’t continue touring into the future. And man, what a moment to sort of reflect on your identity. It really brought up a lot of anxiety and insecurity like who am I apart from being in that band? Who am I apart from standing on stage? And gratefully the church I was going to in Denver somehow had a connection to a youth rally in Managua, Nicaragua. And so just with this like confluence of perfect time and the right questions in me, I said, yes to going to Nicaragua to play with two friends of mine one from Brazil and one from Puerto Rico so that we could speak Portuguese, Spanish, and English and be a part of this internationally profiled youth event. And I went down there and just was like, oh my gosh, like, it’s so good to be in a new place. Like, wow, this guitar is a key to unlock travel in a new place. I don’t speak Spanish here, but I can sing. So, going to Nicaragua on that earliest trip was I think, honestly me trying to figure out who am I outside of this band and where is the balance on being passionate and pursuing quote the idea of making it and also knowing your inner, knowing your spirit and knowing man, this is coming at too greater costs. I’m really happy where I am. I know that if this music and guitar goes away from me I’m still rooted in relationship. I’m rooted in community. And I’m not just simply what I do. So, that first Nicaragua trip was really eyeopening and set me on a new path while still carrying my guitar.

- Awesome. Great. Well come back to that in a couple of minutes. I think you’re gonna do another song for us.

- This is a song called “Fallin” that I would play for the kids in Nicaragua and saw that rhythm that like beating a drum or playing rhythmically or singing even though they had no idea what I was singing we somehow we were connecting. So, this is “Fallin.” ♪ Fallin, i am fallin down the mountain once again ♪ ♪ Does anybody know this man, can anybody understand ♪ ♪ How long is the road we’ve come today ♪ ♪ Days now rapped in silence ♪ ♪ Wonder what is this violence ♪ ♪ That keeps his mouth locked shut and his tongue at bay. ♪ ♪ Fallin, i am fallin down the mountain once again ♪ ♪ Fallin, i am fallin down the mountain once again ♪ ♪ Senior i have a question, in you is there a lession ♪ ♪ A story rapped so tight that you need to share ♪ ♪ You got a trusted, heres a stranger ♪ ♪ You escaped your recent danger ♪ ♪ Tell me what in this life we need beware ♪ ♪ Please excuse my insolence, i do nothing here to offend ♪ ♪ Though my eyes don’t blink ♪ ♪ Yes my mind does think that in you I’ve found a friend ♪ ♪ Oh, please accept my innocence ♪ ♪ I’ll do nothing more this day ♪ ♪ When i was lost ♪ ♪ You were the cost that i knew i would surely pay ♪ ♪ Hey, fallin, i am fallin down the mountain once again ♪ ♪ Fallin down ♪ ♪ Fallin down ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah ♪

- All right, thanks. That was great. Yeah. So, that sets the mood and tone pretty well for digging into Nicaragua a little bit. And you know, again, having been sort of peripherally on this journey with you over these years and coming in and out of each other’s lives, there’s sort of these threads of your music and Middlebury and lacrosse kind of connecting us over all these years and I remember back your 10th Middlebury reunion. So it would have been 2006, you were staying at our house. You flew in and after maybe some initial, hey how’s it going really quickly we went into our guest room where we had a big TV ‘cause you were really adamant that we really needed to watch this footage and that you had just come back from Nicaragua, you flew from Nicaragua to Burlington and drove to our house. And here you are, and really wanted to share this. And I remember you saying that you weren’t sure exactly what this meant and where it was going to go but you knew this is the next phase in your life and that this was gonna last and this was going to be important. And here we are, all these years later at your 25th reunion still talking about it and sharing. And like, I know our own family timeline in areas ‘96 you come to our house and we watched some of the videos and we’re drawn in, our daughter, Hannah at that time in 2006, she would have been nine. She watched some of the footage and ran downstairs and gave you an envelope with all the cash she had and asked that you use it for the kids in the trash dump. And then within a year, my wife, Pam was down in Nicaragua with you. And then two years after that our whole family, Hannah, Connor, Pam and I were down with you in Nicaragua in 2009. And so many other Middlebury people had been down there with you, Mickey Heinecken and Dave Hennessy and Dave Campbell and Chip Kenyon and so many people, Connor, our son did a gap year and worked for Lacrosse the Nations. When he was playing lacrosse here men’s and women’s lacrosse players went to Nicaragua to work with Lacrosse the Nation. So this thread that continues in our family and we’re able to experience so much of the good that you’ve done. That’s been obviously a deeper part in your life and we’ve experienced some of those highs, but it’s still there’s a lot of challenges in there. I think the same year that it was referenced you played Madison Square Garden and sold out three nights in a row and all of those fans that same year you played Dia de Luz in a trash dump community in Managua. And that sort of juxtaposition is gotta be pretty jarring. And at that time, you referenced that you’re trying to find yourself and what’s important. So, there’s a little bit of a setup of that arc and I’ll let you go any any direction you want with that. I know there’s a lot there to digest. So, talk to us a little bit about in that arc of your connection with Nicaragua and how that led to Love Light and Melody, Lacrosse the Nations and so much work down there.

- Well, what Chad and Pete and I thought was like our very last show was that 2004 gathering that felt like a world cup crowd singing with us. And walking away from it… When you’re empty inside, it doesn’t matter how big something is in front of you or what the paycheck is or whatever the return is. If you’re empty, you’re empty. And we looked out on this sea of people singing and reflecting back to us what we had always dreamt but couldn’t receive the gift because of I think how much we had exhausted ourselves and our friendships. And so from my story, I ended up going to Nicaragua to play that youth rally. And I am so blown away by the generosity of people who don’t know me. They have no idea who Dispatch is. They don’t know anything. They just see a person and a guitar and a kind of a fearful smile. I can’t speak their language. How am I gonna connect? But what I learned in that first trip is just like, wow, there are such high, the highest language I think is in eye contact and in a smile. And then the extension of a hand or a hug, that is the highest language. Just beneath that is art. And for me it was music and drumming but I watched people with paint brushes from different countries come together like art somehow has this immediacy and there’s a gravity to drawing people together, we’ll so does sport. So drop a soccer ball and like, or throw a lacrosse ball, like people relate and immediately are connected. So I kind of leaned into what already was in my hands, guitar, drumming, soccer, whatever sport and felt like I could connect with a new group of people. And somehow what they reflected back to me I think was they wanted, it felt like they wanted to know who I was. They weren’t interested in what I brought to them. And I think what I was confronting, thinking what have I left behind? What is this like idea of scale and success that I’ve left behind and that Chad and Pete and I chose to walk away from. And I just thought, the number of times that I connected with people who were… In meeting someone if they led with their successes or they lead with a story about everything that was going great in their life I kind of felt my ego kick in or like, gosh what have I done? What can I then say to have some validity or credibility in staying in that conversation? And oftentimes the more people talked about what was going well in their lives, I feel like it kind of like divided us even though it looked like we were leaning in we all sort of came away feeling like, well, who, where was the one-upsmanship and who do, where’s our value? Conversely, when someone leans in in vulnerability and says I’m struggling with this or says, you know, I’m actually having a hard time. My family is dealing with suffering because we lost so-and-so or somehow vulnerability and talking about a struggle. When that happens, I lean in and I’m disarmed and I’m like, oh my gosh, that person just completely honored me and the energy in our interaction. And I lean into it and then say, thank you so much for being, for sharing that. And you know, even though I’m on stage I actually am really, my identity, I don’t know where it is. I’m not sure where I live. I’m not sure, those kinds of conversations that are led by vulnerability really opened my heart up to who am I as a person, who am I as a creative being not just a member of a band. So, Nicaragua and the people that I met there who spoke English, the people who were giving lives through different NGOs that were serving and uplifting kids and families. I found so much… I was so inspired by the way that people were living and walking and working there. So to create a little bit of context I went there first to Nicaragua to play that concert. But for those of you that don’t know much of the kind of the twists and turns in this, the taxi driver, Bismarck, who was driving us back and forth to this youth rally asked if he could show us where kids were that needed more than just music. And I said, yes. And a group of us went with him not knowing where we were going. And he drove us into the city landfill, right into the heart of 110 acres of burning chaos. I mean enough that we rolled up the windows and locked the doors and thought maybe we shouldn’t have said yes to this. Like where is he taking us? Can we trust this? And you could tell, he was really intent on getting us through the smoke and through the chaos. And then there it was, there was a township of about 250 families that lived in the heart of the city landfill. And then there are the kids and they’re barefoot and they’re running around on broken glass and burning embers and medical waste, you name it. The worst environment you could possibly put as a backdrop for seeing these beautiful kids with so much dignity and joy and they’re coming right at you. So, my heart was so rocked, juxtaposing this, I’d never seen any environment that was so toxic and the fragility and beauty of these kiddos running around on it. And my heart literally I could feel it was being planted there and feeling some new life, feeling something kind of like oh my gosh, what is this? So, I think it was on my right after one of those trips, that I came straight from Managua to Vermont for my 10th reunion, met you guys, was like I’ve gotta show you, look at this smile. Look at this girl. Her name is Ileana, yes. She comes up to the taxi and gives us the courage to roll the window down because honestly we would have stayed in for sure if she hadn’t come. And this is her first smile that’s not a stranger looking at a stranger, that’s someone that there was so much light and joy in her that we felt like she was showing up to help us. So, the window came down and we started talking to Ileana and we filmed, thankfully my friend in the backseat, Jonathan Olinger had a couple minutes left on his camera and he filmed the interaction when our worlds kind of collided. And none of us had any idea that she would be the kind of the catalyst or the spark for us to learn about her life in the trash dump, her siblings, extended family and then really the entire community. And from like just in that kinda, I come to Middlebury and share that video with you. I didn’t know anything about where the journey would take me or take us, but there was this feeling of like, I feel some life in this and I feel like there is a we belong to each other that’s waiting for me in this. I’m afraid of it. I don’t speak the language. I feel very unsure of myself. I don’t know what I have to offer, but I must go back. I have to go back. I have to go back. And so that’s what started the rhythm of me playing solo shows and telling everyone I was more excited to tell people the story of Ileana and what I was finding in Nicaragua between songs as I was playing the songs. So before long, there were a group of us that would go down and have a team trip and sit with these kids and families and learn what we could possibly do to bring them joy and to bring them light. You mentioned the Day of Light concert, that idea came from it’s, we can make music or make art, but where we make that and share that art is just as important as the art itself. And I felt like, okay, I can go in and take these kids out of the trash dump into a nice clean soccer field and have a festival for them. Or we can actually come right in and we need to be challenged and we need to realize this has been home to some of these families for up to 40 years. So, building a stage in the trash dump and making music there, inviting friends to come down and play lacrosse, inviting painters to paint murals collaboratively with the kids, it was really, gosh, this place is giving me life as I’m coming in and thinking, what do I have to offer? What if the opportunity in a festival or a concert turns a trash dump into a desired place? And I can make invitations to people who are like, oh yeah, I’d love to go to Central America and be a part of a concert and play soccer and face painting but it took the trash dump and it created an environment where like, well let’s go and let’s meet there and see what comes out of all of our lives kind of coming together in a unique environment.

- Awesome. I think we were one of the families that felt that invitation. And I know we felt that trepidation going in. I mean, it was, we had the advantage of going in with you. I suppose you had the advantage of going in with Bismark, for the first time, we had Bismark and you. So we had that comfort and we had the recognition that people were embracing you as we went in and clearly you were known. And then we had this idea. We were gonna go in the first day, okay, what do we do? What do we do? And you were like, we’re gonna get lacrosse balls out of the school. And the kids will just come, we’ll walk down this path, and we’ll get the lacrosse balls. The kids will come. And there’s a big open dirt path over there. And we’ll play lacrosse and you get to the door and the door’s locked to the lacrosse balls. So now we’re thinking, oh, now we’re lost. We have nothing. And we just walked along and one little kid will run up and get a golf ball from his house and give you a golf ball. Somebody goes and grabs a pear from the dump and puts it in your lacrosse stick. So, I think we played lacrosse for about four hours with pears and little trucks and little golf balls anything you could find in the dump. And we played it for about four hours with all the kids and had a blast. So you’re not sure what to do. You’re not sure what you have to offer. And then that’s, you know, you offer what you have. Now I know we’re gonna get to a little trailer of “Ileana Smiles.” So, I don’t know if you have, you wanna set that up and on a transition from some of your thoughts you just shared about that experience and transitioning and then you can cue up the trailer of the film.

- Yeah. So, meeting Ileana and her sister, Mercedes and other siblings, so many of us were just captured by their courage, their bravery, their laughter, their light while they’re living in an environment where I think all of us would have felt like we would have drowned. I mean, even trying to sleep one night in it. And they were such intelligent kids and there were so many of them and they were working the trash fields with their parents to gather recyclables to sell, incredible work ethic. We just so wanted to figure out how can we get more of these kids into school? And our best approach was using lacrosse. And hey, if you’re gonna join the Lacrosse the Nations program it needs to be tailored with going to after-school tutoring or it needs to be an on ramp to go into a class. And same thing with Love Light Melody will teach you music but the environment is in a classroom. And hopefully your parents will realize that your spirits are growing around something and we’re feeding you meals there. But it wasn’t enough. And this is the hardest part of the story to tell because I’m trying to truncate the story but also allow it to be fair. But all I saw over and over again was Ileana’s smile. I saw her laughter. I experienced the way the kids received us. And I didn’t realize that they were up against drug abuse, physical abuse, a child prostitution dynamic that was inside the trash dump. And after being there for three or four years in Nicaragua we realized that Ileana and her two sisters had HIV. And that was such a blow to us and brought us to a place where it was like, okay, we will continue to bring what we have into the trash dump community but kids’ lives are at stake. It’s more than just giving them a festival once or twice a year. How on earth are we going to protect kids from this? And also, how can we help those who have been abused and are drug addicted? And the sad story is that Ileana sister, Mercedes passed away in 2009 and Ileana died in 2011, February 8th. And my life Love Light Melody as a group all the people that had come to Nicaragua the grief that we shared in, and also the sense of like how could we have missed this? How could we not have seen this? Is there something more that we could have done? Man, that grieving, it took a long while for me to let go of the guilt of, oh, there’s more I could have done. How could we have let this happen? And then the reality of like, wow, we have 50 or 60 trips of people who are bearing kind of like a spiritual tattoo of having met these girls. We have cinematography because we thought that we were gonna be documenting these girls going from a trash dump to a school to someday even Middlebury. I just, I could envision Ileana and Mercedes telling their own story and sharing it for the world so that they would understand what child vulnerability looks in a community like the one that they grew up in but as they both died and we looked at what we had, we had journal entries, photos, cinematography. And so for the last seven years, we’ve been working on a documentary film called “Ileana Smile” to honor the life of Ileana and her sisters and also to show as a glimpse through their lives what child vulnerability looks like globally. And then the goal is to build a school called Ileana School of Hope, all the way through the 11th grades that we have a pipeline for kids to come in early and hopefully go in a very different path of flourishing where they’re safe and they’re able to be nourished, they’re able to find medical access when they need it. So, those girls left a mark on us, so many of us and the least we can do is tell their story and bear it well. And the film is going to come out this fall just two days ago we learned that we finally have after four years a very complicated land title process that is completely in the clear. So we’ll start building that school this fall as well. And we’re just really looking forward to seeing where this legacy, where their spirits will lead us from here. So, there’s a three minute trailer that we have and we’d love for you guys to see it firsthand. Meeting Ileana, she had such an amazing impact on my life over the five years that I knew her. Earth shaking, they were such huge moments in my own healing. And in a story like the truth of what these kids were facing in the trash dump. ♪ Did you see a crash of rhinos going by ♪ ♪ Or a dazzle of zebras in their stripes ♪

- I could never have imagined when that girl grabbed my hand how different my life would be from that point forward. ♪ Did you see the colors in the fading ray ♪ ♪ Did you see them burst in the butterflies again ♪

- Sharing Ileana’s story for the last 10 or 12 years going to high schools and corporations and meeting with musicians and entertainers and athletes, architects, it’s all been about building relationship and building community around Ileana’s smile. What could we build that would be beyond that? That would have a practical and tangible effect on vulnerable kids, just like Ileana so that they could have a completely different outcome in their lives. And we felt like it was a school. An education center and community center where kids are safe and free emotionally and physically. They’re able to flourish intellectually, be healed spiritually and hopefully rediscover who they are and being reconnected with their childhood. ♪ Did you see the colors in the fading ray ♪ ♪ Did you see them burst into butterflies again ♪ ♪ Did you see a sister standing on the waves ♪ ♪ As you watched her roll out of sight ♪ ♪ I saw the lighter dark and the darker light ♪

- So help us tell the story and help us build more than just a school. Let’s build hope for a new generation of vulnerable children and see them flourish. Thanks for joining us in this.

- Wow. It pretty moving. I’ve seen the version of that trailer and version of the whole film and every time, it’s powerful every time. So thank you very much for doing it and for your work. And just for the viewers, just to kind of forecast we’ll kind of do a little bit of a wrap up of what’s coming now. What’s up in the next year or so. Where does Brad go from here? Just as a reminder, depending on when you joined in the chat right now, if you wanna find out more about Brad’s work, you can, a couple websites are in there, you can find those right in the chat. So learn a little bit more about these projects and what Brad’s up to and what those organizations are up to. So, yeah. So Brad, tell us a little bit and you’re gonna sing one more song but just briefly tell us a little bit what’s up in the next year. It’s a big year. You’ve got Dispatch shows. You’ve got Lisa and Amos. You’ve got the “Ileana’s Smile” film released. You’ve got hopefully breaking ground and Ileana School of Hope. So talk about the next year coming up. What a big year.

- Oh my gosh. What I’m most excited about is being married and being a dad. Lisa and I got married a year and a half ago and have a baby boy of eight months and we’ve just moved up to Northern Idaho and really it’s a special feeling to answer some of those deepest questions. Who am I, and what is my greatest purpose and discovering that as a husband and a dad is pretty amazing. Amos is gonna, he’s gonna give us a run for our money, absolutely. Dispatch, I cannot wait after a couple of years of feeling like it. So many artists I’m sure feel like they’ve been on mute or have felt stuck. And the idea of going back on tour this fall, oh man, those first handful of shows they’re gonna be really emotional. They’re gonna be to connect with the people who are there and to start to sing together. Oh man, there’s just some beautiful magic in that thinking the day the music came back.

- And you just dropped an album, was it last week?

- Yeah. Nice verbiage, we dropped it. I liked that EQ.

- And again, I called it an album but it’s a classic ‘86, I think that’s okay.

- Hey, I’m still, they’re called records, albums, and now even individual songs are called records. And I get, the music, all of this album we have batch of 15 songs an album called “Break Our Fall.” And it came out last week and we’ve been waiting two years to release those birds. So, thankfully now they’re up and out and we hope people find some light in them. Otherwise, my goodness, I’m just really grateful that, I think when you lead a life asking questions and are surrounded by people that are vulnerable with you, there’s a growth trajectory. There’s like, I hope that any of us that feel like we’re stuck in a place where you’re just kinda empty going through the motions, it’s amazing to ask someone who knows you well what they see and because of my parents because of Middlebury, because of my wife because of my dearest friends, the people who have known me in my church, I had so many people who were encouraging me and speaking life and hearing me and moving me forward that when I think about where I am right now it’s this incredible collective journey. And I’m so honored to be on the one that I am but I am so great full to so many people who have stood by me and who have listened to me and who have cried with me and who have encouraged me and who have been vulnerable. And this has been one heck of a year and a half because of the pandemic. So, I would encourage anyone out there that is feeling a little stuck, a little bit anxious, I think all of us do. And probably the greatest thing we can do is lean into each other in vulnerability and ask, how are you really doing? And I’m so excited thinking that what is in front of us is not returning to the old way, but like all of us have this opportunity to cobble together a new way a forward. And knowing that I have a guitar in my hands and a film that’s about to finally start speaking Ileana’s story and a school that we’re breaking ground on. I’m just so grateful that everyone who has stood with me has just said, keep going, keep going. And now it’ll be so fun to see what comes in the future. What harvests there are in the future based on all these acts of kindness and all the generosities that people have given me to go and extend. When Hannah, when your daughter came down and said, hey, this is my seventh grade. This is all the money for buying new clothes for sixth grade or seventh grade, whatever it was. And I opened it up and she had handwritten, Ileana needs this more than I do. Oh, man, that is a tattoo. That is something I will never forget. And an act of generosity that put a lot more gas in my tank. So, to all of you out there thank you for the ways that you are grateful and generous. And I would just encourage, let’s bring the rising tide higher in all the various things that we do in kindness and generosity.

- Amazing. Thank you. I’ll turn it over to you to end with a song. And then after Brad sings, Meg will come back on to make a couple of closing comments. So, that’s the last time you gonna hear me. Thank you everybody for tuning in and Brad, thank you and thanks for the song.

- EQ, do you wanna do a coin flip real quick and see who closes with the song.

- You take it out, you take it.

- all right, I’ll do this one for all of us. This is a, this song is “Hallelujah” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” And where I have played it at kind of the end of something its been a really an awesome song because I think all of us feel like we lean into the chorus and can hum and sing along. So, wherever you are out there, blessings to you. And again, thank you, Meg and Erin and our Middlebury community for the nomination and the moment of spotlight to bring my heartbeat delight. I really appreciate it. ♪ Well, I’ve heard there was a secret chord ♪ ♪ That David played, and it pleased the Lord ♪ ♪ But you don’t really care for music, do you ♪ ♪ Well, it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth ♪ ♪ The minor fall and the major lift ♪ ♪ The baffled king composing hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Well, your faith was strong but you needed proof ♪ ♪ You saw her bathing on the roof ♪ ♪ Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you ♪ ♪ So she put you in a kitchen chair ♪ ♪ She broke your throne, and she cut your hair ♪ ♪ And from your lips she drew hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelu ♪ ♪ Hallelujah, hallelu ♪ ♪ Hallelujah, hallelu ♪ ♪ Hallelujah, hallelu ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah for heartbeat ♪ ♪ Hallelujah for the air we breath ♪ ♪ Hallelujah for all the love that is shared with you and me ♪ ♪ Hallelujah for a smile that unlocks, unlocks so much ♪ ♪ Hallelujah from a bunch of people ♪ ♪ Where that overflows and come ♪ ♪ Hallelujah for the whites of our eyes ♪ ♪ Hallelujah we belong to each other ♪ ♪ Hallelujah in every step you can chose to see me as a ♪ ♪ Oh, as a brother ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelujah ♪ ♪ Hallelu ♪

- I don’t really know how to jump in here except to say, thank you.

- Keep smiling.

- That was awesome. And no more words, good night.

Coming Home: An Evening of Moth-style Stories

- Hi, everyone. I think I’m gonna wait for Joe to spotlight me to get this started. Thank you, Joe. Hello everybody. My name is Casey Donahue, Class of 2010.5. Point 5 because I am a zealot when it comes to being a Feb because I am a convert. I actually started as a . So welcome tonight. Casey Donahue, Class of 2010.5 to “Coming Home: an Evening of Moth-style Stories.” I am just tickled pink to be here with you all and to be hosting this evening. And we have a pretty amazing hour in store for you all. We have six true personal stories from Middle Alumni spending four decades of reunion classes on the theme of coming home. And okay I don’t know about you all. I guess I only had my five-year so that might be a very particular experience but I will say in my experience, when you go to reunion in real life, you know, in Vermont frolicking amongst the rolling Hills, it’s like so difficult. It’s such a whirlwind. It’s like seeing all of your friends and all of the professors that you’ve been missing and connecting with your people. It’s practically impossible to reach out and make connections with new folks like across classes across generations. And that is actually what tonight is all about. We are showing up not just as, you know 25th year reunion class or class of 96’ or wherever you said but we’re showing up as one community of Middlebury folk. And that’s just really exciting that we’re here to share one space together in this very particular way gathering to listen and to share our life experiences through true personal stories. So it’s gonna be a blast. And I just wanted to point out two things before we get started. Two things that are actually really unique to a Zoom space that we couldn’t enjoy in real life but we can enjoy now that we are sharing this virtual space together. The first is closed captioning. So if you are a listener that would benefit from closed captioning tonight, please see the bottom of your screen. There’s a little button there that says live transcript underneath. So feel free to select that at nor leisure if you so choose. And then the other element that Zoom allows for us that we couldn’t have, if we were on a real stage telling stories right now is the chat, the chat function. And we’re actually really excited about this chat function because it’s going to allow us as listeners to really give feedback in real time to our tellers. And we highly encourage you to go ahead and use it and show the stories, sellers your love but there’s one big caveat. And that is please engage with the chat function when I am speaking between storytellers and not when the storytellers themselves are speaking. So when the stories are actually going let’s focus fully on those stories. And then when that spotlight comes back this way to me feel free to just go for it in the chats, spreading the love and the compliments and the feedback on these stories. And that’s it, it’s time to like get right into this show. So to bring our storytellers up to the stage we ask them a question and that question is what’s your favorite place on Middlebury Campus? And so I’m gonna bring up our first storyteller in a minute but I do wanna say it is tough to go first in in any show on any stage. And so let’s give this storyteller all of our attention and all of our energy as we welcome him up. And so when we asked this first storyteller what his favorite place on Middlebury Campus is, he said this was actually the deciding factor between Middlebury and any of the other schools he was looking at, the dining halls, particularly Proctor and more particularly Proctor at Sunday, brunch where he could make his BLT sandwiches from the Class of 2006. Please welcome with uproarious applause, Garrott Kuzzy.

- It’s April, 2011 and I’m driving across the Champlain bridge and back into Vermont for essentially the first time in five years. I see the sun setting over the Adirondacks and the rear view mirror behind me. And when I rolled down the window I smelled the first spring manure fertilizing the fields. But more than anything I’m overwhelmed by the sense of freedom. This freedom I haven’t built any years. See for the past five years had been a professional cross-country ski racer and recently had achieved one of my life goals of competing in the Olympic games. Now that life is a professional athlete. It’s hard. See every April for as long as I can remember I’d get this training plan from my coaches and essentially that would detail every single workout I had to do for the next 12 months. And you know what, going out for a few beers on a Saturday night, that was never the plan. But now I’m moving back into Vermont into a timber frame farm house on 400 acres with five of my best friends from college. And I am so pumped about being like back in Vermont, I have this new job that I’m starting developing bike trips in Europe for a travel company in Bristol, Vermont. And this new life is way better than I could ever imagine. A couple of my buddies had motorcycles. So I bought a used with my first paycheck and we used to spend our Saturdays exploring all over new England. And on Saturday nights, when we’d get back you better believe we were raised in a beer. So I just absolutely loved the experience of kind of catching up on everything. I felt like I’d missed out on over the past five years this one Saturday night in October, we decided to head into two brothers and I ordered this plate of nachos. Now these nachos, the two brothers are huge. Like there’s no way I can finish these by myself. And to my left at the bar, I see this like cool wild hair. And I’m trying to catch this woman’s eye when feel the bartender drops off this massive plate of nachos in front of her and her friend. So I lean over and say, “You know, if you want some nachos, “you could have just shared some of ours.” She laughed. And that kicked up one of the most natural engaging conversations I can remember. Time flies by and all of a sudden her friends dance up. And I reached into my pocket and hand her my business card. Now I didn’t hear back from her after that for a month until I’m up in Burlington at two brothers and oh, sorry, at it’s Guinea pancake. And I recognize this wild hair across the room, Catherine. She turns, smiles, and we pick up or conversation right where we left off, you know the next weekend she comes to my birthday party. And pretty soon we’re just in this like amazing, relaxed relationship. There’s no pressure. You know, she’d come over to my place and hang with me and my buddies I’d go over to her place and we’d make these like lavish dinners with salmon or Sodo wine. And, you know, life was good. This life that I thought couldn’t get any better. All of a sudden it does. And Catherine is game for anything. January the Lemon Fair River down in Shoreham freezes over and the full moon is out and I’m like, “Oh my God this would be a great night for an ice skate.” So I go over to Catherine’s, it’s like 10 o’clock on a Tuesday night and she’s sound asleep in bed. And I go and wake her up and say “Catherine we gotta go do this.” And she like rubs her eyes. She’s like, “Alright, let’s go.” And we just have this amazing, incredible midnight skate on the Lemon Fair. For Valentine’s day that year I get this card from Catherine “Here’s to continue in our adventures, even after the ice melts.” And so the next three years our relationship continues to glide along like that until it’s her birthday weekend at the end of March. And we decided to head down to Woodstock for mine for a couple of nights away. We’re out on the ski trail and I’m thinking, “Oh my God this is just like the perfect weekend ever.” But I look over at Catherine, and I can tell something’s wrong. “Garrott,” She says, “We’ve been together for three years. “Where’s where’s our relationship going?” My heart sinks. I realize I haven’t felt any pressure in this relationship because I’ve been designing my whole life to avoid pressure. I tell her, I love her. Like I had so often, but it falls flat. That night, I can’t sleep. You know, I’m wondering, you know, “Maybe she’s not as happy as I thought she was. “Maybe, there’s a cost to this “to this relaxed relationship.” I don’t wanna lose what we built together. And all of a sudden I feel this pressure back on my shoulders, this pressure I’ve been trying to avoid for so long. So the next day we’re driving home back to Middlebury and we stopped for one last ski at BreadLoaf. Catherine gets out of the car and she just takes off down the trail. I’m like fumbling to put my equipment on and still in my own head thinking, “Garrott what do I want?” Bow, a quick little aside here the freeze thaw cycles that make that like in March that are, that make Vermont so conducive to producing maple syrup are actually like the same freeze thaw cycles that create this perfect crust in the springtime for cruising along on top of the snow. And you can just glide effortlessly anywhere you wanna go. So Catherine absolutely loves these cross cruising conditions. And I hear her hooting and hollering off in the woods in front of me, you know slaloming down through the trees and I take off after her. Finally, I catch up to her, it’s this it’s on this Knoll on the south side of 125. And you know, the sun is low. The yellow buildings of Breadloaf are just a glow with like this golden hour light. And, you know, I take off my gloves to hold Catherine’s hands. And as I’m unzipping my pocket to put my gloves in I’m kneeling down and I realize what this looks like. So the first words out of my mouth are, “Catherine, I don’t have a ring, “but I love you so much and want “to spend the rest of our lives together. “Will you marry me?” “Yes.” She says, “Yes, of course.”

- Bravo! Bravo! That was so lovely. Are you like talk about a rom like a Middlebury theme I just got like the most beautiful landscapes. I’ve never skidded them Lemon River. That was truly spectacular, but I also really do need to shout you out for this Garrott. Folks Garrott, this is a Zooming in from Innsbruck, Austria where he and Catherine are continuing their adventures. And so it’s 1:30 in the morning, this time. So he just got out of bed and sat in front of his computer and delivered to your souls the most beautiful Middlebury love story ever. And I just couldn’t be more grateful because that was just a delight. That was a gosh darn delight. Thank you so much, Garrott. That was lovely. Another round of virtual applause for Garrott. That was so awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is my ASL pause that I’ll sometimes do in the Zoom space. It’s just like, I’m still applauding and we’re moving on to our next storyteller. So I’m applauding and transitioning simultaneously and the chat is blowing up, which is lovely. Yes, your story was so amazing. And a reminder, go ahead. When I am speaking, go ahead and chat away folks. Thank you so much. Lots of, lots of love coming in for Garrott and the chat. So beautiful. Alrighty. And so we’re gonna move right along to our second storyteller. So this storyteller, when asked when were his favorite place on the Middlebury Campus happens to be he said the Accent basement and I think we’re about to find out exactly why. So let’s give a huge round of applause from the Class of 2016 to Demetrius Borge.

- The phone rings. I had been putting off this call for a while. It’s J-term during my sophomore year. And I had just gotten my first F ever. Took a deep breath picked up the phone. “Hi mom.” I thought I was gonna get yelled at. So I flooded a flood of reasons why I’d gotten such a bad grade. I was meeting with the professor every week. I had a private tutor that was, I was working with. I was busting my butt. I swear I was just trying to pass. And she was encouraging. I don’t know why I should have been so surprised. She had always encouraged computer science in my life. It was this thing that was supposed to make me successful and secure. And that was the, it was the thing that was going to Murray back home to the bay area, you know the Mecca of computer science. But the thing is when I was applying for colleges, I had really wanted to apply to film school. That really wasn’t an option with my parents. Film was supposed to be the hobby. It was supposed to be the thing that I did on the weekend with my friends, but computer science that that was the career. That was the high paying job at Google right out of school. Well, that was the expectation. At least, you know, they were paying for school. So I figured it do what they said. And she was a strict Jamaican mother that expected a lot out of her children, you know, success, prestige, you know security or all the norm and expected out of us, anything but that was just a logical and she encouraged, she said, “Stick with it. “I know you can do it. “Take it with a different professor funded to “find a different tutor that you really work with. “Anything that you put your mind to, it’s gonna happen.” And you said two conversations continued throughout my sophomore and junior year. You know, the first couple of weeks of my computer science class I’d start out wide-eyed and full of hope. And the third week I kind of start to fall behind a little bit, but I was still convinced that I could still pass the class. But around week six was when I hit the rock. When I hit rock bottom, I was too, it was too late in the semester to drop and I was too far behind to pass and there was really no help in sight. I was pulling all nighters in my Ross dorm room. And the thing with computer science is it’s not like writing a paper. When you write a paper, you start out with a word and then you have a sentence and then you have a paragraph and then you have a page and then you have a paper. And the thing is, I couldn’t even write the sentence. And I just felt completely hopeless and lost and incapable. The only form of relief came in the fact that I had an F and there’s nowhere below rock bottom. I would spend my time between dinner and breakfast staring at a blank computer screen. And I’d grown to the test, the sound of this unique bird that you only hear in the mornings at Middlebury. And I’d be sitting there looking at my computer screen hoping by some Middlebury and miracle, I would all of a sudden just get it. The miracle never came. It’s the end of the semester. I clicked the link to my transcript, Chinese cinema A, math foundations of computers D, computer architecture F. I felt devastated and humiliated. I had been working so hard that nothing, that it never nothing ever came to fruition. But this time I called my mom crying, devastated. I wanted to give up. I wanted to tell her, “I can’t do this anymore. “Why is film so easy to me? “But computer science is just “no matter how hard I work, it just doesn’t work, “It’s just not coming through.” But she said, “stick with it.” She encouraged. She said, you know “Take it with a different professor, “find a tutor you really connect with. “Whatever you put your mind to, “you’re gonna figure it out.” And I didn’t say anything. You know, I thought, “What if she’s right? “I know film majors who are living on their parents’ couches “working from job to job. “And I know computer science majors who ended “up very successful after all they were paying for it.” I didn’t wanna disappoint her. Now it’s my senior year at Middlebury. I’m in the basement of by hall. It’s the first day back at computer architecture. It’s all familiar to me. Like I’ve been here before. I’m seeing my whole semester play out in front of me, are sorta hopeful. Like it’s gonna be different. It’s gonna be different this time. But then I fall behind. I repeat and fail. And this makes me start to daydream about my time in Prague. I had studied abroad there and I directed my first short film. And this film was about these two old Czech guys trying to steal beer from a beer domino, a little bit of an ode to my childhood relationships and what I expected them to become. But when I was making this film, I knew exactly where everything was in and go. Every single shot, every single music cue it was long take here, you know, close up there. We’re gonna punch in there. It was like the whole film was laid out in front of me. And it was just up to me to put all the pieces where I wanted them to. It was this feeling of clarity and confidence. The feeling of, “Yeah, this feels right. “Like you’re killing it here. “This is what I want.” And I’m sitting there in the class in the by hall classroom. And then it all becomes so clear to me. Even if I could pass, even though I could land that job at Google sitting behind it now populated computer screen, I didn’t want to. Everything is saying, “Yo man, what are you doing here? “You’ve spent the last three years trying “to bust your butt to pass these classes “but you don’t even like it. “You don’t wanna be here. “You don’t wanna learn this material. “What’s the point?” So I decided I didn’t wanna keep bargaining in my own sense of happiness for my parents and security. I realized they’ve worked hard to get me here but I’ll have to decide how I’m gonna finish. I’ll cut to I’m pulling another all-nighter. It’s 3:00 AM, I am exhausted. And I am like calculating hours of sleep I can get and still wake up for class on time. And again, feel the business working, cut there, pace there. Maybe go back a couple of frames. The audio is kind of sounding off here. I think I can fix that. Now I’m in the basement of Axiom watching “Dailies In My Thesis” film, but I’m clearheaded. I can see the whole film out in front of me just waiting for me to put it together. I was happy. I was content. I knew I should be there. Now, I wish I could say my mom was there right there with me but it took her a little bit more time to come around to the fact that I could make a career out of this and that I was happy. But in that moment, it made me think of this one scene from when Harry met Sally and it’s toward the end of the film and Harry it goes up to Sally at the New Year’s Eve party. And he goes, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” And that’s how I felt that night it Accent. And I could not wait to begin.

- Thank you so much. Wow. That sounds like a really difficult decision. Kudos to you. I feel like you gave me the best wisdom I could possibly give to my own kids If I have them someday about their college experience which is like, “Listen, you’re gonna pull all nighters. “How do you feel about them?: Right? “Like how do you feel “about the bird that you hear squawking at 5:00 AM? “Do you hate the bird or do you, or do you or do you befriend the bird?” And maybe that’s like, that’s the answer to life. Maybe that’s the key. Demetrius as that was delightful. Thank you so much for sharing. And I really cannot wait to see where your film career takes you. That’s so very exciting. So we are going to and you’re getting so much love in the chat. People are loving your story and I think we’re all really thrilled that you pursued film because it’s so clearly your passion. Yes. Okay. So we’re gonna move on to our next storyteller. So when we asked this storyteller what part of mid campus is her favorite? She said the organic garden where she used to steal will steal, not steal because they were free, free but she would steal Concord grapes. And she, sorry that she’s not sorry from the Class of 2011 please welcome Cloe Shasha Brooks.

- So the year is 2013 and I am 25 years old hanging out in San Francisco, visiting some friends. And I’m with a particular friend, who’s a linguist. And she’s telling me all about her adventures in the middle east and how she connected with so many people and just loves the food. And then she interrupts herself and she just looks at me like kind of staring at my face. And she like, “Yo, I can totally tell your Arab from your eyes.” And I was like, “Oh, thanks.” But inside I, all I could think was, “wait, am I Arab? “I felt like someone had just told me “I had a long lost twin.” Here’s the thing. I’m 100% Iraqi Jewish on both sides. So I thought I was, you know, middle Eastern. I knew that, but I guess I just thought I was just Jewish. ‘Cause that’s all that people told me. But then I was like, yeah of course being an Arab Jew could be a thing. I didn’t share this in any of this with her. So I just keep, keep quiet. And as soon as we part ways I walk the outskirts of Dolores park and I pick up the phone and I call my parents. I’m like, “Hi, are we Arab?” And they’re like, “Yeah. “I suppose we are.” Super super casual and I’m starting to feel even more stressed. Like I’m confused by their indifference but I’m also confused about why I am unraveling. I don’t like who cares if I’m Arab, it’s not like a change anything about my sense of self yet but maybe it was starting to do that to me. And so I sit down on a park bench and I’m watching these San Francisco hippies play guitar. And then it hits me basically, you know I’m European white passing but I’m ever since I was a little kid I’ve been so desperate to assimilate. And I still am at 25 at the time. And when I say that I’m 100% Iraqi/Jewish I mean that all of my ancestors for thousands of years were in Iraq back to the time that it was called Babylon. And they were there then in Babylon for thousands of years. So then all four of my grandparents in the thirties and forties immigrated from the middle east to the U.S. and broke that multi thousand year chain. And of course when they arrived they worked super hard to assimilate to American culture. And I don’t just mean lightness, simulation. I mean, hardcore simulation. Thankfully we still have our food traditions but so much of our culture, including clearly the acknowledgement of being Arab was lost. My dad, for example, his name was Dennis is Dennis. His siblings are Bob and Carol. They were all taught to sail and traditional boat shoes and play polo on a horse which he found absolutely terrifying. I fortunately never had to play polo on a horse but I definitely internalized Waspy culture. And it was mostly from my grandparents more than my parents. And then I grew up, you know in downtown Manhattan where it’s the Mecca of arts and culture but yet I would have these daydreams about being from the suburbs with straight hair and freckles. I fantasized that my friends and I could all wear matching team uniforms and pile into a big van to go to soccer practice. I also really love this idea for some reason of watching movies in someone’s carpeted basement and eating PB and J with a cross cutoff. I even honestly fantasize about having a big golden retriever and I don’t even like dogs. So as you can see until this moment with my linguist friend I don’t think I had fully faced my own internalized anti-immigrant and anti ethnic sentiment. And so suddenly for the first time these desires that I had had since I was a kid I started to feel just a little more insidious Kind of like “How did it take me 25 years to notice this slow drip “of American culture is white supremacy in my blood.” Like it’s been there the whole time. So I walk around San Francisco feeling pretty angry and embarrassed, ashamed of my lack of my lack of self-awareness. I’m starting to question everything about who I am. And quite honestly, that was a bit of theme of a theme of late, because here’s what else was that was going on for me at the time which is that I just recently started coming out as queer. And I just started coming to terms with how much of myself I hadn’t even known was there because of the ways I’ve been programmed to be straight. And now that felt like a simulation too. And I was just like, “God, this sucks. “I’m 25. “I spent so much of my life “and energy working so hard to be, not myself. “So for the next three years, I blossom into my queerness. “I come out to everybody. “I date a bunch of people have some good and bad breakups. “I advocate for more speakers at Ted and my job. “And I dive into crew culture. “I’m watching tons of movies like researching them “like a psycho and reading all these books “and learning about the history and going all these parties.” And it’s honestly amazing, like a true cornucopia especially in New York. And I feel endless gratitude all the time still every day for when and where I was born. And the arc of history as a queer person. And ironically, the biggest stretch for me while exploring this space was how I allowed myself to dabble in the like mystical, magical aspect queer culture. You may be familiar with this, but things like tarot card readings and crystal healing are big and circles. So I started dabbling in all of that stuff. And I remember feeling like kind of sheepish about it at first, like whenever astrology accounts would pop up in my Instagram school I’d feel like “That’s not me, but I’m kind of into it.” I mean, my family’s kind of, you know my family’s pretty science oriented and my dad’s a science professor and my mom said he loved physics for all the way through college. So I just grew up having the sense of like science is true and everything else is pseudoscience. But I was growing up, you know, I was growing and this time more and more suspicious of hard boundaries. So I just kept telling myself you can contain multitudes and you can appreciate both. But even though I was feeling much more comfortable in my own skin, this concept of my Arab heritage continued nagging me. I just, it just kept getting louder. And I was regularly looking at my eyes in the mirror being like “Could other Arab people in the street tell him Arab, “like do they know that I’m part of their ethnicity?” I don’t actually know that many are people in my American circles. And I just didn’t have like a way in to talk to people about this yet that I felt comfortable with. So I decided to sort of take it on my own. And I, in 2016, I find Israel Palestine to visit the Babylonian Jury Heritage Center. It’s in this town called Yehuda which is not far from Tel Aviv. And this museum is dedicated specifically to the history of Iraqi Jews. So this building’s on a very quiet street nobody’s around and I don’t know what I’m expecting but I feel like I’m searching for something. And I walk in and the museum is filled with these beautifully preserved archive, so much stuff and incredibly delicate things. They’ve kept intact. Scrolls from Torah’s clothing, those these pieces of actual temples there’s all this weathered wood in furniture. And there’s even these silver cast menorahs in the shape of pomegranates, which is my favorite fruit. And then I get to this area with black and white photographs and I squinted them. And I looked at all the faces and these large families pose, looking very serious with white tunics standing by the Tigris river. And I’m like, “Oh, there’s my eyes from the 1930s. “Amazing.” And then I find something kind of cool these cases of jewels and gems and crystals. And it turns out that a Rocky Jewish woman throughout many centuries believed in magic and use fair histones to ward off evil spirits and to counteract superstitions. And by the way I have so many superstitions that when people tell me about their own, I inherit them. So never tell me about your superstitions please. And thank you. Anyway, these are beautiful crystals like opals and courts ambers and jades. The jades in particular, really stunning. They’re just huge and glistening and I’m like hypnotized by them. And then I read the plaque underneath that explains that Jade is a symbol of serenity and purity that it increases love and nurturing and that it’s a protective stone. Okay. So this is kind of a wild feeling for me because what I thought was a new age trend that I was dabbling in was actually a part of my personal heritage, my ancestral female line literally an ancient tradition. And something about this just makes my shoulders drop and I feel light. I just feel some relief. So Amir, two weeks later after I get back from this trip I meet someone new who feels like the light of my life. And I can’t believe how fast I feel that way about them. And after one of our very first dates, they send me a URL and I click on it and it’s like “Learn about your energies, click on the crystal “you most identify with.” Now this is something I would’ve for sure rolled my eyes at. And I did still, but with with joy and without hesitation, I choose a sparkly Jade. And I also choose them. This person who is so wonderful but a few years later becomes my spouse. Thank you.

- Bravo! Yeah. Oh Cloe. Thank you so very much for that story. That’s just, I have goosebumps up and down. I just, okay. I have a couple things to say one. I feel like we talk a lot about white supremacy these days and in our cultural context I don’t think we hear enough though about like European passing people sitting in a park in San Francisco, looking at the hippies, playing guitar like yelling to the universe like “This sucks” looks so great and so needed. So thank you so much for that story. I also have these two flashes. I have a flash of you on the subway like scrolling your Instagram and having a taro thing come up and you’re being like, “No I’m not gonna show anybody this.” I just like, love that. And then I love that by the end you have your little voice. That’s like, so here’s the crystal website like check you’re at your thing and you’re still McKee but it’s a really loving way. And I just, that was incredible. I just thank you so much for sharing such an enjoyable story. That was beautiful. And I’m gonna give you another silent round of applause as well before I transitioned now to our next storyteller. So when I asked this teller about his favorite place on Midd’s Campus, he said the Hepburn Zoo, because he did a lot of theater there in the seventies and fun fact. He actually was recently back there for a student production and discovered it looks exactly the same. They still haven’t painted the walls, they’re all still dirty dusty black. So from the Class of 1976. Let’s please welcome with warm applause. Kevin Cummins, ladies, gentlemen.

- Thank you so much. I grew up in a very large Irish American family in Middlebury. And a part of the Irish American culture is in humor. It’s highly valued. So if you say something, you should try to make it funny. And when I started doing theater in high school I found out this worked really well for me because I was able to do comedy. It just came here naturally. And when you’re powerless adolescent to be able to get onstage and control audience it’s an incredible feeling of power and love and validation. And it meant so much me. So that after a four years Middlebury where I was a theater major. I wanted to do that for a living. I decided, okay, this is what I wanna do. My ideal career would be to be like an actor in a sitcom or a television sketch comedy show. So I moved to Los Angeles and it was like, it was amazing. It was tremendously exciting. I would get up at 6:30 in the morning. I would do, you know, go into the city and do some crappy job for eight hours, rush home change my clothes and go and hit the clubs and do two or three clubs at night. And this was real. I mean, things were really happening. There was one guy I met that he just sold this pilot about a bar that he used to go to in Boston. And that became cheers. I knew people that I had seen on Carson or people that were just looking on Carson. So I knew it was just gonna be a matter of time before, you know, it was gonna be my turn. And I did the comedy store one night. This gentleman came up afterwards, said “I think you’re very funny. “I’m a talent manager for a club. “Would you like to do 10 minutes for $50?” “Oh yes, yes. “Leave be paid to do this is, great. “Thank you so much. “I will be there.” A couple of days later, I drive out to this area. I’ve never been there before. It’s a sort of light industrial warehouse but I think it is “You know what? “This is underground. “This is underground comedy. “This is really hip and happening right now.” And I see this club. It’s got a little sign out again. I’d never heard of the club that you know, “It’s fine. “It’s fine. “This is underground. “This is the kind of place the critics go to. “Then this is where you get discovered.” I go inside and there are these four huge bouncers just waiting in the bar, waiting for the crowd to show up. “Wow, They’ve got four bouncers. “They must have any, a big crowd here.” So the guy, the guy that booked me and pushes me into his office, he’s John. Says “Great, so nice to see you. “Thank you for coming out. “We’re we’re so excited to have you here because you know “you’re the first comedian we’ve ever booked.” “Oh, I’m the first, what do you normally book?” And he goes “Heavy metal. “We’re a heavy metal club. I just went. “Okay, great. “I’m the first comedian in a heavy metal club.” The guy goes. “Do you wanna see the, mostly the stage?” “Sure. “Show me the stage.: He takes me to this stage and around the three sides of the stage, they’ve got chicken wires set up. I said, “What’s the chicken wire for?” He goes, “Well, some of our people, you know “and they’ve had a few beers, I get a little rowdy “and they’ve been known to throw things, but you’ll be fine. “They’re gonna love you. “You’ll see.” So I’m in the waiting area and I’m going, “what do I do? “Do I leave? I’m like, “No, I’m not gonna leave. “You know, I moved out here “to do exactly this kind of thing. “I’m gonna make this work. “I’m gonna make the love me.” So in our later the crowds there, they’re really rowdy. I am standing in the wings. We need to go on. I hear the announcer say over the PA you know the comic stylings of love and the moment they hear the word comic they start screaming of synergies and shouting at the stage. And I go out at the moment, they see me they are just yelling, they’re yelling. They can’t hear a word. As I go into my routine, I’m gonna be a professional. I do the routine. They can’t hear what I’m saying because the screaming is a lot. And eventually the screaming and the seventies morphed into this, this chant of “We hate you. “We hate you. “We hate you,” but you know what, it’s fine. It’s fine because I am going to do my set. And that is what I get. And I, at the end of the set like 10 minutes, I said, thank you very much. It’s been sort of a pleasure. And I walked off and I got my $50. I went in my car and I sat down and realized that I felt terrific. I mean, I was so high. This was, it should have been horrible but it was wonderful because I had gotten such a reaction out of that crowd that I, and I thought to myself “If I can face that I can face anything. “You know what? “I’m gonna be dynamite in the comedy clubs.” And I was, I did comedy that the next couple of weeks, I’ve never done it better. I’ve never been more in my game. But there, there was this weird thing happened, which was, I realized that the high that I had gotten the hatred was pretty much the same as the high that I had gotten from both the love coming from the regular crowds. And they were the same thing which meant that they sort of canceled each other out. They didn’t mean anything and I wasn’t getting high anymore. And so I stopped doing comedy. And I went to a production company. I got a grunt job and were there for awhile. And I started reading a lot of scripts. I got into script development and eventually there was a writing, writing assignment open. So I read what they want. And I think, you know, I could this. So I went to the producer. I booked a meeting with the producer which normally would have been really frightening. I mean, really a terrifying kind of a thing for me to do. But as I’m sitting there opposite the desk from him picture chicken wire separating me from the producer. And I’m thinking to myself, you know what? You may be scary, but I’ve seen are scary things on the other side of the chicken wire. So it made my pitch and they bought it a liked, it went into development. And that is really what started my career as a screenwriter. Something I hadn’t really considered before. So I guess you could say that I owe my career to an incompetent talent Booker on a small heavy metal club outside Los Angeles.

- Bravo! That was incredible. What a ride? Nice thing. I’ve still checked. Like I said, for me, it’s the chance for me. It’s the, we hate you. We like it’s, I can’t, I mean, first of all just the escalation from the minute. And he said, oh, it was in a heavy metal club. I mean, throughout the whole, your whole set. I just, it gets me every time. But you know what I like, I love this story. And what I love with anything about the story is what I’m going to, how I’m going to utilize it in my life, which is every time I have a scary conversation I’m gonna think of you. And I’m gonna think of the chicken wire. And I know I haven’t been in front of the crowd but I’m just gonna use your story as a standard and pretend I’ve been in front of a crowd like that. And just, I’m just gonna think chicken wire and I’m gonna have those tough conversations. That was a delight. That was a gosh darn delight. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m giving you my further round of applause and sending you love to the screen. That was a riot. That was so much fun. Thank you. And we are going to move right onto our next storyteller. Oh my gosh. I love it. In the chat. We have “We love you,” which is fantastic. And a great reminder folks to go ahead and and utilize the chat for these for these transitional moments. We love to hear from you from the other side of this virtual void that we’re inhabiting together and you can click on panelists and attendees so we can all see it. So just another, another gentle reminder, go ahead and engage there if you so choose as we move on now to our last few storytellers. So the next storyteller that we are inviting to the stage when we asked her about her favorite place on Middlebury Campus she said very quickly, the Star library the old star library, she spent a lot of time there working over the summers studying during the school year. And she particularly loves the new, the restoration on the ceiling, which if anyone has seen as just stunning. So please welcome with warm loud applause from the Class of 1986, Jeneva Burrows Stone.

- Okay. So I’m in my kitchen and I’m arranging appetizers on a platter for, I get together at my house when my husband’s aunt Frieda comes in, fixes me with a sympathetic luck. And she says that she understands that my disabled son, Rob who was then six years old had become my unexpected and unfortunate career. And she thought I was handling it very well. And I was still even a little angry, you know the way you are when your life is suddenly reflected back at you. And, you know, and you’re kind of not expecting this. And I had to think about this and I thought, “Yo unexpected. “Well, yeah, you know, Rob’s disabilities were unexpected.” He developed typically until he was about eight or one. And then he had this sudden onset genetic syndrome. And he went from 60 to zero in the course of just a few days, landed in the hospital. He had lost, he lost most of his muscle coordination and control. So he could no longer like, you know sit up or crawl or stand walk. We moved pretty quickly within the next year into tube feeding. He couldn’t speak anymore. You know, we ended up on, I think, as I just said he ended up on a feeding tube and he’s he became a really happy wheelchair user. You know, wheelchair is an awesome way to get around and over time even had a tracheostomy. So his care is like really complex. And so that still unexpected and then unfortunate. Nope, Nope, not unfortunate. Rob and I are disability activists and we don’t think that disability is a tragedy. So while caregiving can’t be a tragedy either. And besides, you know, Rob Rob at six was this amazing person. You know, he loved Buzz Lightyear. He loved going to the movies. He loved going to baseball games. Oh my gosh. I mean, he just, he loved being outside, feeling like you know, the wind in his hair and the sun on his face. And he just has the best laugh and the best smile, you know, everybody loves him. So Harley tragedy, was it my career? Well, no, because a career is something that you do for yourself and caregiving is something that while necessarily, you know, you do for other people. And finally was I handling this well, absolutely not. I was putting on a great show and a brave face but I was not handling all of this very well. I had graduated from Middlebury with a degree in English literature and creative writing the aspirations to be a writer and a teacher. I had one this, you know really prestigious fellowship to go to graduate school that I just was overwhelming. And I had earned my PhD in Renaissance studies from Columbia. And then, you know, I mean Robert got sick and somebody had to handle everything. And so everything just went, you know no more teaching, no more anything. So that was, that was a really frustrating and it was hard and you know, my husband and I were using he’s a wonderful man and it hasn’t but we were arguing about my autonomy and my career because, you know, he saw it one way and I saw it another, no he, I had to stop working. So he was working and he needed me to be the primary caregiver so that he could earn the money that kept us all afloat you know, kind of made me made sense. Right? But, you know, there was a huge part of me that wasn’t fulfilled and I really wanted to go back and get my MFA so that I could, I hoped, you know jumpstart my teaching career. And then on top of that, my son my other son Kasten who was then three years old was going through a phase where he constantly accused me of paying attention to Rob instead of Kasten. No, when I was really just doing some sort of caregiving activity for Robert can, might be you know, dressing him, changing him. I might be giving him one of his many medications adjusting his feeding pump. I’m on the phone with the insurance company all the time. I mean, yeah. Taking him to one of his kazillion doctor or therapy appointments talking privately to doctors. I mean, you know, it’s just like the ordering supplies putting them away, you know, the list goes on and on and on. And Kat’s got a point, you know, I barely had time for him. So yeah. I mean, Frieda had a point too, but I thought, you know at least Frie to hadn’t told me that I should really be taking better care of myself and I should really go get a massage or mani pedi or go out on a date night with them with Roger because well-meaning people told me that all the time but rarely did anyone volunteer to care for Robert so that I could do those things. So that sort of idea of self care felt a little bit hollow to me. So flash forward about a year now and I’ve I’m still frustrated and I’m still, you know this free-floating anger. I can’t direct it at anybody. I love because you know, it’s not, that’s not fair. You know, it’s not their fault. It’s not anybody’s fault. So I got this free-floating anger, but “Hey I have learned how “to deal with the free-floating anger.” I had discovered because it’s the early days of newspapers on the internet. And I discovered that I can write emails to columnists, news paper colonists with whom I disagree. And that is a great outlet. And I am typing away at my computer. And I am like typing an email to David Brooks and it’s during the early years of the Iraq war. So got a lot to disagree with, with, and Brooks I disagree with it all the time. So I’m just really into this email, blah, blah, blah, blah. And all of a sudden I feel this thing, I feel this clutch in my stomach. And then I feel this rising elevator pressure like up through my chest and my neck and it head like right at the top. And then I feel these two iron bands like clamping around my chest and relaxing a little bit and like clamping around my chest again. And I’m kind of sitting there thinking, “Oh no it’s not good. “Maybe I’m having a heart attack.” And I’ve been, you know, I’ve been in hospitals a lot with Rob now, but this one was different. It was me. You know, I was being rushed to the ER. I was admitted to the hospital. I had just had an unpleasant medical procedure. And now I was lying in a medical, in a hospital bed listening to a cardiac surgeon tell me what was wrong with me. So, you know, surgeons are kind of cavalier open up people’s bodies all the time. So everything else is no big deal. And he says to me, “Okay, so, you know “you definitely had a heart attack, but you know “don’t worry isn’t it was a mild one there’s medication. “We can give you to control that. “So that’s, that’s all good.” He said, “but then he says, you know “we find something really interesting, you know “in addition it’s like you have “you have a rare heart defect. “No one of your arteries runs “through your heart muscle for just a little bit. “Like every time your heartbeats “it puts pressure on its own blood supply.” And I’m just in there going “This sounds terrible. “What’s gonna happen to me. “Am I gonna die. “What’s gonna happen?” Then he kind of looks at me and he’s like, “Yeah no one ever ties to this.” He’s like, “No one even knows they have it. “You’ll be fine. “No, we usually just see this in autopsies.” My God! So his words right, are ringing in my years as a wake-up call, you know, no one ever dies of it. No one even knows they have it. And I’m thinking, you know, caregiving isn’t killing me but it is putting pressure on my life splat like my dreams for myself. Yeah. I had to had to make some changes and I knew that I didn’t need a Manny petty or a massage. I mean, yeah, I think a date with Roger would be great, but you know those things are basically just a way to refresh the caregiver temporarily so that she can return to the grind of their caregiving. And what I really needed was something more radical. Now I needed a self-care that was gonna restore the heart of me, who I had been and who I wanted to be. So my husband, wonderful man shocked and surprised at everything that’s happened. And he’s like, “Okay, you’re gonna go back. “You’re gonna get your MFA. “I’m gonna help you make the time to do these things. “I’m gonna help you keep writing.” So, you know, I am now 57, still married to my husband. Robert is 24. Kasten is 21. And he’s about to graduate from Middlebury next year which is fun and awesome. And I’ve been writing and publishing my poetry and my essays for 15 years. And it’s been incredibly satisfying and meaningful. And for me, self-care, isn’t about taking a break from the grind. It’s about finding and caring for your nurturing your essential self, the heart of you. Thanks.

- Wow. Jeneva thank you so, so, so very much for your story. Thank you for that story. I feel like in sharing the story about the way you, you restored your heart, like I feel a little restored myself and I feel like very nourished in the sense that I am never, again, going to ask a friend when are they gonna go get that many petty? Or when are they going to go on that on that date with their partner, I am way more going to look to how can I actually support and actually step in and do the work that can so easily be overlooked. And I can’t wait to read your writing and your poetry. And it’s just, yeah. A fantastically inspiring and funny story. I’m also next time I have free floating rage. I know exactly how I’m going to use it. David Brooks deserved every line of that email of those emails out of those letters of even. So thank you so, so very much for sharing and I’m giving you another Hartfield round of applause for my Zoom screen and I’m going to transition us to our last storytelling. So sad. One more story. Here we go. All right. So this, our final storyteller. When we asked about his favorite place at Middlebury he said Macola where all the dance parties were please welcome from the class of 2001, Henry Flores ladies and gentlemen.

- Thank you everyone. Thank you for being here tonight. I arrived at Middlebury college in 1997 September of 1997, to be exact. I was Dawn, I was decked out in my latest Woodbury common outlet fines and I had a fresh fade from my barber. I was confident that Middlebury had never seen a student like me before. A Dominican kid from the projects of Spanish, Harlem from a single family single parent home top of my class in high school, presidential scholar, et cetera, et cetera. I was super confident, so confident in fact that I didn’t really study much the first couple of weeks instead I was at the dance parties. I’m a call on the social houses, trying to pick up girls. I came from a repress, all boys Catholic school. So I was trying to make up for lost time. And I was partying until I got my first graded paper back from professor Miguel Fernandez. And it was covered in bright green ink and a big fat C that said “You can do better than this was this.” Was the note. After that the only girls they hung out with were Gertrude Stein and Jane Austin the social house known as Star library. One Friday night, I was one of the last students to leave the library. It dawned on me that some of my other classmates could afford to perhaps party it up a little bit more than I could after all they had already done four years of college at schools like . By the end of my freshmen, my first semester I had lost that swagger. I had gained 15 pounds thanks to my friends, Ben and Jerry’s. I had grown an Afro and I was on academic probation for the first time I was at a crossroads. I was really stressed. Do I become the first in my family to graduate college or do I become a dropout? Like so many of my other friends back home. J-term rolls around and all my other friends were taking classes like physics for poets. I decided to take for Caribbean history and anthropology with Professor Arnold Raymond Highfield, a visiting professor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. When I walked into that classroom it was like being back in high school actually. It seemed like every black, Latino and woke white student on campus was in class that day. At 8:30 AM in walks Professor Highfield. I was shocked. I was expecting a Black Panther-like professor with an Afro and a dashiki who was gonna be really militant and teach us about our history and how we were robbed. Instead it was an older middle-aged white guy with a black beret, piercing blue eyes, and a twang that I couldn’t really place my I couldn’t really place where he was from. But then, you know, I noticed that he had a deep limp something in east Harlem that we call hood swag. And I thought, well, maybe there’s more than meets the eye to this guy. Within the first week, he taught us about, you know the history of, you know, racism and classism the colonies and in the United States. And he taught us about how, you know people are often judged by their skin color rather than their culture, their language, or even their religion. It really resonated with me when he said this because I was always being asked after Spanish class, by other students. “Well, how did you learn to speak Spanish so well, Henry?” And I said, “Well, you know, I’m Dominican. “That’s, you know, right. “That’s my first language.” To which they usually responded “Well, aren’t you Black? “Don’t you consider yourself Black. “You look Black.” Constantly having to explain my racial identity. You know, my language acquire my language skills were acquired. And the fact that I was on academic probation as well made me feel more of an outsider and not at home. I had developed a pretty good rapport with Arnold. So I decided to talk to him after class one day and explained what was happening. You looked at me and just said, “Hey Henry this is not gonna take five minutes. “And that’s all I got between classes right now, unfortunately. So why don’t you come over to my house tonight at Chipman Park have dinner with my wife, Shirley and I and we can talk this over?” Later that night, I, you know I drove up to his house and I was as I was walking up to the front door, I was about to knock. But then the smell of Arroz con pollo permeated my frozen nostrils. And I exhaled countless memories of my mother cooking the same dish in our apartment in Spanish, Harlem, I could see Arnold in his study and the door was always open. And he looked at me before I could knock and said “Hey Henry, come on in and make yourself at home.” As I walked inside, he was still working on papers. So I had to wait for a little bit. I looked around the living room. I sat down and I could see all these folk, family photos, his wife Shirley is Black, and he has four biracial children two boys and two girls. Before I knew it, Arnold was calling me into his study. And as I sat across from him, he said, “Well Henry tell me why you hate Middlebury so much and why you wanna transfer?” I just, you know, unloaded not one to ever mince words. I said, “You know what? I just don’t feel at home here. Don’t take this the wrong way, but how do you do it? You’re a white guy, teaching history and anthropology to Black kids in St. Croix. How do you fit in? How do you not feel always like an outsider or like you don’t belong?” He started laughing and just said, “Well, you know you get right to the point, don’t you. And I like that. I like people that are direct, but listen I just finished up reading your paper or I asked you to tell all your students my students will tell me about themselves. And I noticed we have a lot in common. Like you, I grew up poor. I grew up in the Appalachian area of Ohio the first in my family to go to college and being the first is always hard especially at a place like Middlebury, where the playing field is not always even. “So I’m gonna propose this. You come and meet me two to three times a week. I will go over your course syllabus with you. You know, we can talk about your readings. I can recommend additional readings. I can even read your papers before you submit them. And we’ll help level the playing field together. “Think about it. You don’t have any, there’s no pressure. If you don’t wanna do this, this is an independent study. You’re not gonna get any credit for it. So this is on you.” I mean, I remember I didn’t take me long to agree to it. I mean, I just, I was shocked. I thought he was gonna refer me to a guidance counselor or a Dean, like a couple of other professors I spoke this, spoke to about this. But instead he was offering me a chance to make my dream come true of graduating from college. I readily said yes, from that point on, on online met twice sometimes three times a week either a panel house in Marble Works that little Chinese restaurant or at their house in Chipman Park. Every single time he would, the door would always be open. And he would say, “Henry come on in and make yourself at home.” We started with the classics. We did Greek philosophy, Roman philosophy. We did literature and history as well. In those four years that I was at Middlebury. Arnold made me feel at home. Yeah, taken me, you know, him and Shirley had become my surrogate parents while I was there. They had given me a home where I can go and be myself and teaching me, you know, how to become more academically proficient in this environment. He was telling me that I belonged in any room that anyone else was at but I was just as good as anybody else. You know, I had gone from being on academic probation. That’s first semester to being on the Dean’s list and eventually an academic scholar after that. On September 8th, 2019, Arnold Raymond Highfield passed away. After 23 years of friendship, I felt just as lost as I did back in 1997 when I first got to Middlebury. I had lost my friend, my father figure, my mentor, and my confidant. I could always talk to him about anything. The feeling of loneliness and isolation was further compounded by the pandemic. Like all of us, our family, Veronica my wife and my five-year-old daughter, Mia. We were stuck in our two-bedroom apartment in Spanish Harlem cooped up trying to stay safe. Like so many other families, we decided to look to purchase a weekend place. So we can have an escape valve where Mia could run around. We looked at many homes and finally settled at one in Woodstock, New York in the Catskills. As I drove up to the open house, the GPS turned on and it said something that I will never forget. It said “Make a left on Arnold Drive and make a right on Raymond Road and you’ll arrive.” So this day Arnold Raymond Highfield is still leading me home. Thank you.

- Henry, thank you so, so very much for sharing that story. I there’s tears in my eyes and I’m having trouble collecting myself. I’m so sorry that you lost this person so recently and I’m so grateful that you shared your story of this of this mentorship and this friendship and this relationship with all of us. Thank you so very much for your story. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Are you kidding? Y’all it’s it’s, you know, we have to get out of the Zoom but just, I don’t know about you, but I could do this for hours and hours. It’s just like, feels like such a deep gift. It’s a gift and an honor to receive these stories. And I, and I know you’re feeling the same way. I mean, the chat is blowing up and I encourage folks to continue to chat in your love to our storytellers as I close out our our night together with a few thank yous. So Joe, you can go ahead and if you’d like to put it on gallery view so we can see all stories all are storytellers, storytellers, first and foremost we just have to thank you all again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being here with us, for sharing your stories for your craft, for your courage, your sensational. So let’s hear it one more time for them. And if you’re listening in and you can’t applaud please go ahead and put that love in the chat. Couple other, thank you. Is Catherine McCarthy, my dear friend colleague and most importantly, fellow Middlebury mom and Java Soprano. Thank you for directing this show with me to Midd’s Office of Advancement, particularly Maggie Payne, Meg Story Groves, Alanna Shanley. Thank you so very much for giving us all of the support allowing this to be possible forging the way for this event. Thank you, Joe and Media Dervices. Thank you so so much for running tech and last but not least, all of you for showing up in this virtual realm and be holding these stories and being here together and sharing the space with us and creating this community. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your time and your attention. I hope you feel has changed and is enlivened and touched by these stories as I do. And a quick reminder, folks keep tuning in for this Reunion at Home series tomorrow night 8:00 PM of Brad Corrigan achievement achievement award winner is gonna host a night of music and storytelling. Please don’t tell me you didn’t have a dispatch phase. I know you’re lying. Don’t miss it. You don’t wanna miss it. So I hope to see you then. And once more, if you’d like to put some love in the chat before you head out and we’ll say, thank you and good night.

Reunion Remarks from President Laurie L. Patton

- Good morning, everyone. Welcome to all of our alumni and friends who are joining us this morning. We’re thrilled to have you with us. I’m Colleen Fitzpatrick the vice president for advancement at Middlebury. It was so fun to see everyone in chat and all the various places you’re joining us from. Hearing from the President is always one of the highlights of reunion weekend. While we can’t be in person in Wilson Hall or convocation in the Chapel this year we are delighted to maintain this tradition. From her first days in office, President Patton has invited the wider community to work together to design the next agenda for Middlebury. Building on Middlebury’s unparalleled combination of intellectual rigor, practice and experience. In her inaugural address she described the vision of a Middlebury that would actively engage with the most critical issues facing society and challenge the community to have more and better arguments with greater respect, stronger resilience and deeper wisdom. In 2016, President Patton launched Envisioning Middlebury, the planning effort that created the strategic framework to guide Middlebury over the coming decade. In her time as President, she and her team have raised more than $70 million for financial aid scholarship gifts and have inaugurated several new programs focusing on inclusivity on the campus. In 2019, Laurie and her team launched Energy2028 Middlebury’s ambitious environmental plan to be fueled by a hundred percent renewable energy by 2028. Building on Middlebury’s achievement of carbon neutrality in 2016. I remember my first year at Middlebury that was such an accomplishment. Under her leadership in the pandemic year Middlebury has had not only one of the lowest rates of COVID positive cases in the nation but also vibrant student life here on campus. Laurie is an authority on South Asian history, culture, religion, and the author or editor of nine books in the field. And she has translated Classical Sanskrit text, “The Bhagavad Gita.” President Patton earned her BA from Harvard University in 1983. I almost said 1998, that would make you quite the prodigy Laurie. And her PhD from the University of Chicago in ‘91. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018. President Patton will speak for about 12 minutes and we’ll have a Q&A if you have questions during Laurie’s comments put them in the Q&A button at the bottom the chat function will be turned off. We’ll handle all the questions that we can but it is my pleasure now to welcome Laurie Patton to share her remarks with you. Thank you.

- Thank you so much Colleen and hello friends and thank you for joining us today. It is in fact, a beautiful day in Middlebury. I’m not sure whether that is welcome or unwelcome news given that I know you all wanna be here. It’s a 70 degree, sunny Middlebury and where I’m looking out we would have had the tents to welcome the 25th and the 50th at the President’s home. I know this is not the reunion you envisioned as you were planning your classes, celebrations last fall. And like you, I was looking forward to celebrating your time at Middlebury and the community that you created as students and have nourished so well as alums. But while we’re not together in person stamping canes, cheering the 50th reunion class and acknowledging the members of the 70th and 75th reunions, one of my favorite moments, I am still delighted to share this time with you and celebrate this special place that is Middlebury and the special people who are Midd alums. Our oldest alums celebrating with us are from the Class of ‘46. Many of them served in World War II. Members of our 50th reunion Class of ‘71 were in the vanguard of the women’s and civil rights movements. Our 25th reunion Class of ‘96 helped to create the technological changes that we take for granted today. And our youngest alums face new challenges and are finding collaborative and imaginative ways to address the intractable issues of our day. And our alumni, I’m proud to say across the generations are fulfilling Middlebury’s mission which is leading creative consequential lives and contributing to their communities. So this week we’ve been celebrating your Middlebury past, present, and future. We are celebrating you and your bond to Midd and to each other. And we’re celebrating your smarts, your resilience, your generosity, your wisdom, and your optimism. Congratulations, particularly to Shabana Basij-Rasikh of Class of ‘11, Heather Vuillet Lende Class of ‘81, and Brad Corrigan Class of ‘96, for their remarkable work earning this year’s alumni achievement awards, and Ann Einsiedler Crumb and Jim Keyes for their 50th reunion for their tireless volunteerism and dedication to Midd earning this year’s Alumni Plaque Awards. And I wanna thank the Reunion Committee members who organized so many virtual class events over the past months leading up to and beautifully complementing the rest of the Reunion Week programming. Thank you to everyone who’s made a gift in honor of their time at Midd and to the classmates who worked tirelessly to ensure that your college has the resources it needs for today’s students and tomorrow’s. And a special shout out again to the members of the Classes of ‘96 and ‘71 celebrating their milestone 25th and 50th reunions. Congratulations, I miss dancing and feasting with you under the Middlebury tents. It has been quite a year as we look ahead with hope and back with hindsight, I wanted particularly to share Middlebury’s COVID story with you, the story of how we pivoted and what we will take away from the experience of the past 15 months. Let me begin with a basic extraordinary fact. Middlebury was open for in-person residential learning all year and Middlebury had one of the lowest if not the lowest rate of positive cases of any college in the country this year. We have from the faculty as well as the townspeople two tributes in the Addison Independent recently celebrating our work together particularly that of the students in the pandemic. It took a deep commitment to the community not just the campus community, but the broader community and to putting one another’s health above everything else. That commitment was reflected in the simple sentiment in the note I received on my porch, one October evening from the student residence in an off-campus house, “We want to make this year a successful year and we promise we will work together with you President Patton.” The note of course was accompanied by home-baked cookies. We all knew what messages were being given but those cookies are always a plus. And they did make it a successful year. And we did make it a successful year. Students particularly demonstrated it daily through faithfulness in the simplest things by wearing a mask, washing hands, respecting physical distancing, through faithful attendance at the testing center, Mondays, Thursdays, Mondays, Thursdays, Mondays, Thursdays over and again, they appeared. They found a way to continue learning online as if it had always been this way. They called their professors more often. They focused on collaborative classes with their fellow Midd students in China and Turkey and California. They learned with their professors how to do sustainable and affordable chemistry experiments. They created new ways to be artistic. They built a new stage upon which they could perform outside and safely. They danced at night on Battell Beach. The music broadcast throughout the whole campus. The long arguments on philosophy or literature or the power of science continued. Our teams continue to practice even when they couldn’t play. And those team practices were a different kinds of dance across Middlebury’s fields. And then we were able to have competition in the spring, another joyous moment. Climate change activism created new partnerships with the residents of the town. Students planned and flawlessly carried out powerful protests with members of the town in a year of racial reckoning. They challenged us to more directly confront systemic racism in our country and on our campus. And they did this through kindness. They did this through mutual aid initiatives that helped other students through signing on for peer counseling groups more than ever before. They planned with dining services to have birthday meals for friends in quarantine. They tutored primary and secondary school students online more than ever before. And in the spring they made sure peers could get the vaccine. They held fundraising drives for essential workers at Middlebury and in Addison County. When asked in a questionnaire, they said that they cared about their peer’s health as a first priority their own health was ranked number two. And my leadership team and faculty and staff in turn demonstrated the same commitment to community daily practices and the ways that they worked overtime to provide meaningful and engaging experiences for our students while promoting health and safety for all. They reached out and held more office hours for faculty than ever before. And faculty found ways to think about learning together and learning apart that would still give students a Middlebury education. They found creative ways to work with students through Zoom and our coaches held practices and worked with their teams from fall through spring and took advantage in a vibrant way of the limited competitive season that NESCAC sanctioned. Our staff created opportunities for our students to be together with friends, skiing and snowshoeing on the Ralph Myhre Golf Course and skating on an outdoor rink just outside of Old Chapel, for example. And on winter term, they set up tents for activities and fire pits and hot chocolate huts. They designed in-person and remote stress busters to help students take a break and encourage calm and connection that helps students with pop-up events, peer counseling and so many other things. These are just a few of the many ways that our community members found to thrive during the pandemic. There were many high moments during this difficult year culminating in last month’s Class of 2021 Commencement. Graduates and their guests assembled at six separate outdoor venues to comply with pandemic health and safety regulations, each with a stage and large video screen. An event that was hard to imagine just a few months ago and one that required careful planning without the benefit of rehearsal, joyful bursts of applause and cheering could be heard all over campus from just outside Old Chapel to the driving range just near Hadley House. A commencement I had the honor of recognizing the man who led the successful effort to manage Middlebury’s COVID 19 response, Dr. Mark Peluso, Middlebury’s Chief Health Officer and college physician, and to present him with the first ever Middlebury medal inaugurated by the trustees and presented to the person whose humanitarian actions have contributed to the health and safety of the community in an extraordinary way. For the past year-and-a-half, Mark has worked ceaselessly in emergency conditions for the welfare of Middlebury with care and compassion for all. No Zoom call, no phone call no email went unanswered by Mark. And he was one of the first five Vermonters that we recognized at Commencement. Acclaimed playwright, composer, and musician Anaïs Mitchell delivered the 2021 Commencement address and received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree and shared with us one of her new compositions. The native Vermonter and daughter of faculty emeritus Don Mitchell is the creative force behind the hit Broadway musical “Hadestown” which won eight Tony Awards, including best musical. We also honor John B. Derrick, a leader in the Middlebury community who for more than 30 years served as the Trail Around Middlebury coordinator. And that TAM, Trail Around Middlebury, was an essential feature of our outdoor recreation in the pandemic for both students, faculty, staff and community members, Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont’s Commissioner of Health who directs statewide efforts to combat COVID-19 and has received national recognition for his leadership during the pandemic, was also recognized. We all know his voice in Vermont. And Curtiss Reed, Jr., a civil rights leader in Vermont and champion of equity and inclusion has dedicated his career to service, advocacy, and fighting for the rights of all Vermonters. He also joined us in being honored. And I think so far I’ve been sharing stories of our College community, but the dedication, creativity and concern for others apply equally to all of our programs. The Language Schools and Bread Loaf pivoted last summer to deliver an exceptional online experience. And the Middlebury Institute in Monterey went fully remote in March of 2020, and throughout this past year. And enrollment there actually grew by 20 percent this year as we discovered that great desire for online education among many potential students, particularly international students and those who are interested in international policy and translation and non-proliferation studies at Monterey. We are now developing online degree programs in Monterey to meet that growing need. And we accomplished all this while maintaining our academic standards. This year, Middlebury was recognized again as a top producing institution by the Fulbright Program. We’ve received more than 20 million in grants to support teaching, research and program development so far this year, our highest ever. Among our students are two Watson Fellows, three Fulbrights, two Critical Language Scholar grant recipients, two Udall Scholars, a Goldwater Scholar and one Humanity in Action summer Fellow. We also continue to innovate even in the pandemic. You might remember that in 2019, as Colleen mentioned we launched Energy2028, an ambitious goal to among other goals be powered by one hundred percent renewable energy by 2028. During this year our partner company Vanguard completed our biodigester which will be the second in Vermont and the first in the nation to directly fuel a college campus. It is producing gas now and will start fueling us in September. This year we will also move forward with one of the largest solar fields in Vermont to achieve this goal. And our students, faculty and staff are also working on modeling for 25 percent energy reduction and continuing to create a vibrant environmental curriculum. In residential life we also launched the pilot for Blueprint, an innovative residential life skills program that will focus on mentoring, time management, financial skills, networking, internships, and jobs. We’re very excited about our first cohort. So I am so proud of our community and of our faculty, staff, and especially our students and our alums for all the support that you gave us. So the outlook for the summer and fall is bright. We have much to look forward to and we’re excited about the prospect of returning to life at Middlebury and many of the ways we all miss while continuing to keep our community safe. Eight Language Schools will return to our campus for in-person learning with four remote with a full compliment of students this summer and incorporating lessons from last year. we will have in fact, the highest enrollment ever in our Language Schools, including our new twelfth school the school of Abenaki. The Bread Loaf School of English and Writers’ Conferences, we’ll reprise the remote programming that was so successful last summer. We’re very excited about participation there as well. We are planning for our return to more normal operations in the fall semester and anticipate a full fall of activities and programs where our students, faculty and staff will be able to be together in person. And come fall we will welcome a new class selected from the largest group of applicants in the College’s history representing a 30 percent increase in applicants over the previous year. The overall acceptance rate which includes students admitted through the College’s early admissions program is 15.7 percent. Our international students will represent 14 percent, our highest ever. And in a development that will be music to the ears of anyone who spent their first year in the Batts, otherwise known as Battell, we will begin construction this year on a new first-year dorm on the north side of what is known as Battell Beach. This new housing will house up to 284 students or nearly half of a typical first-year class. As I’ve heard from so many of you living in Battell was a rite of passage. And while it is notorious for its say outdated and unique features, I’ve also heard about the strong sense of community that flourished there and the friends made in your first year hall, who are among your best friends, 5, 15, 25, and even 65 years later. I wanna come back to that theme of community for a moment and to what it’s taken to keep our community strong. Early on, we made a commitment to prioritize people. We did not lay off employees. We paid all our staff throughout and made no reductions in salary or benefits. We made significant investments in testing PPE facts, changes, and technology. Everything we did was designed to support our people, our students, faculty, and staff and to keep our community safe. Pandemic-related costs amounted to over 60 million, as you might imagine. And in partnership with trustees, we came up with a financial plan and through careful stewardship of resources, we are in a strong position today. We have learned much about our own versatility, adaptability and resilience in the past year. What many of us thought might be a temporary shift for a period of weeks became a new way of learning and working. That was both challenging and rewarding. Changes that might’ve taken years were implemented in weeks and months. Middlebury is stronger and more innovative than it was 15 months ago and it already was strong and innovative. I am proud to be President of this exceptional community and to thank you and join you in celebrating your membership in it. Congratulations, Middlebury alumni as you celebrate your reunions. Thanks very much.

- Thank you so much, Laurie. That was absolutely fantastic. And although I’ve lived through the last year-and-a-half here I learned some things from your remarks today. So thank you. And I do encourage folks to put your questions in the Q&A it’s the button at the bottom of the screen, and I’ll be monitoring those. But the first question that I have for Laurie that some folks have suggested is you talked about all the experiences during COVID and lessons learned. If you think about all the lessons that we learned what is the one thing that you hope that we really do carry forward in the way that we do our day-to-day business and how we deal with each other here at Middlebury?

- It’s interesting. The thing that I noticed the most, even in the fall when everything was new and people were nervous about making it work and everyone was watching and so on, has to do with the fact that science became part of our regular public discourse. We had students saying, “Look, what is the best way to think about our dashboard?” We had people looking at the latest studies and the studies about variance. We had a lot of public conversation around the role of science and public health in our community. And I think that that was extraordinary to watch. We had our students really taking the lead in much of that. And a lot of that science was about taking care of each other. So that combination in the Middlebury public conversation around science and care together was what I would define as the best of Middlebury having more and better arguments with greater wisdom and deeper resilience and more wisdom. That really felt like the best of what Middlebury could bring to the conversation. I think a second thing that was very powerful for us was using online learning not as a substitute for in-person learning on our residential undergraduate campus but using it to help include more people. And that was really interesting to watch even in our faculty meetings or our staff meetings we had record attendance on Zoom on all of our town halls. We had a lot more democratic participation which I really loved. And I also think we had there better arguments too about how to move forward. At the same time in Monterey as I mentioned, because we went all remote we had modeled in our budget, a lower rate of participation and the fact that our participation shot up from our projections at around 20 percent really taught us something about the vibrancy of graduate education and the use particularly in a high international student population of how vibrant and engaging online learning can be. So we are working, and that was true at the Language Schools, which it was kind of like a love fest online last year, as well as Bread Loaf where we had these writing tutorials. So all of those online moves in our graduate education actually deepened Middlebury’s identity. And I think as we moved to in-person back to in-person in our graduate programs, we are going to be really thinking about how to deepen Middlebury’s identity in the online space as well. So those are some of the things that really have stuck with us, and I hope that we keep.

- Thanks, Laurie that was really helpful and as you were talking particularly about science and the combination of science and online and how we communicate really effectively I was reminded of Benjy Renton who just graduated who created the blog and the weekly newsletter Off The Silk Road. It was my go-to for the latest information on COVID. And I posted it on my Facebook page and told friends, “Go here this kid is gonna go someplace,” pardon me kid, “This young man is gonna go someplace,” ‘cause he knows how to pull data together and make it meaningful from many different sources. So thank you for triggering that to me as well.

- And Benjy was one of our people who showed up at every event with this camera was so deeply careful about the students and their behavior in the town. In our Vermont campus. One of the things that really moved me, one of the most moving moments for me was when a student said to me about January or February “We have finally earned this community’s trust,” meaning the town and the county of Middlebury had really been very vigorous about making sure that the people, students who lived in town and lived off campus really respected the safety of everyone around them. And November, I went to every single off-campus house that was about 50 or 60 visits in a day and day and a half. I brought every student living off campus a little goodie bag that said “Thank you so much for being wonderful. Here are cookies. Here’s a panther. Here’s a blanket. And remember that if you violate our rules you will no longer be able to learn with us.” So it was a little bit of tough love, but worked. And I think students really understood the challenge of earning the community’s respect.

- Yes. Well, Laurie that actually leads me to another question that is, as we think about coming back on campus in particular for our students and being in-person and opening up again and life back to normal, whatever that will be what do you think is the in-person experience that our students might cherish the most or that you look forward to on behalf of our students? Like what do you think about as you imagine life back on campus in the fall?

- I think what we heard consistently this year, as students battled with their own sense of isolation, even though they could meet, there were ways to meet and so on, was that there wasn’t, that off-chance meeting that many of them had particularly with their peers but also that spontaneous opportunity to create meaningful relationship with adults. And we started to hear that very early on that the way campus life was, was fine really lovely in so many ways, but that spontaneous off the cuff connection was hard for folks. It had to be really intentional all the time. And so one of the things we decided to do was work in the dining halls and through the dining hall. So we set up a lot of our student advisors just to happen to meet folks as they were sitting outside the dining halls I became a check-in person. I was a check-in staff in the dining halls. And sometimes people noticed and sometimes they didn’t. I sat outside with my two Great Pyrenees and had folks just hang out. So we really tried to create that spontaneity but I think people are genuinely excited about having that random meeting again. And that’s part of what is so amazing about in-person learning. The other thing that was deepened. And I think will be really interesting to see if we can carry with us is a sense of place. A lot of folks wrote about how it was disrupted because everyone was remote. But what we found is through our residential program the students who were here were thinking about place constantly, even folks who were in their dorms and happened to have all four classes remote most did not but there were some situations where that was the case. And even they were thinking about, okay when can we go to the broader county? When can we go downtown? And how do we take care of this place in a different way? The TAM the Trail Around Middlebury was a real sense of place for people. So that’s another thing that I think people are gonna be very excited about when they come back to Middlebury, is that sense of place and celebrating that sense of place, particularly as we move forward with our environmental goals.

- Thank you. Well, we have a couple questions in Q&A now and one is about student mental health. And so a lot of what you just said right now, Laurie about being back in person in those incidental experiences. We’ve read a lot in the media about the toll on student mental health at the younger ages and also in college. Can you talk a little bit about how Middlebury has increased the resources for student mental health and some innovations that we created this year for health in general?

- Yes, absolutely. That was a key support. And I want to give a shout out to Barbara McCall. Who’s our student health educator. She, along with Mark Peluso and Jen Kazmierczak who designed our campus had done incredible work. I’ll name three things I could go on and on about this but the first is that we increased access to health. So even though students might have shorter appointments they were able to get an appointment right away. That made a huge difference. Second, we increased our counseling staff. We were in the business of doing that anyway but that also combined with COVID through fellows and fellowships. Third, we also put on telehealth which is a program that allowed any student to have access to counseling services, no matter where they were if they were taking classes remotely from China they were able to call this Midd telehealth program 24/7 which was really helpful. And we also added to Midd telehealth a module for faculty and staff who might be concerned about a student’s mental health and could talk to a counselor about how they should approach it, particularly online but also in person. We also increased peer counseling which has made a huge difference, particularly online peer counseling, to talk and just share experiences of what it was like to be in isolation. So those are some of the major things. There are lots of other minor things. We also, I think when I asked Barbara what her success was about, she says we actually asked students in advance what would be the most helpful design for them? And instead of saying, “Hey, let’s do this. And this is what best practices are.” Generally speaking we wanna follow those. But in addition, we asked students to design with us what health looks like. There’s a wonderful example of a student in September going through her day and sharing with other students what health practices look like for her. So that support of co-creation of health practices and mental health practices in particular with students I think made a big difference. And I’ll just end by saying that we’ve also hired a new head of health, Alberto Soto, who is a wonderful colleague. He spent a lot of time in Idaho growing up. He’s a product of a small liberal arts and science college. And he was one of the head of the counseling services at Swarthmore. And he will be joining us and we’re real excited to have him join us as well. So I could go on a lot, but thank you for that question. It’s great.

- Great, that’s great news. And I appreciate you sharing that about Alberto’s joining us following the retirement of a long-term Middlebury person who led us through some really tough times over the years.

- A big shout out to Gus Jordan who is a pillar of our community and much loved and adored he’s been incredible.

- Yes. Well earned retirement for him and his wife, Laurie. So we do have a couple of questions in there about return to more in-person for alumni. And so as we think about that there’s a question about lessons learned from the reunions of the last two years, even as we think about moving forward with reunion next year, but also in-person alumni events both on campus and out in the regions in the coming year. And I have some thoughts about that but as our President, Laurie, what would you like to say about coming back into that face-to-face world with alumni?

- I will let you share some of the things that you’re excited about in a sec but one of the first of all, Alumni College, very excited about Alumni College emerging that is such a staple for us. And as some of you know I’ve tried in other institutions I’ve been at unsuccessful to create alumni colleges and Middlebury was always my model. So what a privilege to be able to have that. And I think the second thing is that we saw like we did with staff and faculty and students increased participation through Zoom on so many different levels. Faculty at Home was a huge hit. And so those are the kinds of things, creating Zoom events where more people from broader distances can participate. So exciting to see that. And secondly, creating places where there’s more interaction between alums and the folks who are building Midd today not just through administration and two or three select faculty, but having every couple of weeks Faculty at Home series, we just had a wonderful one, the History of Old Chapel by Glenn Andres I just was attending just to listen to it and then created I didn’t quite realize it a Zoom bomb event. So I was able to talk a little bit about life and in Old Chapel today. It was a fantastic lecture. And faculty also love doing it. And so I think creating those events alongside of the in-person invitational events is something everyone is excited about continuing and I in particular am excited about continuing as we move forward with our next steps in building Middlebury.

- Thanks, Laurie. You basically said most of what I was going to say. I think particularly for reunion what we saw was these events by class leading up to what was a digital reunion or a virtual reunion. But I think about all the classes that held some really fun events to share classmates who are authors, talking about being writers and classmates who were pursuing other. And I think that we can facilitate even more to build the cohesiveness of the class prior to coming back in-person and having that experience of being together. So we definitely have lessons learned. And I think that that is again we’re all grateful to be coming back together. On the one hand, on the other hand we know that we’ve learned a few things and we have actually run a little bit over the time that we had. So I really appreciate everyone who showed up on this beautiful Saturday morning, going into the afternoon soon. And I wanna thank you Laurie, for your time and your your comments. It’s been a fabulous week. As Laurie said, I too chimed into Glenn Andres and learned things about the Old Chapel building that I never knew before. And so many other things that I’ve learned this week and all year. So most of the events that we’ve had this year have been recorded, they will be posted soon. So if you happen to miss any of the events, particularly the conversations with some of our alumni award winners please do check that out on the reunion website. There’s one more event. We do have The Grift tonight at 7:00 PM. So chime in and get your dancing shoes on wherever you are. That expression dance as if nobody’s watching in this case, maybe nobody’s watching but have fun anyway. So thank you to everyone who called in and Zoomed in today. We were so glad to share thoughts from our President Laurie Patton, with you. Thank you for everything that you do for Middlebury, and we wish you all the best. And we cannot wait to welcome you back to campus in five years. And actually we hope really before that. Thank you so much.

- Come often and come soon and see you soon.

- Thanks.

- [Laurie] Bye.

A Service of Remembrance and Celebration

- Hello and welcome to this brief service of remembrance and celebration as part of our virtual Reunion Week programming. I’m Mark Orten, dean of spiritual and religious life at the College and it is my pleasure to be with you this way today. In beautiful and powerful ways, this week we have reunited virtually and surely this has been a way to renew and strengthen the bonds that have endured the distances between us, both spatial and temporal because of a special connection to this place and our experiences here. Because we know and understand the meaning of this special place for us. We also make a point as now a regular part of our formal institutional recognition to pause, to acknowledge that Middlebury College sits on land which has served as a site of meeting and exchange among Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial. The Western Abenaki are the traditional caretakers of these Vermont lands and waters which they call Ndakinna or homeland. We remember their connection to this region and the hardships they continue to endure. Let us take a moment of silence to pay respect to the Abenaki elders and to the Indigenous inhabitants of Turtle Island, past and present. We give thanks for the opportunity to share in the bounty of this place and to protect it. We are all one in the sacred web of life that connects people, animals, plants, air, water and earth. And so with that continuity of time and place for generations, even until now, may each of you wherever you are be fully present in this moment as we remember those whom we have lost and as we celebrate our time together at Middlebury, past, present, and beyond. You are here and remain here, we are connected. So let us engage this time with heartfelt reflection and sharing. A Tibetan master asks, “If everything changes, then what is true? If everything is impermanent, then what can we hold onto? Is there something behind the appearances, something boundless and infinitely spacious and loving in which the dance of change and impermanence takes place?” Surely it is through memory and celebration that we remain connected to that which we cannot hold onto. Our truth is the tie that binds us to each other through shared experiences. Deep and spontaneous laughter and moments of tragedy or heartache. Times of mundane residence hall interactions or rehearsals, or study sessions or late night conversations, or outdoor expeditions. These are the moments extended and stretched that wrap around us like blankets when we let them. With them, we rest awhile and renew that laughter, touch that sadness, open ourselves in tenderness to what truly has passed between us and give thanks for what has been. So let us take a moment now to sense that space within us where we remain connected across all time, across all of our own personal changes and losses. And let us gather into our memories as from a field of flowers, those special ones whose budding was but for and all too brief a time, but whose radiance is indelible and whose lasting impact remains. Oh moment this of Reunion convocation, may we be fully here with you and dwell in you for just this brief time, gathered together wholly. Come wholly now and bring to us all our blessed recollections of beautiful days before, of difficult days before. With gratitude for the promises kept during these blessed college years, for friendships made and mentorships forged, for the inevitable sense of belonging and the deepening of our being. Bless our sweet renewal in sacred turnings that we have known here then and now through challenges met, and hardships endured and transformations undergone. Let us be filled with the sacred hope that comes in that turning, in that fullness and so we pause. Those who have been part of our experiences here to acknowledge them. Those who came to know us and that we came to know and love and who in this last year have passed on, friends, partners, spouses, children and parents. We pause to acknowledge by a quiet naming of their names, their continued presence with us as we embrace their memory. Amen. Come now reunion celebrations and share with us also your delights. May what happens to us in this space of time, in this special moment of reunion, of remembrance and celebration let it remind us of all that is right and good and true in our lives. By our experiences at this college and beyond. We are so grateful for this opportunity to gather as alumni and family and friends to celebrate our reunion. To acknowledge sorrow for our losses but also to share hope for renewal in the connectivity through our ties with Middlebury. Especially all who are part of the classes of Ones and Sixes. Here now, as we close this time of remembrance and celebration and indeed this week of reunion, of festivities, a blessing and a benediction. Oh, a divine moment, our hearts are made glad by such sweet convocations, sweet reunions. Make it our practice to notice and to be glad. And oh, divine noticing, let it be our posture, our orientation from this gathering to be generous and open and receptive to that what each moment holds. Let us set our intention to be right and true and good ourselves as we are now to each other, as we would be for the whole world. And as we have been learners in this place, and companions in this time together. May it be for us always as this, for the sake of kindness and compassion as ever good stewards of our consciences, caretakers of our consciousness. And to each and every one of you, go now and enjoy each other, rejoicing in your bonds of affection, your togetherness of intention and your shared community of Middlebury Blue. Blessed be, ameen, amen and amen. See you soon.

The Story of Arlington National Cemetery

- Like to start off by saying, hello, my name is Peter Wood. I am a member of the Class of 1971 celebrating my 50th reunion with a lot of great classmates. And we’ve been doing it virtually. And by way of just a little background as to why I’m doing this in January of 1972, after graduating I served on the active duty as a second Lieutenant in the United States Army Medical Service Corps. I was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado where I served for a short time with Al Perry, class of ‘70. I see Al you’re here. Hope we’ll get together some point and I can safely say and I bet Al can vouch for this that Mash was alive and well in the US army at Fort Carson when we were there. After that, I got my MBA and a concentration in healthcare administration from Cornell University, served as the executive director of Clifton Springs Hospital in upstate New York then went to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rochester. I ran claims operation and also ran a 400,000 member health maintenance organization for a total of 12 years between the two. In 1995, my wife and I moved to Maine where I became the first executive director of the Maine Medical Center Physician Hospital Organization based in Portland, Maine. I retired in May of 2013 and my reason for giving all this information to you is because I was a European and non-Western history major but I found my career by virtue of my experience in the military. And there was a great, great place to start. It got me off in a very rewarding and meaningful career. So I’m sure others can share that same experience based on their military and other experience as well on the national side. This zoom webinar is going to offer a variety of ways for you to access the content and to participate. First, you might notice that there is a close captioning button on the bottom of your screen. We have activated the transcription feature during this webinar and you can turn it on or off as you prefer. We love seeing folks I’m glad some of you many of you have put your information in the chat while we were waiting. But we are going to turn the chat feature off during the talk to minimize the distraction. We will be focusing on the Q and A button. So please, if you have questions during the presentation put it in the Q and A and we will be tracking them. After our keynote speakers presentation we’ll have about 12 to 15 minutes to answer any questions that you might have. I will get it to as many of them as they can. I’ve got some backup that’s keeping an eye on the questions so that we can lump them together so that we can answer as many as can. After that we’ll have another brief presentation and then questions about Middlebury Veterans Give Back which is sponsoring this program this afternoon. I know we want to get going and hear what the presentations but let me take a moment just to cover some logistics. Your microphones were all muted when you joined, you’re welcome to have your cameras on or off, whichever you prefer and are comfortable with. If you have questions during the webinar please put it in the Q and A. We are keeping an eye on, as I said, and we’ll get to them at the end in as many as possible. We expect the program will run about 90 minutes, an hour and a half. With those logistical points, let me now introduce Jim Shattuck from the class of 1962. Jim is among the leaders of Middlebury Veterans Give Back, a collection of about a hundred alumni a few students and staff and friends of Middlebury College who are serving or have served in the military or some other form of national service whether Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, FBI, defense state Homeland Security departments, et cetera. He is one of 30 army ROTC products from his class. Now, there were also another 12 who enlisted in the military from 1962. And even after 59 years, Jim will tell you the need for giving back. And that’s important part of our, the mission. One’s perspective and experience with service to our country at all levels, especially national security it is now that that’s important especially with today’s students and emerging leaders. Jim’s experience in the army started in 1962 and was followed by employment with the central intelligence agency and multiple overseas and domestic assignments with Exxon mobile. Please welcome Jim Shattuck.

- Thank you, Peter. Unfortunately, president Patton is unable to join us today due to her attendance at an out-of-town funeral. If you know Middlebury college, you know president Patton. Middlebury’s 17th president is clearly a friend and a leader of the Middlebury Veterans Give Back community. Laurie has participated in every veterans gathering like this since joining Middlebury in 2015 and her direct and none reserved sport for veterans and national service is abundantly clear. As president, Laurie and her leadership team have advanced her vision for Middlebury as an institution that actively addresses society’s most challenging problems and have become institutionalized in envisioning Middlebury, a strategy that includes lifelong engagement with Middlebury, educational collaboration and partnership. If they say the first six years of being a college president are the hardest and one of those includes a pandemic we on the Midd Vets Give Backside will say we are here to help make Laurie’s year seventh easier than any before, especially when it comes to connecting with Middlebury students, alumni, faculty, administration and friends of the College and encouraging national service military and national security. So how might we be able to make Laurie’s 2021 and beyond a bit easier? Let’s take a good look at Midd Vets Give Back. Midd Vets Give Back is a loosely organized but dedicated group of around 11 alumni leaders who agree on one thing. Middlebury College can add yet greater value to the liberal arts experience by recognizing and delivering graduates to national service including military and national security. That means talking about it publicly, bringing an awareness to undergrads and grads about how to serve, recognizing and connecting with alumni who can and want to help. And in general, adding national service to the rich repertoire of careers the College promotes. Tactically, our only effort is to provide yet another College forum for giving back knowledge, experience, support and commitment, but in this case, for all things related to national service, including military. That comes in many forms. For undergrads and grads including the Middlebury Institute that can mean mentoring and sharing perspective about the rigors of academic preparation and practical application of lessons learned. For alumni it can mean the opportunity to share experience, make referrals and offer support if and when needed. For faculty, Midd Vets Give Back and be a real-world resource for experience and perspective professors of the practice concept, if you will available everywhere. And for Middlebury College, increasing numbers of graduates involved in national service, including military and national security in today’s world, give credence to the mission of addressing the world’s most challenging problems. National service, including military and national security means thinking about preparing for and addressing head-on pandemics such as COVID, SARS and avian flu, swine flu, artificial intelligence, climate change, cyber disruptions and global nuclear war. To put it straight, the Midd Vets Give Back mission is to do all we can to help the College deliver more grads to national service. Got it? Let’s take a quick look back at some recent accomplishments in that regard. First, we believe it important to note the fact these annual veterans gatherings continue and enjoy the support of president Patton as well as her predecessors over the years. Second, the significant interface now in place with Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, both in terms of leadership, but also with respect to its veterans organization and the institute’s center for advising and career services deserves mentioned. Third, you’ll recall in 2019 and working with the faculty and administration, Mike Haney, class of ‘64 delivered a J term course on the Vietnam war that students found impactful. And in some cases reported after the course, I had never heard or thought much about that before. Fourth, our interface with alumni and parent programs and the center for careers and internships in Vermont has strengthened. And fifth, our super founder and organizer of all things Midd Vets Give Back, Dick Powell Class of ‘56 recently completed the prodigious work of researching and listing alumni who served in the military going all the way back to the class of 1941. Think of that. Class by class, year by year, over the past get this 80 years that’s paid zero. That’s what got this thing started recognizing military service, connecting it to Middlebury College and making a stand for stronger advocacy for national service including military. So these accomplishments over the past year or two do make a difference. What about 2021? Let’s take a look first of two slides, please Danielle. Keeping in mind the College commitment to preparing students to lead engaged, consequential and creative lives, contribute to their communities and to address the world’s most challenging problems Midd Vets Give Back is working against these goals. Number one, to support the College’s policy to encourage students and alumni, to consider careers in national service including civilian and military. Second, to encourage veterans to share their stories and artifacts with the Davis Family Library so that students and alumni can easily access and learn about military service. And third, to continue to recognize Middlebury students and alumni for their service to America. That’s it, three goals. All consistent with the College mission. And I would add the College’s envisioning America or I’m sorry, Envisioning Middlebury a framework for the future President Patton, the office of the provost and her senior leadership team have embraced. Now with goals in place we are working on a number of specific objectives to achieve those goals. Next slide, please Danielle. Here you will see. Pardon me for a moment. Here you will see priorities around building and expanding partnerships with Middlebury’s institutional leaders, both in Vermont and in Monterey. Here’s what we’re doing now aiming at year-end accomplishment, administration and faculty matter, priorities and partnerships begin here. Midd Vets Give Back is 100 percent dependent on Old Chapel leadership including not only with President Patton but also her leadership teams in Admissions, the Provost’s Office, Communications and Marketing, Finance and Administration and more. Outreach initiative started in January and are progressing well again with thanks to Laurie and her leadership team. Let’s look at some of the key players, admissions and the dean of admissions Nicole Curvin. Given that students start here, Midd Vets Give Back leaders will do all we can to support the admissions process including attracting military veterans to seek attendance, admits that is if that becomes a priority for the admissions team. Nearly 12,000 candidates applied to Middlebury this year with the expectation of 620 admits in the fall and another 100 next February. If there are or were applicants with service experience in that mix and admissions needs another voice of encouragement or perspective, perhaps a Midd Vets Give Back volunteer can help. We started that discussion with the dean of admissions Nicole Curvin in January and remain encouraged. Let’s take a look at career services led by Peggy Burns in Middlebury and career and academic advisor Elizabeth Bone in Middlebury in Monterey. Thanks to ongoing collaboration and creative energy in Middlebury and Monterey. These partnerships define Midd Vets Give Back value and sustain what we do. One need only to look at services each entity provides its students and alumni and to understand the bridges of opportunities for students, alumni and especially Midd Vets Give Back volunteers. We are experiencing giant steps on both fronts such as the spring in Monterrey with the emergence of a new and revitalized veterans organization as well as direct support from Jeff Dayton-Johnson, MIIS’s leader there, and Dean of the Institute. Matt Kushar’s oversight amid the Midd and the Midd Vets Get Back platform is another example. Let’s turn out to the alumni office, alumni and parent programs in particular Mid Vets Give Back would not be where it is today without ongoing and everlasting support from Lyn DeGraff and her colleagues throughout the Alumni Office and the rest of the College. Lyn is and has been involved in every step along the way in our growth. And we depend on her ideas resourcefulness and I might add patience. Let’s take a look at the Davis Family Library and his special collections and archives department. This my friends can be a miracle in the making for Midd Vets Give Back because it reflects simply the drive to encourage military veterans to tell their story. Give it to us in whatever form is easy. Personal experiences, books or treaties, interview examples of what you did years ago that give evidence on giving back. Whatever makes sense to you. Talk about how you serve, why you serve and especially how your service helped you and others later in life. This can be especially relevant for leaders of any age to share with colleagues and potential leaders in their 20s, 30s and 40s. These stories with your permission can be archived in the Davis Family Library or placed online on a yet to be devolved webpage. Colleagues, Fred Stetson will have some important remarks about that later in today’s program. And finally, throughout the year we have introduced a number of outreach initiatives that include the Middlebury Alumni Association, as well as active dialogue with peer schools, NESCAC schools, Ivies, examples of Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth the Naval Academy, and others. We were also like many volunteer driven organizations aware of a need of succession planning. And this in the end maybe our Achilles heel. Our leadership is for the most part if not all, silent generation. That means folks in new 76 to 96 age span. To continue the mission to sustain what’s been done this home grown group of givers needs to transition to the baby boomers or the Gen Xers or both. That’s an imperative, that’s an order. It is said, build it and they will come, like any new enterprise Midd Vets Give Back concepts, need leaders and doers. And as you’ve all heard before all are welcome. So this brings us back to today’s starting point. How can Middlebury College deliver more graduates to national service including military and national security? Here are some possible answers or at least approaches and hopefully you’ll have some shareable ideas as well. First, let’s look at the College for a public statement that recognizes and can actively promote national service including national and military security. That’s ensure that that is consistent with the College mission and can be advanced throughout the College community. Second, think about the big picture. National service, military service, national security in today’s world. The need for younger generations to prepare for and or avoid potential catastrophes, weather pandemics, weather climate change, artificial intelligence or war. How much you encourage a Middlebury graduate or student to tackle the big picture, especially when that person is in his or her 20s and 30s. Third, think about what you can do now. Connect with the College, offer opinions and ideas. Participate in webinars, offer your stories perhaps even artifacts from your service experience. Mentor a student, get involved with Midd Vets Give Back. There are a hundred members in that platform in that Horton in the mid to mid organization. And I would encourage you to take a look at If you need help with any of these ideas, contact Lyn DeGraff or me. And then finally fourth, think about the implications if you do nothing. Think about the implications of the big picture if you do nothing. In short while Midd Vets Give Back can simply be a small part of the much bigger picture with respect to preparing students to address the world’s most challenging problem we are organizing to help, whether Vermont or Monterey the Language Schools, Schools Abroad, the school of English or the School of Environment, the Midd Vets Give Back organization, tiny and unstructured as it may be stands ready to help president Patton make national service including military and national security a very public part of its institutional identity. Thank you for listening. And now let me reconnect you with Peter Woods.

- Thank you, Jim. Appreciate that as a great overview and explanation of Middlebury Vets Give Back and maybe as I’m introducing our keynote speaker we could have his introductory slide up. So we can do that. Our keynote speaker today is Roderick Gainer. He is currently the chief curator of Arlington National Cemetery. Clearly one of our nation’s most important shrines. He has regularly conducted tours and ceremonies on behalf of the cemetery for the last three years. Prior to working at Arlington, Mr. Gainer was a curator with the US army center of military history and worked with the Army’s core collection at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The graduate of Arizona state bachelor’s degree in George Mason University masters, Rod has worked in public history for over 19 years. Rod is also my nephew. And he and I have shared many stories over the years. Things that he’s seen and he knew as a history major I’d be interested in, I continue to appreciate it. But most particularly a few years ago, Rod gave my wife and myself a two and a half hour tour of the cemetery, while it is the final resting place for those who served our country. Rod brought it to life and the stories of the unknown and famous buried there. It is truly a living Memorial for all Americans and it was a moving and unforgettable experience. But with that, it is very much my pleasure to introduce Rod Gainer and becoming the nation’s premier national cemetery. Rod, thank you for being with us this afternoon.

- Thanks Peter. I hope you can hear me. Oh, I assume that we all can. As Peter said, I’m Rod Gainer. I’m curator of Arlington National Cemetery. I’ve been working with army historical collections for almost two decades fully now. And Arlington is a very, very special place. What we’re going to kind of talk about today is, where Arlington started and how it came to be, what it means today to most Americans. Next slide. And this is typical agenda. We’d go give you a lot of historical context and you’ll learn a lot about the early years of the cemetery and you’re going to learn a lot how we became what we are and that was largely due to Memorial Day. We weren’t the first place to have it but we were one of the first official places to have. We’ll skip the questions till the end. Next slide, please. We’re basically named after this state. This is Arlington house. It was started in 1804 and completed in 1818. It was the life work of George Washington Parke Custis now, his father had been a staff officer with George Washington and had died during the siege of Yorktown. Very much growing up in Washington’s shadow George Washington Custis will build his house to be an ode to our founding father, our premier founding father. And he envisioned it since on the land overlooking the new nation’s capital. Of interest, George Washington was an adopted grandson of Washington. Washington emulating British nobility at the time of the American revolution would adopt favored aids in gratuity. Remember he had no children himself he didn’t have it but Martha had some. At any rate his adopted son will build this house and it will overlook the new nation’s capital until of course the civil war when it is a very quickly occupied. If you’ve ever been out in Arlington’s Heights, you can clearly see that they dominate the capital and even in 1861 you could easily range any government building from those heights. So the day Virginia votes to ratify succession the army crosses the river and occupies the heights. This is May 24th, 1861. Next slide. As you’re all probably very aware the civil war was ghastly beyond belief. In comparison, if we had the same number of casualties, which we now estimate to be about 750,000 it would be the percentages of populations and such. It would be over 20 million today. Another good example is the famed battle of Shiloh in April of 1862. And those two days more men were killed in Maine than all of America’s previous wars put together up until that point. So it was demographically horrific. Washington bore a big brunt of that. It was kind of a poetic town in the middle of nowhere that emptied itself. And it was very sparsely populated the entire district with the exception of the government triangle area. War breaks out, population grows tremendously bringing even more petulance and a series of hospitals are set up. These hospitals very quickly run out of burial space. We were not the first military cemetery established not even close, even in the DC area. The first and oldest one is the one on the left of the slide, your left for everybody watching which is the Soldier’s Home National Cemetery, which is on Hamilton’s Hill, near Lincoln, Spain cottage that became that Hamilton itself had allegedly been a succession as the property was seized by the army about the same time Arlington was and they began to use it for burial space. After the war was established, began to rage in ‘62 they also established another national cemetery in Alexandria in 1862. Now we’re going to fast forward to 1864. Grants recently taken command of all federal armies and he began his famed overland campaign against Robert Edward Lee. Casualties are massive. These two cemeteries were filled to capacity as were the individual hospital cemeteries around DC. The Arlington state was quite large. If you’re familiar with the DC area it incorporated much of what is now Roslyn even down to the area that is around the national airport. It would made perfect sense to begin using the grounds as a field expedient to temporarily park corpses. Next slide please. And this becomes official on June 15th even though that was the official date we’ve actually begun to bury the army had begun to bury people there on May 13th, 1864. The first burial of course is William Chrisman, a private from Pennsylvania died of disease. Never having actually seen the enemy. Montgomery Meigs quartermaster general the United States army gets wind of this field expedient. Montgomery Meigs of course was a Georgian stayed loyal. Famously remarked it doesn’t say Georgia on my commission as an officer of the army of the United States and resented those southern officers we felt were traitors. So he did indeed choose to begin to bury people in the lower part of the cemetery. And there’s one key thing to keep in mind here. And that is, there was no honor to be buried in a national cemetery at that point. If you die in the service and remember most people die of disease the Navy would simply bury you at sea end of story. The army would would not pay to have your remains embalmed and shipped home. So say a young man from Madison Wisconsin died in one of these DC field hospitals. It could cost up to $120 to involve a body and ship it back north keeping in mind a private makes $13 a month at that time. So it was beyond the means of most families to have their loved ones returned. So what the army basically did is, okay, we will create this cemetery. We will market well, we will render honors when they’re buried and we’ll keep the grounds immaculate. And if you can ever raise money to have your loved ones disinterred, you can come and do so. That also meant that we buried people there who were executed by the military for traitors and we’ve got a couple of traders there even up into the cold war. I can talk about that a little bit later but it wasn’t the place of honor that it is now. It was essentially a pauper’s field. There’s two famous civil war sections. Actually there’s three. There’s one called the lower cemetery where Chrisman and a bunch of Confederate and some of the earlier burials to include Confederates were buried. There was the area right behind the house which is called the field of the dead. You can get a view of post-war view of that and that’s from right behind the house. And then of course they began to bury officers adjacent of the house especially after John Rogers Meigs, Montgomery Meigs’ son and a fellow west pointer is killed under kind of dubious circumstances in early October, 1864. He may have been summarily executed after surrendering by various elements of Mosby’s command. Next slide. This material, the lower part of the cemetery looked like immediately after the war. And I liked this photograph because it shows just how rude a lot of, you know, even organized field cemeteries were. This is some of the earliest burials. You’ll see some cemetery workers. That’s a temporary white clapboard structure that the superintendent lived in at that time. And right behind it to the tree line is the Old Columbia Pike. So you have virtually every regiment marching to and from DC would march by this area. And it made perfect sense to use it as a field expedient because you could get to it easier. This photograph I believe dates to the summer of September of 1865. So immediately after the close of possibilities. Next slide. This is the field of the dead taken in 1865. You can see that they have arranged the fallen soldiers in perfect harmony there that we still use this to this day. If you go to these spots, many of these graves are still there. One of the problems of course is these headstones are made of wood. They’re whitewashed wood with the number on top of it with the name and the unit so that they could quickly identify it. We don’t really go to stone headstones well until the 1870s the earlier ones were actually concrete. Very few of them survived very long. There’s only one or two left in the entire cemetery. Before in 1902 we got more prominent at stones which has seen a little bit of evolution since then. Of note, these are government issue headstones and these are now the only ones we do accept at Arlington. You can no longer get a private monument unless you have congressional approval. You can see how easily it would be to simply disinter somebody or to find somebody you so wished to go. And again, the local press dubbed this the field of the dead, which was pretty staggering. By the end of the civil war there were 16,000 dead soldiers buried at Arlington. Again, most of them died of disease but that was not terribly larger or smaller I should say in the district of Columbia’s population in 1859, 1860. Next slide. We talked about the wooden headstones before and how obviously they would get misplaced. Generally speaking, the victors of civil war battlefields would try to lay out their dead give them wooden headstones that they could be identified and then move on. The losers were often placed in burial trenches by the victorious army. The problem is of course is the civil war is very, very, very fluid and there’s a lot of movement back and forth especially along the Rappahannock basin where a lot of the campaigning is. This meant that a field cemetery even one from your own side, from the fall from the previous spring, new troops may move in. Guys need to make a coffee, need to cook their rations. And of course, Virginia is largely denuded of trees as was most of America at this time tree or trees of course are in the construction for materials and fuel. Usually the headstones ended up in cooking piles. So we knew that the soldiers were buried but their headstones were lost. There’s no DNA so the remains couldn’t really be gathered up with any degree of certainty. After the war Montgomery Meigs will make a massive effort to reclaim these last little cemeteries. We knew who they were but their headstones were long gone. What result is this structure? This is our first unknown too. This is right up by the house. This is this tomb of a civil war unknown. It’s dedicated in 1866. It is a giant ossuary underneath the four cannons which you could see is a large underground vault. And there are 2011 soldiers in there. We know that because that’s the number of skulls. There are probably Confederates in there as well we simply don’t know. Of interest after the war they paid contractors money to disinter the dead. They would pay you 20 cents per skull and then like 5 cents a pound for other bones. In fact it’s quite horrifying, glue factories were paying six cents a pound for horse bones to make glue. You can do the math. So you wonder how many union soldiers or Confederate soldiers ended up as glue or at least their bones did. Notice too, behind the main sarcophagus there in the middle. You will notice a temple. It looks like the Pantheon in Rome. That was called the temple of fame. Montgomery Meigs constructed that in about 1869, 1870. And you’ll have to excuse me, I’m a little remiss there I should know that. At any rate in 1959 the park service removed it in order to restore Mary Custis, Robert Lee’s wife to its original appearance. So it was torn down to make a rose garden. At that point, Robert Lee had sort of the same reputation as did George Washington. And I probably forgot that connection earlier and I do apologize. We talked about George Parke Custis, his eldest daughter will marry Robert Lee. Why didn’t I not mention it before? Because obviously it’s important. Lee never actually owns the property, his wife did. But the property was not seized to punish the Lees. Now, initially it was done as a field expedient to protect the capital. Now, Lee of course started leading armies in the field, he wasn’t paying his taxes then the government gleefully confiscated the property. In an ironic twist, Robert Lee’s eldest son who would have inherited the property does sue the federal government in the 1870s to get possession of it back wins the case. But of course, by that point the property is one big, vast cemetery. And he simply given a cut, he gets a check for about a hundred thousand dollars chunk of money to make up for the loss. So I apologize for leaving that fact weighed out. Next slide. So, civil wars ghastly. It’s beyond belief the number of casualties and. As the country comes to grip with this demographic disaster these commemorative events take on many different forms. Southern women actually began the tradition of laying flowers on graves thus decorating the graves during the war itself. There are numerous places that claim to be the birthplace of what is now modern day Memorial Day. The earliest that we could find which is the Washington Race Course in Charleston there several a hundred African-Americans union soldiers were buried and the free women decorated their graves. The first official place up north is generally considered to be Waterloo New York which is often declared the birthplace as well. And again, people would come out, speeches would be given veterans would parade and the fallen would be remembered. Next slide. This is John Logan 15th corps commander. One of Branton Sherman’s personal favorites political general, wasn’t a west pointer but a fantastic fighting general. He takes charge of the grand army of the Republic immediately after the war, which is as powerful a veterans organization that ever lived. Woe be those who, you know, cross the GAR who would constantly wave the bloody shirt during the reconstruction era. He will issue general order number 11 and 5th May ‘68 establishing a national Memorial Day. And that very, that 30th May the first national decoration day is held at Arlington National Cemetery. So we were the first government entity to actually have a Memorial Day as it is something. Of course, we continue to do this to this day. This year for the first time the president United States and the vice president both showed up to render honors on the same day that had never happened before. By that point, the over 25,000 people came out of DC on the surrounding areas to see that massive ceremony to see the 16,000 civil work graves that were then at Arlington National Cemetery. Next slide. Now, where they would meet is here. This is the old Tanner Amphitheater that’s we’ve recently, we just renamed it that. The old amphitheater is this small wooden structure. It was created in the early 1870s from an earlier temporary structure. It’s covered in wisteria and you’ll see a rostrum and there’s some better pictures of it coming up here in a little bit. And every day, the president, this was taken in 1903 would come out to speak and, you know, render honors and do those other things as well. Of interest, and by the turn of the century, 19th century that is 18 and 19, 20th century. You could get up to 50-60,000 people coming to watch the president speak which was not, again, which was pretty close to the population of the district of Columbia at that time, at least half of it. Also keep in mind between 1865 and 1901-3, US presidents are assassinated moving in the open. So the amphitheater was woefully inadequate, just sort of the needs of both Arlington and the nation during these solemn events. So we began later on, we realized that we would need an additional amphitheater. On a personal note, this amphitheater is still here. We’ve actually had it recently conserved and we renamed it the Tanner Amphitheater. William Tanner is buried adjacent to it. William Tanner was a Civil War soldier who lost both of his legs during the conflict. He later became, he was a young man, a very intelligent college grad from New York. He actually became a stenographer after that working for the war department and learned to walk on artificial limbs. He was actually on duty the night Lincoln was assassinated and he was in the Ford house with them taking down notes and clicking the telegraph wire. After the war, he led a life of extreme usefulness and became the first enlisted man to ever leave the GAR in the late 1880s. And so in honor of him being a wounded warrior and his proximity to the old amphitheater we upgraded the name to the Tanner Amphitheater which sounds a lot better. Next question. Next slide. And here’s a picture of an earliest known picture of a president there. This is a stereographic view. If you look closely you’ll see Ulysses S. Grant in the center of that and he’s preparing to address the crowd. That rostrum is immediately behind in the center right of the photograph. And you can get a good view of what it actually looked like. Of course, this would have been designed. We’ve been seeing the stereo view lens finders and you can do it, but I always like to have a split view because it gives you an idea of how that technology worked. Next slide. And the tradition continued well on the 20th century. On the left side, you see Woodrow Wilson. This is, I believe in 1914 or 1915, right before our entry into World War I, there’s some civil war veterans to his right or left of the photograph and he’s speaking at that rostrum to get a good view of it now that rostrum of course is still there. And then there are people decorating grades out in the other sections there you can see. The top right photograph is the field of the dead and the lower one below that is I believe section three which is relatively near the house as well. Notice too that on the upper right photograph there are still wooden headstones. They’ve not yet been up. That’s from the 1890s. They’ve not yet been upgraded to the stone ones in that section. Next slide. Memorial Day we have a thing called flags in. We have marines and soldiers march in from Fort Myer forming air and it will put flags on all of the graves and then we do that. I had mentioned earlier, New York was the first state to actually hold a Memorial Northern State or Memorial Day. They codified it in 1873 with something that was done by northern states by 1890. It’s not until World War I Memorial Day is just it shifts focus, not just honoring civil war dead which it had done before this, but to honor all the dead of all Americans wars and in 1971, it’s moved to the 30th of May from the 30th of May the last Monday of May. Of interest that 30th day is when we first celebrated it in Arlington and that became the official date. If it doesn’t fall until the year, it was moved to that last Monday. You also want a good example of just how dominant the GAR was after the war. They had no intention of having their holiday being used to honor the dead of other wars. Next slide. Here’s a cutter’s cartoon from 1900 from I think the Washington star and see what important it was. I bet I’m going to be a soldier too like my uncle David when I grow up. But of course it says on his far too big headstone far too solid stone that he was killed at Gettysburg. Next slide. Now we talked about how it was a pauper’s field earlier, in 1886 we see a seismic shift and that’s when you start seeing officers wanting to be buried there. In 1886, officer an Gabriel Paul, I don’t have a picture of him here who had both of his eyes shot out at Gettysburg. He has in, you know, lives largely destitute and poor the rest of his life will pass away. He then when he is buried he elects to be buried at Arlington. He’s the first general buried there, full honors are rendered. That means there’s a case on team, a band and a firing squad before simply a firing squad. So body-wise and honor is brought in and he’s buried. After that many civil war officers will elect to be become buried at Arlington to be near their men. Most famous, of course here is Philip Sheridan who died in 1888. He is buried immediately in front of the house. So if you see the house from the front any part of DC, you’ll see his massive headstone as well. Next slide. And there’s a good example of a slide. That what, it’s hard to get the scale there but that headstones roughly about 12 feet high. So you can get an idea of just how big it is. So you can see it from some distance. And it’s literally right in front of the house. And that’s on the right that’s a newspaper article discussing it. Sheridan died fairly young. So it was a moment of national morning. Next slide. Not to leave the Navy out this is David Dixon Porter. He was a fantastic, very, very, poor man on the American civil war. And he flanks the house. So you got Sheridan on the south side of the house and on the north side you got David Dixon Porter. Of interest, this David Dickson Porter’s monument is fairly small. It’s about three feet tall and maybe about, you know, four feet wide. If you look, I don’t know if you can see it but if you look in the middle section underneath the part that says his name David Dixon Porter it says “temporarily erected.” They were trying to raise money to build him a more magnificent headstone to match that of Sheridan and I guess they weren’t successful because he still has the temporary one. Next slide. And of course at in the 1890s and onward we become a veritable who’s for great American military officers. This is one of my favorites. This is the monument slash headstone of George Crook. This is near the house as well. This was taken around Christmas time. How can I tell? You’ll see the Christmas wreaths over on the right of the photographs. This is during our wreaths in period. When we bring in, when we decorate the graves all of the graves with wreaths. The bar relief there in the middle is fantastic. You’ll see Crooks sitting on the right your right on the edge he’s facing it. He’s got his arms sort of akimbo looking out in the middle with cross legs, you that’s Geronimo. And this was actually taken this spar relief from a photograph taken that accompanied Crook during the Geronimo campaign of 1886. Of interest those photographs that these were taken fly studio in tombstone, Arizona those remain the only photographs ever taken of native Americans as Indians in the field. Crook was able to negotiate for them to come in and return to the reservation, that sketch is great, great artwork on that one. Next slide. And we’re all, we have a lot of very, very high Victorian art. This is another private headstone. This is Thomas McKee. He was a staff officer in the first West Virginia not particularly important, but it gives an idea of why we’re no longer really doing private headstones. The family is responsible for the upkeep of these things. You notice that the statue’s hand is broken, her arm is raised a akimbo and the family has to pay for the upkeep. If the family does not pay for the upkeep and it becomes unsightly, we will replace it with a government headstone. This isn’t going to be a problem with this one for a while, but occasionally you’ll see tall obelisks like Cleopatra’s needle which you can see those big projections go everywhere over the years. Many of those have toppled none since I’ve been there but you look at photographs of section one and 18 no say 1910 I should say, there were a lot more obelisks as they tumbled family didn’t want to pay for it. We replaced it with a government issue headstone. Next slide. Our other big turning room. There’s three big events, of course, in Arlington’s history that really changed things. This is the second we’re getting into now which is the course of the war with Spain. After this war, you had a huge number of veterans who wanted in on Arlington. They wanted to be honored as civil war veterans. There were some civil war soldiers who served in both conflicts. War of course has kicked off with the explosion of the battlefield Maine which is very, very important to us. We’ll get to that in just a second. You’ll see and there’s this center electrics and Alison lithograph of the ship exploding and Havana which was in February of 1898. Next slide. Here’s the telegraph. Not sure why I put that in there. One of the telegrams to warning the government that the Maine had blown up 6V wires told in the Maine blown up and destroyed said white house Tinder has been killed and wounded. Sigsbee, of course, was her skipper. He is buried at Arlington as well. Of interest, most of the Maine’s officers with one exception survive. They were above deck at mast or shore. Almost all her kill were basically her enlisted men or Colliers or below deck guys. Next slide. And of course, Congress will declare war to deal with the Spanish treachery, yellow journalism, all that. You can remember that from history one-on-one. Next slide. And this was the first war in which we had massive repatriation of dead. Not only this is the crew of the Maine which were, you know fished out of a harbor or returned from hospitals in Havana or when the wreck was raised by the army in 1910, they found remains down there too, which were of course no longer identifiable and they were brought back. But while we were going to war with Spain we took their colony in the Philippines and promptly got him embroiled in the Philippine insurrection which was far bloodier and far longer. Those men who fell in that conflict were also repatriated. So for the first time we’re actually shipping bodies internationally home to be buried in a US military cemetery. It had done done occasionally before but it was always done at private expense. This time the government actually paid for it. This is the crew of the Maine as I mentioned what is there in section 15. Of interest is the only section of the cemetery where all the dead are from one thing. They are all the crew of the Maine. Everybody else is intermixed. For instance, if you walk through those earlier fields of the dead I talked about in civil war section 13 and 14, as you’re going through you would find black grades that apostate the civil war. That’s an example of where the family did raise the money, disinterred their dead soldier. And then we backfilled the space. The same thing happened with all the Confederates that were buried there. They were disinterred in central Hollywood cemetery with one exception which we could talk about a little bit later. But this is one of the first, again on this image, one of the first mast reparations of dead in US history. And it’s the crew of a Maine. Next slide. Spanish-American war began to memorialize as well Teddy Roosevelt was here for the dedication of this mine, which is the 1902. This is the Spanish American war monuments by the colonial grand Doms of America. And it’s flanked by four canon, the two green guns outside of it which are on obviously bronze or Spanish 18th century guns captured either in Cuba, Puerto Rico or Philippines we’re not sure. Of interest the two iron guns, which are white. You see them white over the cannonballs. Those were from, in the Infanta Maria Teresa I’m not going to try to speak Spanish. And the Christopher Columbus there were two Spanish heavy cruisers, something in battle Santiago Harbor, both ships ran a shore shot up and were partially salvageable and their guns grace Maine park. And along the east coast, we’re lucky to have two of them. And again, Teddy Roosevelt was here as president meeting the grand Doms and doing the dedication speech for this. Next slide. Nurses played a key role in the Spanish American war and actually being codified into military, they ceased being strictly contractors and became an actual sub-branch. And they basically sort of very, very dangerous duty. Several of them died almost always of tropical diseases. So this is the Spanish American war nurses monument which was dedicated in 1905. Now that is an area right next to the Spanish American war that tall obvious that you saw just a second ago and that is called nurses’ hill. That hill was reserved for military nurses. Just on the left, your left on the photograph in the woods. You can see sort of a large marker. That’s actually the overall nurses memorial which was really magnificent monument. And everybody there is a nurse and it’s pretty neat. We have some cricket or nurses and some others who saw some very, very hard service. Next question, the next slide. Okay, and how are you all controversial? In 1912, president Taft will sign orders creating the Confederate section of Arlington National Cemetery. And all the original Confederate dead had been removed with one or two exceptions. Most of the dead at the soldiers and airmen’s museum of the soldier cemetery. The one that I told you about downtown way back earlier at the beginning of this, we’re all disinterred and brought to Arlington. Arlington’s original Confederate dead had long been shipped the Hollywood cemetery in Richmond. The civil war veterans felt that they didn’t want a national cemetery having traitors buried there. Reconciliation takes place especially after the Spanish American war. And this magnificent monument is dedicated in 1914. It’s sculptor was Moses Zico. He was a VMI cadet, it was the famed battle of new market had studied in Europe and he’s buried right in front of it. We now have this section has over a hundred graves. They were either from local hospitals that hadn’t done the disinterment process or Confederate veterans then living could then apply to be buried there. This monument is very controversial. It’s very lost ‘cause yeah it shows loyal slaves cheering the Confederates going off to war. And I’m just very, very thankful that it’s in the very, very back of cemetery. It’s very hard to get to from the main aggressor entering points of our or exit points of our cemetery. It’s also the tallest monument in the cemetery, as to what its final fate would be I don’t know. It’s going to be well above my pay grade. Next question. Next slide. The reputation wasn’t just from overseas dead or for Confederates, many things, civil war and later war officers want to be buried at Arlington later. This is the funeral Phillip Carney. Phillip Carney of course been killed during the civil war. He was buried in Camden and turned the last century. It was determined to bury him at Arlington as a show of honor and so they took him out of his family vault and Camden and brought him to Arlington. And they buried him in the base of a magnificent equestrian statue which you could see in the middle of that stereo photograph. That’s a long, long, probably five foot long photograph. We had all veterans of the third quarter of which was a civil war outfit that Phillip Carney has commanded a division. Next slide. So in 1915, we dedicate the Mast Maine Memorial just to the right of the photograph is the section 15 where all the dead of the Maine were buried. That round structure that the mast rests upon has the names of all the crews dead written on it. Of interest there were a number of Japanese crew men she had recruited in Japan before the war and most of them served as Colliers and stewards. The mast itself is the foremast. The Maine Mast is actually on exhibit at the Naval Academy in Annapolis weaving some lags to remark that it’s the longest ship in the Navy. We just recently had it conserved and it’s one of our great possessions. Of interest it is in fact, the national memorial to the USS Maine. Next slide. We talked earlier about how the Tanner Amphitheater just could not deal with capacity. In 1914, we ordered a new amphitheater built. It was not completed until 1919. This is the current memorial amphitheater. This is an early army aviation photograph of its construction. It’s made entirely in a Vermont marble. So the Middlebury folks local and it used a number of magnificent artisans in order to create it. And if you look in that photograph, you’ll see it looks like a target on the right side of the photograph. Again, it’s about two thirds of the way up. That’s the Confederate section. So it’s not terribly far of it. Just below the Confederate section, however, section 35, that was an African-American section. We didn’t desegregate burials until 1948. Next slide. And of course, when the memorial amphitheater is completed while they’re building it, US enters the great war. It was designed in to be when it was built to be an ode to all of America’s wars. At that point, the GAR had very much lost its grip on power and the civil war veterans much like World War II veterans today were fading. There wasn’t many of them left and they were, you know, they were dying at an appalling rate. But we just entered this big war with massive mobilization, millions of veterans. So the shift at Arlington really makes the final break from civil war in this case and some degree from Spanish American war and really begins to look forward in the 20th century. Fast forward back to 1914, 1918 not fast forward, fast reversed. World War I was unbelievably ghastly. Well, most horrific conflicts in history. One of the real tragedies in that it was a modern war is that the number of men from various nations who are missing in action or whose remains had never been recovered the French war ministry starting in 1918 on was noted with letters from all the world. I’m Marcus Smith from Adelaide Australia. My son was in the oxygen box. He was hit on your wipers, June 16th taking the field station 312. Where is he? What happened to him? We just don’t know. Remains were lost as were records. So in order to sort of alleviate this strain on their bureaucracy, the French came up with the idea of we will return sets of identifiable remains to each of the major allied players and who fought in the French front-end World War I. Choose one set of remains entomb them and mourn them. Let that be your lost son. Let that be your lost brother. Let that be your lost father. So when you think of them mourn him. So the United States follow this tradition of the set by the British and the French in 1921 and we entombed our own. This is Hardy unveiling the unknown soldier. This is the amphitheater proper. Most of the men you’ll see in the thing are congressmen and senators which practice that it still is continued to this day with whenever the president comes and Hardy’s standing in the middle, underneath the rostrum talking. Next line. And on the other side of the amphitheaters where the tomb itself rests, that’s general purging dropping dirt from battlefields of France into the aperture in which the unknown has just been placed. There are dignitaries from all the allied nations there. And ironically, one of my favorite people at Arlington if you look on the left side of the photograph you’ll see a native American war chief full war bonnet there. He’s in the middle sort of standing by himself. That’s chief, Plenty Coups of the Crow nation. He left his war bonnet that very war bonnet his acoustic and his lamps which he’s holding as tributes to the unknown, his own decorations to them. We have them to this day in there amongst our most prized possessions in there. We have them on exhibit in the room immediately behind this photograph which we call the trophy room. And there he is entombed. Next slide. And there’s a memorial amphitheater today. The present picture of Hardy you saw earlier was in that apps there in the middle. On the other side of that, on the other side of the large structures is where the tomb is. So you get some ideas. If there’s a long green grass, lot in front of it. And that’s when we do full honors where for dignitaries will walk up flanked by service men and women from all the armed services carrying various colors and state flags and stuff and then go and lay a tomb on the roof. It’s also my office. I actually work at the basement of the structure. You don’t have to go back that’s perfect. And of course the tomb does become a symbol of national remembrance. At that time, the tomb was not guarded and that doesn’t happen until 1948. And you can see, it was much lower to the ground. These are gold star mothers of World War I in the 1930s laying honors at the actually prior to 1938, probably late 20s laying flowers and stuff at the feet of the unknown mourning their sons. Now, at that time the government would allow all mothers whose sons had not remains had been accounted for to, they would give you one trip to go visit what could conceivably be your lost loved one. And so a lot of these pilgrimages were in fact made. One of the problems though is just like in Rome and Greece at that time period most people got a trip like that once in their lifetime. And so in order to commemorate it they would take a little hammer and chisel and notch off pieces of the tomb of the unknown to take with them. If you’ve ever been to Rome or Greece or Rome or Athens you’ll notice a lot of the columns are all chewed up a lot of that’s 20th century or 19th century. Travelers taken a little bit of Rome or Greece back home with them. So obviously led to problems. Next slide. Oh, before, and we’ll get to that in a second though there was a larger sarcophagus that’s built over and this is a very interesting photo. We have every year dozens of ceremonies with foreign delegations. Delegations will often come lay honor to our unknown. We play their national anthem and play our own and the dignitaries then we’ll come out and lay a wreath. This is the 1929’s photo. And it’s the Japanese military attache. The gentlemen in the middle laying the wreath. It was then captain soon to be Admiral Nagano who’s head of general and she was basically the chief of Naval operations for the burial Japanese Navy in World War II basically their Naval chief of staff. To his left and to the the Japanese officer on your right. He’s got dark hair. That’s his favorite young captain. That’s Isoroku Yamamoto mastermind the Pearl Harbor strike and the leader of the combined fleet until his death in 1943. So this is an example of later an enemy than a friend laying honors at the wreath. We know that in the Nazi foreign minister Ribbentrop did come to Arlington in the 1930s. We assume he left a wreath, we can find no pictures of it but that’s one of the ones we’re very interested in trying to find. Next slide. That’s what I was talking about earlier. In 1935 we added destruction over the old tomb. It’ victory crowning honor glory and you can see that there are putting away your swords and you can see how it stands out in front of the building. The room behind that you see the windows is where we have an exhibit on the history of the unknown. And since 1948, it has been guarded full-time by elements of the third infantry regiment. There’s a platoon, they’re authorized platoon strength and they guard the tomb 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. They never abandon their post. Even when the Pentagon was burning behind them in 9:11 they still stuck to their position. Good guys, good gals. A lot of misconceptions about them, you know that they don’t swear or they don’t drink beer. I can assure you they’ve done both because I’ve been around them during such activities but they can’t do thing dishonorable. If you steal or get convicted of a felony, your badge can be revoked. Their badges are individually numbered and attached. So badge number 312 is Joe Dokes. If Joe Dokes does something bad, he’s crossed off the list and he loses his badge. The badge itself is the third rarest badge in army. And it’s very, very rare. The second of course is fair. Those are the guys who run the horses at Arlington and they’re proud to say that they’re the rarest. All the horse teams that we have are soldiers. The army is the only branch that still uses horses. The air force, the Navy and the marine Corps do not. So if it’s a full Naval honors funeral it will be soldiers doing the case on with sailors doing the marching in front. Oh, and as the rarest badge that’s army astronaut. Women, I believe there actually were a few. Flying a lunar module was apparently very similar to flying a helicopter. So a lot of those shots early on those were actually soldiers flying the lunar modules. Next slide. The third and final great turning point in Arlington of course is John F. Kennedy’s funeral. John F. Kennedy, you know, was a bit of a fan history. And of course he’s president during the Centennial of the civil war, he and Robert McNamara notorious infamous would be a better term for simply grabbing a sportscar driving out of DC and going to the nearby battlefields which there’s many in the DC area not telling anyone. Showing up on announced at Antietam or Gettysburg, you know, undoubtedly making a jaws drop and terrifying the poor park ranger. Anyway, a few weeks before his death he had come up to look at Washington from the heights and this photograph was taken close to where the heights are but not exactly but you can see what a view of Washington it is. He allegedly remarked to Jackie boy I could spend forever up here and that’s why she wanted him buried at Arlington. So when he was assassinated and buried, the funeral was televised in the whole world Washington. And of course what had happened 20 years before his assassination the US was heavily embroiled in the second world war. And you had an entire generation of men and women with very distinguished service records and many cases, absolutely, you know, remarkable combat records all eligible for burial at Arlington. At that time Arlington was having a lot of trouble filling room. We were actually selling some plots to private citizens who had been in the military because we weren’t getting enough funerals but after Kennedy was broadcast, Gee Dad you can have a funeral like that. And all the requests came pouring in and they continue to do so to this day. So much so that we are almost there. We were essentially running out of space. We do anywhere between 25 to 32 funerals a day Monday through Friday, eight of which have honors and with escort, honors with escort is the case on team and firing squad parties and a full Anna Buehler. Saturdays we do eight to 12, but no honors are rendered those. Basically eligibility is changing but currently it’s 20 years of which one day must be on active duty service. Meaning you must be able to get full retirement or combat award silver star in a bronze or silver star and above. Any active duty death and any prisoner of war purple heart will get you in. The other eligibility is dependent children. John F. Kennedy Jr. is not there. He was never in the military or stops. Jackie is there he was a spouse and she was of course, first lady United States. That would probably push off some questions a little bit later. Next question. Next two slide, I keep saying question. Okay, and this is Kennedy entering the extra gates those gates have been created during the new deal across the memorial bridge which you just saw. And it’s the grand entrance into the funeral and there’s Kennedy going up the hill to his final resting place with the eternal flame. Of course, the eternal flames in the early 60s were quite popular. The unknown soldier in France has one. And Jackie having traveled the world apparently was impressed by the one in Paris and that’s where she got the idea for Kennedy’s. Next slide. Okay, here comes the hard part, the questions.

- Okay, thanks. Thank you Rod. That was great presentation. I think a lot of interesting stuff, a lot of things we don’t get to see on TV and for me as you have before, you’ve certainly made this a cherished and hallowed ground even more special to all of us. So thank you for doing that. We do have a couple questions. I think one of them, you did answer in terms of eligibility for burial going forward.

- Yeah, it’s changing right now. And it’s basically right now the full retirement and bronze star and a full retirement full bronze star and above. We’ll get you in. In the future it’s going to be either full retirement with some combat, so full retirement with a bronze star or silver star and above. So we’re going to be really limiting the number of burials. The current rates of interment I didn’t mention this. We’re going to be out of space in 20, 30 years. And that’s if we don’t get into any nasty wars.

- I also given that you kind of piqued our interest. If somebody comes to Washington and DC and doesn’t have the advantage I have been related how does someone go to visit? What are the options for visiting the cemetery?

- We are metro accessible. So I would metro in, and then it’s vast, we’re almost 600 acres. So what you could do is you can take a tram tool the tram tool will go around and it’s hop on, hop off. So I think there’s 12 stops. It takes you to one. You can get off, go wander around see what you want to see, get back on and move on. If you have a relative that’s buried there, we offer free tram service to shuttle service to the grave. You may go there, spend as much time as you like call the number, we’ll come pick you up and take you back out of there. We are very much trying to limit traffic into the cemetery even for family members, the reason being we’re so up-tempo we do so many cemeteries. We’ve had the unfortunate situation where, you know visitors have to get to national airport and have cut through funerals. So funerals take absolute precedence. So if you gets stuck behind one of those big funerals it can be a half hour away.

- Actually, I’m going to pause for a second. I have a question from Al Perry, Al, I’m going to take that one offline with Rod. We will get you an answer to your question. Next question. Would you explain, please explain the role of the horses.

- It’s one of those lost in antiquity things. Horses have been used in military funerals as far back as they’ve used horses in wars. You’ll hear stories of in civil war, they use caissons and horses to remove the bodies of fallen officers. Well, yeah, that’s gonna be the case in any western world any army that’s got caissons and horses that’s going to be the case. Most of our military traditions are copied from the European ones and a lot of the origin, actual origin of it is lost. Same with the 21 gun salute. Oh, they, you know, the ship enters the harbor. They want to show they’re peaceful. They’re empty abroad aside which, you know, makes no sense. The ship in a harbor shouldn’t be firing abroad side period. That doesn’t want trouble. There’s a lot of little or the tap states in the civil war now it’s an older French custard than that. So we don’t really know, but we do know is that we’ve done the idea of the Caprice horse, which is done for officers where it’s, you see a horse with reversed stirrups and the horses has no mounted rider. That’s from tilting and jousting you would have your feet on springs to help with the joust. And a lot of times those boots would reverse. We know that we’re kind of sure that’s where it came from. But in terms of the case on team and doing that European army started doing it we emulate them.

- Okay, we have another quick question. I worked in the army history program as a civilian for 30 years before my 2017 retirement. Can you give us a brief overview of the unknown from Vietnam? It was an interesting story.

- Oh yeah, that’s a great story. If my fellow X-ers and older folks here will remember the late 1970s and that’s when the country was tearing his hair out about Vietnam it would have been this pretty bloody war that it had a less than desirable ending. And so movies like the Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now boy, would it be great if we could have an unknown honor of the poor Vietnam guys and everybody was involved with this. We didn’t have a set of remains. They eventually came up with three sets of skeletal remains that were possible. One of them turned out to be a south Vietnamese pilot. The other one was a deserter. We came kind of close to putting a dessert in there. He had been shot an officer and attempted to defect to the NBA. He was killed by one of our Claymores, his unit not particularly happy with it, buried him onsite and he was never apparently disinterred until later. The third guy was Michael Blassie. Blassie was an air force academy graduate shot down in the waning days of the war of US involvement. The central highlands had already fallen. Vietnam was, you know, rapidly falling in general. And his plane took ground fire, took the wing off. He went in didn’t punch out, it was marked. A long range patrol went to the site the next morning, found just a handful of remains of him but his leather wall, which had an ID in it and one of his ID cards which had been blown clear. This was all handed over to south Vietnamese graves registration, I’m sorry antidote to the south Vietnamese unit which handed over to graves registration. During that time, all that US military ID disappeared. Very likely saved the south Vietnamese woman’s life. You know, “It’s my boyfriend.” “Okay, get on the plane.” As I said, the place was falling. So he sat in a box for a while. They weren’t really sure. You know, well, one of the larger bones was a hip fragment. He said, well, he was like 61 but this hip is too short. Well, he was like me and short, short, long torso, short legs. So back to work. Well, I got a lot of wear for like a 25 year old guy or whatever he was, well, he played football at the air force academy and the family knew all this. They didn’t know he had gone into the tomb of the unknown and they complained and complained finally, yeah, yeah, he’s in the unknown. We think we put him in there. They took him out. It was him, DNA test G. He’s disinterred, he was sent back to his family and Jefferson Barracks St. Louis and the middle tomb. Oh, there are three unknown now. There’s Korean war and World War II, I didn’t go into that. And then the main one for World War I but there’s a center crypt that’s now empty and that is dedicated to all Americans who’ve never returned or whose remains were not identified.

- Okay, good. Just two questions real quick. If I’m riding my bicycle and I ride across the memorial bridge is it okay to cycle around the cemetery?

- You could cycle on memorial drive, which we own but you can’t cycle into the cemetery. Again, we’ve had through cemeteries. And so, yeah, they now ban bicycles. The good news is though we’ve got some rental bikes so you can actually bike in park the rental bike can take another one whenever you want to and then that takes you right to the welcome center. From the welcome center, you can go hop on the tram and do what you need to do but you can’t ride bikes. During the jogging craze of the 1970s I’ve got a stack of hate mail this big on my people yelling that we wouldn’t allow them to jog the cemetery anymore especially that the army was allowed battalion runs there in the morning. That’s a little bit different, I think, but no you can’t ride into the grounds itself.

- So it sounds like the trams the best way to do it, it sounds like.

- Trams the best way and that’s, we kind of designed it that way, you hadn’t.

- But I assume.

- It’s 45 minutes if you don’t get off. So if you want to get off and explore, we’ve got little trails and things and, you know, preset things, you can go see every one of the stops and you’d have, you could spend all day there.

- Okay, our last question real quickly, and this has been all of an excellent Rod. Thank you.

- Sure.

- Which of the Kennedy relatives are buried there?

- All four brothers? Well, three of the four brothers. The oldest brother’s remains were never found. He was killed in a bombing mission to take out dams, a Naval officer as well. And I think 44, as I mentioned he blew up over England. His remains were never found, but there’s a cenotaph. Ted is there. He got invited, he was an army veteran. He had served as an NCO briefly but you didn’t see any overseas combat. Bobby is there with his wife. He was again, being a senator he had been enabled, was a Naval officer and of course John F. Kennedy, like his older brother both had to set a distinguished record and he’s there with Jackie. Now, Jackie has two children, a daughter and a son. One of them was still born, one of them died at like day three I apologize. I’ll have to go check on that. And they’re on the same in the same plaza with the eternal flame as Kennedy again, dependent children. They were disinterred from a family plot up in Cape Cod I believe when president Kennedy went in.

- Rod, thank you. It was very, very grateful to your presentation and questions. I’m sorry we weren’t able to I’ll answer all your questions. We’re going to give you a break now. And I’m going to quickly introduce Fred Stetson who has been an active participant member of the organization for the Middlebury Veterans Give Back. He was a former infantry officer, spent three years in Vietnam on active duty I should say 20 years with the Vermont Army National Guard. According to T tall, he could tell what time of day it was ‘cause Fred was flying over his house. He was an American literature major so, and spent most of his life as a writer, newspaper editor, writer and editor books in French. Just kind of few quick comments about Middlebury Veterans Give Back before we wrap up, Fred.

- Thank you very much. And thank you again, Rod for your excellent presentation. Really, really insightful and detailed report on the national cemetery. What I want to mention is just a few things about some of my fellow veterans some of whom served in Vietnam and who I think are particularly representative of those who went there. The first one is Thomas Easton, helicopter pilot who was a fire team leader and saw some very intense action in the vicinity of central Vietnam. Second person is Doug Rhett. He now is married to a Vietnamese woman and has been for many years, has grandchildren I’m sure. He lives in Oklahoma and he too was a young helicopter pilot in central Vietnam he happened to have picked up Vietnamese while he was in Vietnam. So when there was a particular conflict involving Vietnamese people, he was the person that they turned to help out with that language. Another person is Michael Haney, who some of you may know was featured in the Ken Burns documentary on the Vietnam war and Michael was wounded and has fully recovered and is a very active member of Middlebury Veterans Give Back. Francis Love was an infantry officer who was wounded and then sent to Japan to have his wounds treated and then came back to Vietnam and became a civic action officer which meant basically helping out local people with their projects and some of the materials they might be using for example to build a school. And then years later, he also started a nonprofit organization and he went back to Vietnam and provided schools with supplies. Some cases in a very region where he had been involved in the combat. The last person I want to mention is a man whose name is Rosario Zip Rausa a USA who was a Naval aviator and he logged over 4,000 hours of flight time. He had 600 carrier landings and he flew 150 combat missions in Vietnam. So those are some of the people that when I think of our organization, I just wanted to also say that there are others who had less active quote, no military experience but were yet in the army and served a very good purpose. One being my roommate, Andy Marchbank, who was a transportation officer in Vietnam, and his whole life was spent offloading equipment and gear in Vietnam. The person that was really up on the whole process of collecting stories and ascertaining what is needed and what questions might come up. It should be addressed to Danielle Rougeau who is the Middlebury College Davis Library archivist. She’s a wonderful person, very enthusiastic. And she is the person you should go to for any questions you might have. Her email address, which is very simple is Rougeau, r-o-u-g-e-a-u I think unless anybody would like that repeated. I think that’s about what I like to end with.

- Thank you good friend, we have it on the screen. So thank you. Can we put up the screen of the information by Arlington real quickly while I wrap this up. Rod covered a lot of ground, but if you’re interested in more information, these are his recommended places to go on YouTube, Voices From The Tomb, a PBS documentary that’s probably the best one to find in terms of an overall thing. And Gardens of Stone is an excellent film. I want to thank everybody for joining us this afternoon. I hope it was a meaningful history and tour of our national cemetery. Clearly a living shrine and recognition of those who gave the full measure on behalf of our nation. I hope the rest of your reunion at home goes well. And for the class of ‘71, thank you for joining us and look forward to seeing you at our events over the next few days. Have a good evening.

Old Chapel: Fleshing Out an Old Icon

Prof. Emeritus Glenn Andres discusses research into the multi-layered story of Old Chapel, the college’s most iconic building, its generation, its iconography, its place in the history of American campus design, and its circumstantial ties to one of the nation’s most important nineteenth century architects.

Concert: The Grift

Welcome to the Middlebury College Reunion 2021 virtual Grift concert. We’re so glad you could join us. My name is Clint Bierman, Class of 1997. Joined with me are Jeff Vallone, Class of 1997.5, Peter Day, Class of 2001. We are also joined by Leon Campos on keys, and Josh Panda on vocals.

Just want to give a big shout out to the 1’s and 6’s to say we’re bummer you can’t be on campus this year, but, we look forward to seeing you face to face soon.

Hope this concert puts a bounce in your step, and makes you think of better days to come when you can come back to campus and reminisce about all the great things that Middlebury has.

Can’t wait to see you. Please enjoy the show.

And a very very special shout out to my fellow class of 2001-ers, this was gonna be number 20, but hey, we are a fiiiiine wine, and we only get better with age.

SONG #1:
Naive Melody by Talking Heads

Home is where I want to be Pick me up and turn me around
I feel numb, born with a weak heart I guess I must be having fun

The less we say about it the better Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground, head in the sky
It’s okay, I know nothing’s wrong, nothing

Oh, I have plenty of time
Oh, you got light in your eyes
And you’re standing here beside me I love the passing of time
Never for money, always for love
Cover up and say goodnight, say goodnight

Home, is where I want to be But I guess I’m already there
I come home, she lifted up her wings I guess that this must be the place

I can’t tell one from the other Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I’ll be, where I’ll be

Oh, we drift in and out Oh, sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people You got a face with a view

I’m just an animal looking for a home and Share the same space for a minute or two And you love me ‘til my heart stops
Love me ‘til I’m dead

Eyes that light up Eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head I got, ooh
SONG #2:
Twist and Shout by The Beatles

Well, shake it up, baby, now Twist and shout
Come on, come on, come, come on, baby, now Come on and work it on out
Well, work it on out, honey You know you look so good
You know you got me goin’ now Just like I know you would

Well, shake it up, baby, now Twist and shout
Come on, come on, come, come on, baby, now Come on and work it on out
You know you twist, little girl You know you twist so fine
Come on and twist a little closer now And let me know that you’re mine, woo

Ah, ah, ah, ah, wow Baby, now
Twist and shout
Come on, come on, come, come on, baby, now Come on and work it on out
You know you twist, little girl You know you twist so fine
Come on and twist a little closer now And let me know that you’re mine
Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now Ah, ah, ah, ah
September by Earth, Wind & Fire

Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the minds of pretenders While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing As we danced in the night
Remember how the stars stole the night away

Hey hey hey
Ba de ya, say do you remember? Ba de ya, dancing in September Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba duda, ba duda, ba duda, badu Ba duda, badu, ba duda, badu Ba duda, badu, ba duda

My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you Only blue talk and love
Remember how we knew love was here to stay
Now December found the love we shared in September Only blue talk and love
Remember true love we share today

Hey hey hey
Ba de ya, say do you remember? Ba de ya, dancing in September Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

And we say
Ba de ya, say do you remember Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shiny days

The bell was ringing, oh oh Our souls were singing
Do you remember? never a cloudy day, yow

And we say
Ba de ya, say do you remember? Ba de ya, dancing in September Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

And we say
Ba de ya, say do you remember? Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shiny days

Ba de ya de ya de ya Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

Ba de ya de ya de ya Ba de ya de ya de ya Ba de ya de ya

Like a Prayer by Madonna

Life is a mystery Everyone must stand alone I hear you call my name And it feels like home
When you call my name it’s like a little prayer I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there In the midnight hour I can feel your power Just like a prayer, you know I’ll take you there

I hear your voice
It’s like an angel sighing
I have no choice, I hear your voice Feels like flying
I close my eyes
Oh God, I think I’m falling Out of the sky, I close my eyes Heaven help me

When you call my name it’s like a little prayer I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there In the midnight hour I can feel your power Just like a prayer, you know I’ll take you there

Like a child
You whisper softly to me
You’re in control just like a child Now I’m dancing
It’s like a dream
No end and no beginning
You’re here with me, it’s like a dream Let the choir sing

When you call my name it’s like a little prayer I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there In the midnight hour I can feel your power Just like a prayer, you know I’ll take you there When you call my name it’s like a little prayer I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there In the midnight hour I can feel a power
Just like a prayer you know I’ll take you there

Life is a mystery Everyone must stand alone I hear you call my name And it feels like home

Just like a prayer
Your voice can take me there Just like a muse to me
You are a mystery Just like a dream
You are not what you seem Just like a prayer
No choice, your voice can take me there

Just like a prayer, I’ll take you there It’s like a dream to me
Just like a prayer, I’ll take you there (I’ll take you there) It’s like a dream to me (oh)
Just like a prayer, I’ll take you there (I’ll take you there) It’s like a dream to me (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah) Just like a prayer, I’ll take you there (oh)
It’s like a dream to me

Just like a prayer
Your voice can take me there Just like a muse to me
You are a mystery Just like a dream
You are not what you seem Just like a prayer
No choice, your voice can take me there Just like a prayer
Your voice can take me there Just like a muse to me
You are a mystery Just like a dream
You are not what you seem Just like a prayer
No choice, your voice can take me there Your voice can take me there
Like a prayer

(It’s like a prayer) (It’s like a prayer)
(Your voice can take me there) (It’s like a prayer)
(It’s like a prayer)
(Your voice can take me there) (It’s like a prayer)

Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind
Fly by Sugar Ray
Tubthumping by Chumbawamba

Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo Doo doo doo

I’m packed and I’m holding
I’m smiling, she’s living, she’s golden She lives for me, says she lives for me Ovation, her own motivation
She comes round and she goes down on me
And I make you smile, like a drug for you
Do ever what you wanna do, coming over you Keep on smiling, what we go through
One stop to the rhythm that divides you

And I speak to you like the chorus to the verse Chop another line like a coda with a curse Come on like a freak show takes the stage
We give them the games we play, she said

I want something else to get me through this Semi-charmed kinda life, baby, baby
I want something else, I’m not listening when you say good-bye

Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo Doo doo doo

The sky was gold, it was rose
I was taking sips of it through my nose
And I wish I could get back there, someplace back there Smiling in the pictures you would take
[Mumbled lyrics]

It won’t stop, I won’t come down
I keep stock with a tick-tock rhythm, a bump for the drop And then I bumped up, I took the hit that I was given Then I bumped again, then I bumped again
I said

How do I get back there to the place where I fell asleep inside you How do I get myself back to the place where you said

I want something else to get me through this
Semi-charmed kinda life, baby, baby
I want something else, I’m not listening when you say good-bye

I believe in the sand beneath my toes
The beach gives a feeling, an earthy feeling I believe in the faith that grows
And that four right chords can make me cry When I’m with you I feel like I could die And that would be alright, alright

Baby, I want something else Not listening when you say
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo

I just wanna fly
Put your arms around me, baby Put your arms around me, baby I just wanna fly
Put your arms around me, baby Put your arms around me, baby I just wanna fly

Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo I just wanna fly
Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo

I get knocked down, but I get up again You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again You are never gonna keep me down

(Pissing the night away, pissing the night away)
He drinks a Whiskey drink, he drinks a Vodka drink He drinks a Lager drink, he drinks a Cider drink
He sings the songs that remind him of the good times He sings the songs that remind him of the better times (Oh Danny Boy, Danny Boy, Danny Boy)

I get knocked down, but I get up again You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again You are never gonna keep me down

I get knocked down!

Mr. Brightside by The Killers
Coming out of my cage
And I’ve been doing just fine Gotta gotta be down Because I want it all
It started out with a kiss How did it end up like this?
It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss Now I’m falling asleep
And she’s calling a cab
While he’s having a smoke And she’s taking a drag Now they’re going to bed And my stomach is sick And it’s all in my head
But she’s touching his chest now He takes off her dress now
Let me go
And I just can’t look, it’s killing me And taking control

Jealousy, turning saints into the sea Swimming through sick lullabies Choking on your alibis
But it’s just the price I pay Destiny is calling me Open up my eager eyes ‘Cause I’m Mr. Brightside

I’m coming out of my cage And I’ve been doing just fine Gotta gotta be down Because I want it all
It started out with a kiss How did it end up like this?
(It was only a kiss), it was only a kiss Now I’m falling asleep
And she’s calling a cab While he’s having a smoke And she’s taking a drag Now they’re going to bed And my stomach is sick And it’s all in my head
But she’s touching his chest now He takes off her dress now
Let me go
‘Cause I just can’t look, it’s killing me And taking control

Jealousy, turning saints into the sea Swimming through sick lullabies Choking on your alibi
But it’s just the price I pay Destiny is calling me Open up my eager eyes ‘Cause I’m Mr. Brightside

I never I never I never I never

Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

This hit, that ice cold
Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold This one for them hood girls
Them good girls straight masterpieces Stylin’, wilin’, livin’ it up in the city Got Chucks on with Saint Laurent Gotta kiss myself, I’m so pretty

I’m too hot (hot damn)
Call the police and the fireman I’m too hot (hot damn)
Make a dragon wanna retire man I’m too hot (hot damn)
Say my name you know who I am
I’m too hot (hot damn)
And my band ‘bout that money, break it down

Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo) Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo) Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo)
‘Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you ‘Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you ‘Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you Saturday night and we in the spot Don’t believe me just watch (come on)

Don’t believe me just watch uh

Don’t believe me just watch Don’t believe me just watch Don’t believe me just watch Don’t believe me just watch Hey, hey, hey, oh

Stop, wait a minute
Fill my cup, put some liquor in it Take a sip, sign a check
Julio, get the stretch
Ride to Harlem, Hollywood Jackson, Mississippi
If we show up, we gon’ show out Smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy

I’m too hot (hot damn)
Call the police and the fireman I’m too hot (hot damn)
Make a dragon wanna retire man I’m too hot (hot damn)
Bitch say my name you know who I am
I’m too hot (hot damn)
And my band ‘bout that money Break it down

Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo) Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo) Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo)
‘Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you ‘Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you ‘Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you Saturday night and we in the spot Don’t believe me just watch (come on)

Don’t believe me just watch uh

Don’t believe me just watch uh Don’t believe me just watch uh Don’t believe me just watch Don’t believe me just watch Hey, hey, hey, oh

Before we leave
Lemme tell y’all a lil’ something Uptown funk you up
Uptown funk you up Uptown funk you up Uptown funk you up uh
I said uptown funk you up Uptown funk you up Uptown funk you up Uptown funk you up

Come on, dance, jump on it If you sexy then flaunt it
If you freaky then own it
Don’t brag about it, come show me

Come on, dance Jump on it
If you sexy then flaunt it
Well it’s Saturday night and we in the spot Don’t believe me just watch come on!

Don’t believe me just watch uh

Don’t believe me just watch uh Don’t believe me just watch uh Don’t believe me just watch Don’t believe me just watch Hey, hey, hey, oh

Uptown (woo) funk you up (come on) Uptown funk you up (say what?) Uptown funk you up
Uptown funk you up (come on) Uptown (woo) funk you up (come on) Uptown funk you up (say what?) Uptown funk you up
Uptown funk you up (come on) Uptown (woo) funk you up (come on) Uptown funk you up (say what?) Uptown funk you up
Uptown funk you up (come on) Uptown funk you up
Uptown funk you up (say what?) Uptown funk you up

Thanks everybody!

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