July 12, 1999
Stephen A. Freeman Dies
Professor Emeritus of French at Middlebury College,
pioneer in the field of foreign language teaching, and long-time
resident of Middlebury, Stephen A. Freeman died at Shard Villa
Community Care Home in Salisbury, Vt. on Saturday, July 10. Professor
Freeman was 101 years old on May 9.
A loyal citizen of Middlebury for many years, Freeman
has volunteered his time as a member of the Addison County Grammar
School Corporation, moderator of the elementary school district,
village moderator and president of the Friends of the Ilsley Library.
He is also a long-time member of the Middlebury Rotary Club and
the Middlebury Congregational Church.
Freeman served in the U.S. Navy as an aviator during
World War I, training flyers in Massachusetts, Florida and New
York. For many years on Memorial Day, he led Middlebury’s parade,
fitting perfectly into the aviator’s uniform he wore decades ago.
Freeman joined the Middlebury College faculty in
1925 as professor of French and dean at the fledgling French School,
the second of Middlebury’s summer Language Schools. In 1943,
he was named the College’s first vice president for foreign languages
and assumed the additional duties of director of the Language
Schools in 1946. In 1949, he established the first of Middlebury
College’s Language Schools abroad in Paris.
He served on the faculty for 45 years, occupying
more academic and administrative appointments than any other individual
in the history of the College. During three academic years between
1940 and 1953, he led the College as interim president.
Freeman was president of the American Association
of Teachers of French from 1940 to 1944. He also led the National
Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations from 1948
The recipient of five honorary degrees, he was decorated
twice by the French government with the title of Chevalier in
the Legion of Honor and Commander of L’Ordre Des Palmes Académiques.
He also received the Bicentennial Award of the National Education
Association. For 25 years he was president of the Middlebury
College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
In 1993, the Middlebury College board of trustees
voted to name the College’s international center in Freeman’s
He received his undergraduate degree in 1919 from
Harvard. He also received a master’s and doctorate from Harvard
and did additional graduate work at the Universities of Paris
and Lyon. Before coming to Middlebury, Freeman taught for two
years at Brown University.