Dedication of New Academic Building

to be Highlight of Middlebury College’s Bicentennial “Celebration

of the Sciences”

On Oct. 14-17, Middlebury College will

hold the Bicentennial “Celebration of the Sciences,”

an event that will kick off a year-long series of activities honoring

the College’s 200th birthday. The celebration will

feature the dedication of Bicentennial Hall, a new 220,000-square-foot

academic facility that will serve as the home of six natural and

social science departments, and the most ambitious building project

in Middlebury’s history. The event will also include a symposium

with nationally renowned scientists and science journalists, as

well as tours of the new structure. All activities are free and

open to the public.

Located on the western side of campus

just north of College Street, Bicentennial Hall will house classrooms,

laboratories, a library, and offices for six academic departments-biology,

chemistry and biochemistry, geography, geology, physics, and psychology.

After more than five years of planning, Middlebury broke ground

in 1997 for construction of the building, which cost $47 million

dollars. On Sept. 13, the first day of classes, approximately

40 percent of Middleburyís students began entering its

doors on a weekly basis. Bicentennial Hall’s environmentally sensitive

features are meant to be a fitting tribute to the study of the

natural environment and related subjects that will take place


“We are excited about the results

of our efforts to be environmentally aware as we planned and built

the structure. For example, Bicentennial Hall is the largest academic

facility in the country to contain exclusively ‘green certified’

wood in its millwork-wood that has been harvested and processed

through ecologically sensitive means,” said Randy Landgren,

director of academic facilities planning.

Bob Schaeffner of Payette Associates

was the partner and project architect overseeing the building.

“In our practice over the past 20 years, we have designed

85 graduate and undergraduate science projects for numerous renowned

institutions, but Middlebury’s vision for Bicentennial Hall was

unparalleled,” said Schaeffner.

“The forward looking structure

pushes the envelope of sustainable design, energy-efficient systems,

and a 100-year-plus life span beyond any facility of its kind

while still falling within the fiscal guidelines of the College.

This building represents a healthy balance between sustainable

technologies, costs, and benefits,” added Schaeffner.

On Oct. 14 at 4:15 p.m., the seventh

annual Clifford Symposium, which is titled “What is Life?,”

will begin in the Concert Hall in the Center for the Arts (CFA)

on Route 30. The event will start with a lecture by the first

of two keynote speakers-medical ethicist James F. Childress, the

Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Religious Studies and professor of

medical education of the University of Virginia. Childress will

discuss “Scientific Promise, Ethical Controversy: Resolving

Religious and Moral Conflicts about Scientific Research.”

At 7:45 p.m., paleontologist Stephen

Jay Gould, the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology of Harvard

University, will give a talk titled “Wonderful Life in a

Full House,” which will also take place in the Concert Hall.

Following the lecture, Gould will sign copies of his books “Questioning

the Millenium” and “Rocks of Ages” in the upper

lobby of the CFA.

On Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.,

tours of Bicentennial Hall will be available. At 12:30 p.m., John

Noble Wilford, science correspondent for The New York Times, will

head a panel of experts: Paula Apsell, the executive producer

of the PBS show “NOVA;” John Rennie, editor in chief

of Scientific American; and Boyce Rensburger, the director of

Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT. The discussion will

take place in Bicentennial Hall’s Great Hall. Bicentennial Hall

is located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125).

A second panel at 3 p.m. will conclude

the day’s celebration with a review of the issues discussed by

panelists and lecturers earlier in the day. Moderated by Maggie

O’Brien, president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the panel

will include members of the Middlebury College sciences and humanities

faculty and will take place in the Lecture Hall of Bicentennial


On Oct. 16 at 10:30 a.m., a convocation

and the dedication of Bicentennial Hall will take place in that

building’s Great Hall.

Schedule of Events:



4:15 p.m. Lecture: “Scientific

Promise, Ethical Controversy: Resolving Religious and Moral Conflicts

about Scientific Research” by James

F. Childress, Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Religious Studies and

Professor of Medical Education, University of Virginia. In the

Concert Hall, Center for the Arts, So. Main Street (Route 30)

7:45 p.m. Lecture: “Wonderful

Life in a Full House”

Stephen Jay Gould, Alexander Agassiz

Professor of Zoology, Harvard University. In the Concert Hall,

Center for the Arts, So. Main Street (Route 30). A book signing,

during which Gould will sign copies of his books “Questioning

the Millenium” and “Rocks of Ages,” will follow

in the upper Lobby, Center for the Arts, So. Main Street (Route



9-noon Tours of Bicentennial Hall,

Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125)

12:30 p.m. Science Media Panel, moderated

by John Noble Wilford, science correspondent, The New York Times.

Panelists: Paula Apsell, executive producer, “NOVA;”

John Rennie, editor in chief, Scientific American; and Boyce Rensberger,

director of Knight Science Journalism Fellowships, M.I.T. In the

Great Hall, Bicentennial Hall, Bicentennial Way off College Street

(Route 125)

3 p.m. Symposium Discussion, moderated

by Margaret O’Brien, president, St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Panelists: Middlebury College faculty from the sciences and humanities.

In the Lecture Hall, Bicentennial Hall, Bicentennial Way off College

Street (Route 125)



10:30 a.m. Dedication to take place

in the Great Hall, Bicentennial Hall, Bicentennial Way off College

Street (Route 125)

Keynote Speakers, Thursday, Oct. 14


“Scientific Promise, Ethical Controversy:

Resolving Religious and Moral Conflicts about Scientific Research”

— James F. Childress is the Edwin B. Kyle Professor of

Religious Studies and professor of medical education at the University

of Virginia, where he is also co-director of the Virginia Health

Policy Center. In July 1996, he was appointed by President Clinton

to serve as a member of the newly formed National Bioethics Advisory

Commission, and he has chaired its Human Subjects Subcommittee.

Childress is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

and in 1998 was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine

of the National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of numerous

articles and several books on biomedical ethics, including “Principles

of Biomedical Ethics” with Tom L. Beauchamp, “Priorities

in Biomedical Ethics, Who Should Decide?: Paternalism in Health

Care,” and “Practical Reasoning in Bioethics.”

He received his undergraduate degree from Guilford College, his

divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, and his master’s and

doctorate from Yale University.

“Wonderful Life in a Full House”

— Stephen Jay Gould is a paleontologist, professor of geology,

and curator for invertebrate paleontology at the Museum of Comparative

Zoology at Harvard University. He also serves as the Alexander

Agassiz Professor of Zoology and is an adjunct member of the department

of the history of science. The author of more than 200 essays

for his Natural History Magazine column, “This View of Life,”

Professor Gould is also a contributor to Discover magazine. Winner

of a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, his books include

National Book Award-winner “The Panda’s Thumb,” “The

Mismeasure of Man,” “Dinosaur In a Haystack,” and

“Full House.” He received his undergraduate degree from

Antioch College and his doctorate from Columbia University, and

in 1995 was awarded an honorary degree by Middlebury College,

serving also as its commencement speaker that year.

Science Media Panel, Friday, Oct. 15

Moderator: John Noble Wilford, science correspondent

for The New York Times, began his writing career at The Wall Street

Journal after graduating from the University of Tennessee and

receiving a master’s from Syracuse University. He then moved to

Time magazine, and has been with The Times since 1965. There he

has served as science news reporter, assistant national news editor,

and director of science news. A highlight of this period was the

start of “Science Times,” a weekly section begun in

1978. A prolific author of books and articles, he is one of a

select group of Times reporters designated as senior writer. As

a reporter, Wilford has covered, among other fields, astronomy,

paleontology, archeology, and space exploration, including nearly

all major missions of the U.S. space program. In 1986, he was

selected as a finalist in NASA’s Journalist-in-Space Project to

fly aboard the Space Shuttle (a project which has now been postponed

indefinitely). Among his many adventures, Wilford has reported

on the restoration of the nuclear test sites at Eniwetok and Bikini,

flown through the eye of a hurricane to get a story on cloud seeding,

submerged in research submarines off Florida and Bermuda, operated

lunar-landing and space shuttle training simulators, and endured

a wilderness survival school in Utah. In 1991, Middlebury College

awarded him an honorary degree.


Paula Apsell has been executive producer of “NOVA”

and director of the WGBH Science Unit since 1983. During her tenure,

Apsell has guided “NOVA” from the era of limited channel

choices into today’s competitive world of multiple channels, digital

television, and the Internet. “NOVA,” NOVAMAX,

and Science Unit specials have won a number of major awards, including

the Emmy, the Peabody, and the AAAS/Westinghouse Science Journalism

award. In 1998, the National Science Board of the National Science

Foundation awarded “NOVA” its first ever Public Service

Award, and in January 1999, “NOVA” was awarded the Gold

Baton, the highest honor among the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University

Awards. In 1994, Apsell was awarded the Bradford Washburn Award

from the Museum of Science, Boston, for her “outstanding

contribution toward public understanding and appreciation of science

and the vital role it plays in our lives.”

John Rennie, editor in chief of Scientific American

magazine, spent several years at Harvard Medical School preparing

for a research career before coming to the conclusion that he

preferred writing about science to doing experiments. He has been

a free-lance writer for the Economist and several other publications

and has served on the staff of various science and technology

newsletters. In 1989, Rennie joined Scientific American as a member

of its board of editors, and in 1994, he was named editor in chief.

During his tenure, Scientific American has been nominated for

two National Magazine Awards, winning in 1996 for its issue that

year titled “What you Need to Know About Cancer.”

Boyce Rensberger, the director of the Knight Science

Journalism Fellowships at MIT, has been a science writer and editor

for more than 32 years, working at The Detroit Free Press, The

New York Times, and The Washington Post. At The Post, he created

the paper’s acclaimed monthly supplement, “Horizon: The Learning

Section.” He was a writer for a PBS science series for children,

“3-2-1-Contact!,” and served as senior editor of Science

81-Science 84, a monthly magazine published by the American Association

for the Advancement of Science. He has twice won the AAAS top

award for science writing, and the most recent of his four books

is entitled “Life Itself: Exploring the Realm of the Living

Cell.” Rensberger is co-director of the summer Science Writing

Fellowships Program at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods


Symposium Discussion, Friday, Oct. 15

Moderator: Jane Margaret O’Brien is president of

St. Mary’s College of Maryland, which, in 1992, was designated

as a public honors college-one of only two in the country. A 1975

graduate of Vassar College, she joined the faculty of Middlebury

College after receiving her doctorate in chemistry from the University

of Delaware. In 1989, she was appointed dean of the faculty of

Middlebury College. From 1991 to 1996, she served as president

of Hollins College in Virginia. She remains active with her academic

interest in undergraduate science and technology by serving as

a member of the advisory board of the journal Chemical and Engineering

News and as a member of the board of directors of EDUCOM, the

national educational computing association that represents colleges

and universities.