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.