MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-With the end of Middlebury College’s winter term, many students will celebrate the closing of their undergraduate college careers as well. Ninety-eight students from the class of 2004 will earn bachelor of arts degrees from Middlebury upon the mid-year completion of their academic requirements, officially on March 1. As part of a congratulatory weekend for these graduates, the annual “ski-down” procession in cap and gown will take place on Saturday, Jan. 31, at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl. In addition to the afternoon ski-down, graduates will be lauded at a special event in Mead Chapel at 9:30 a.m. They will be joined by Shelby and Gale Davis, who will each receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the College. The couple has contributed more than $75 million to the United World Colleges (UWC), and also underwrites the need-based costs of UWC graduates who matriculate at Middlebury and four other institutions. Shelby Davis is the founder of Davis Advisors, L.P., a $30 billion mutual fund and money management firm.

The College offers admission to students twice each year, in September and again in February. A program in its own right at Middlebury since the 1970s, February admissions is designed to allow first-year students to begin their studies in the spring semester instead of the fall. As these students complete their undergraduate careers, the College honors their accomplishments with a weekend-long mid-winter celebration. Following the custom initiated by mid-year graduates more than two decades ago, most students choose to participate one way or another in the ski-down event, a festive procession on the slopes. Led by a Middlebury College standard-bearer, honorees ride the chairlift or trek up the mountain and ply their way back down in a procession of caps and gowns, regalia-bedecked faculty, blue and white balloons, skis, snowboards-and sometimes snowshoes-to the cheers and hearty congratulations of family, friends and College faculty and staff waiting below.

The College community looks forward to seeing its March graduates return later each spring, when they join the rest of their class at the official commencement ceremony on the main campus in May.

For more information prior to the event, contact Heather Cahill, of Middlebury College Alumni and Parent Programs, 802-443-5192.

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