Max Marmor, president of Samuel H. Kress Foundation

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Max Marmor, the president of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, will deliver a commencement address marking the end of the Middlebury Language Schools’ 97th session on Friday, Aug. 12, at 8 p.m. in Mead Chapel. The foundation supports the study and appreciation of European art and architecture.

With President Ronald D. Liebowitz and Vice President of Language Schools, Schools Abroad and Graduate Programs Michael E. Geisler presiding, the college will confer Master of Arts degrees upon 137 candidates and Doctor of Modern Languages degrees upon three candidates at the ceremony.

Marmor, an art historian by profession, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree. Prior to his appointment as president of the Kress Foundation, Marmor served in senior positions with the UCLA Art Library, the Avery Library at Columbia University and the NYU Institute of Fine Arts Library. From 1994 to 2001 he was director of the Yale Arts Library, and from 2001 until his appointment with Kress in 2007 he was director of collection development and a member of the ARTstor digital initiative group at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The commencement speaker’s scholarly interests include the field of Leonardo studies and the bibliography and historiography of art. Two of his recent publications are: “Par che sia mio destino: the prophetic dream in Leonardo and in Dante,” in Raccolta vinciana (2005), and “From Purgatory to the Primavera: some observations on Botticelli and Dante,” in Artibus + Historiae (2003).

In 2010 Middlebury College announced the creation of the Kress Fellowships for Language Study to enable outstanding graduate students of art history to attend the French, German, Italian or Spanish Schools. Funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and based on merit, the fellowships cover the cost of a summer’s tuition, room and board to the Language Schools.

Also at the Language Schools’ commencement the college will present Awards for Distinguished Study to this summer’s outstanding students in the Language Schools. The ceremony will be preceded by a carillon concert performed by George Matthew Jr., the college carilloneur. Middlebury’s carillon is a 48-bell Paccard instrument located high atop Mead Chapel.

Emory M. Fanning, professor emeritus of music, will perform the prelude and accompany the processional, recessional and the evening’s guest performers on the college’s magnificent Gress-Miles organ. Middlebury’s Twilight Artist-in-Residence François Clemmons, a noted tenor, will lead the gathering in “Gamaliel Painter’s Cane,” a spirited sing-along about one of the founders of the college and the town of Middlebury, Gamaliel Painter, and his famed walking stick.

Since 1915, more than 40,000 students from all walks of life have attended one or more of the 10 Language Schools, and over 11,000 have earned advanced degrees in languages from Middlebury.

This summer marked the fifth year that philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis has funded the 100 Fellowships for Peace: Investing in the Study of Critical Languages, which grant 100 scholarships to cover tuition, room and board for a summer of study in any of six critical languages and related global issues. The initiative challenges Middlebury College and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a graduate school of Middlebury, to use their combined expertise in language acquisition and policy studies to recruit and train future potential peacemakers.

Under the guidance of about 290 faculty members both in Vermont and at the Language Schools’ west coast location at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., students of all ages and nationalities live on campus totally immersed in their target language. Students live, learn and interact in the language they have come to study, and all agree to abide by the Language Pledge, a formal commitment to speak the language of study and no other for the entire summer session.